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7 signs you should consider a foundation year

Aoife O’Mara
Last Updated: 17 July 2021 • 4 min read

Getting a degree looks different for everyone, with some opting to take a foundation year. Enrolling in a foundation year is a great way to gain valuable insights, skills, and knowledge that will help you excel at your chosen degree.

So what is a foundation year? 

A foundation year is a year-long introductory programme, which will equip you for a three-year degree. 

They are usually integrated into degree programmes at the university, allowing for a seamless transition. A foundation year is essentially a stepping stone into the world of higher education. 

Foundation year courses can be course-specific or general, so it is an option for absolutely everyone! 

They can be great if you know exactly the degree you want but don’t yet have the grades to start the bachelor’s course. However, you can also opt to use a foundation programme to help you decide on your degree course. 

Foundation years are not to be confused with a foundation course or degree. 

So, what is a foundation course, and how is it different from a foundation year? 

A foundation course or degree is the equivalent of two years of a three-year degree. 

This article will focus on why you should consider a foundation year. 

Here are seven reasons why you might consider a foundation year

  1. You haven’t got the right qualifications
  2. You’re unsure if going to university is for you
  3. You haven’t been in education for a while
  4. You want to improve your English
  5. You have never lived abroad before
  6. You like being prepared
  7. You want to get value for money

1. You haven’t got the right qualifications 

When applying to a degree programme, there are a set of academic requirements which you must meet. If you haven’t met these but want to pursue this as a degree, then a foundation year is a good option!

By demonstrating a willingness to learn and a passion for the subject, a foundation year will allow you to go on to pursue it at degree level.

2. You’re unsure if going to university is for you

A foundation year is perfect for those who are apprehensive about committing to a full-time degree. You will be introduced to entry-level knowledge on your chosen subject. This will help you determine if you are willing to commit an extended period to this area of study. 

Suppose you do find that after a year that university is not for you. You will be glad to know that you won’t leave empty-handed. Instead, you will have gained communication, organisation, and teamwork skills, which are a great addition to your resume.

3. You haven’t been in education for a while

Whether you took a gap year (or few), or are opting to return to education as a mature student, a foundation year is a great option! 

A foundation year can make returning to education less daunting, as you will be reintroduced to the world of education gently. The small class sizes also provide an easier transition into university

4. You want to improve your English

While a certain level of proficiency is required to apply to a foundation year, it can be a great way to develop your academic vocabulary.

You might even consider taking an International foundation programme, which includes English language modules so that you can communicate effectively and confidently throughout your academic and personal life.

5. You have never lived abroad before

Foundation years are extremely popular with international students as they aren’t as academically heavy as a degree. This allows you time to adjust to living in a new country and their customs. 

Foundation programmes will set the groundwork for preparing you for international student life while undertaking a degree

6. You like being prepared

Foundation years can help ensure that you aren’t shocked by the workload that comes with embarking on a degree. 

During your foundation year, not only will you be introduced to your subject at a basic level, but you will also be taught by lecturers who will be teaching your degree. 

You will know your way around the campus and learn the intricacies that are individual to each university. These will help ease your mind and allow you to focus more on your studies during your degree.

7. You want to get value for money

While a foundation year does entail another 12 months in education, you will rest easy knowing you have gotten value for money by taking the time to get used to the university, subject, and lecturers.

You can use the knowledge and experience you gained to help you excel at your degree. 

Are you interested in finding out foundation year options? Check out loads of great options on our website.

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Aoife O’Mara
Written By
Aoife O’Mara

Aoife is a freelance writer and journalist based in Ireland. She is passionate about travel, education and culture.

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