ASK THE EXPERTS
Advice on education, skincare, relationships and well-being
Advice from the best in the UAE.
Q I am in my last year of school and I’d now like to study finance in the UK. I’m told I need to do a foundation programme. Is that true?
A foundation course is designed to address the needs of students from all over the world. They’re tailored to students to ensure they are academically ready and personally confident enough to take on and succeed at an undergraduate course. Depending on the curriculum you’ve studied at high school it’s possible that a British university will require you to complete a foundation year before becoming eligible to apply to first year.
For many international students language is the most daunting aspect of studying abroad, especially if English is not the medium of education, in spite of an excellent academic record. Foundation courses will help you prepare, by providing focused training in the kind of English needed for note-taking, critically analysing academic articles, essay writing, listening skills, etc.
A foundation course also gives you a chance to settle into tertiary study, which may be very different to what you are used to, with the independent learning style and reduced contact hours often posing a challenge. The foundation course allows you to develop skills to succeed in this, ranging from general study (such as academic writing, time management and independent research) to knowledge in specific areas related to your chosen field. It gives you the chance to choose elective subjects like maths and computer skills that are streamed according to your field of study, preparing you for a degree in finance or engineering, for example.
A foundation course will also culturally prepare you, making your move to a foreign country much easier. If your intended field of study is very competitive or requires high marks, you may be worried about meeting the entry requirements. Once you complete the course and achieve the required grades, you’ll be guaranteed entry into the first year of your chosen undergraduate degree at your chosen university. Usually available only in the UK or Australia, foundation programmes are now being offered in Abu Dhabi.
SANJEEV VERMA is an international education counsellor