Universities now accept a range of qualifications that aren’t related to the traditional A-level qualifications, these include BTEC and vocational qualifications, International Baccalaureate, Access to Higher Education courses and many other diplomas. There are now a number of ways to meet the entry requirements of most university courses but it is always important to do your research first to ensure that the university of your choice accepts the qualifications that you have or will have achieved on results day.
However, if you haven’t achieved the grades that you were hoping for come results day there are still some other routes into university. Foundation years are a popular choice among students.
What is a foundation year?
Completing a foundation year is a straightforward method to get into university without A-levels. This involves doing an extra year of study at the start of your degree course to prepare you for studying that degree.
Taking on an additional foundation year before your desired degree course means that you have more time to develop your skills and knowledge. The courses are designed to prepare students academically and bridge the gap for students who may not meet the necessary entry requirement for their desired degree program. A foundation year helps you to gain a wide range of skills such as communication, team work, organisation and this is the exact skills that most employers look for alongside your qualifications.
If you do a foundation year and don’t think the course or the university is right for you, you can change your application and usually you won’t have to do the foundation year again. Similar to other qualifications you can balance a foundation year with other commitments.
It’s important to note that a foundation year is different to a foundation degree. A foundation year leads straight on to a degree course with the same university. A foundation degree is a qualification in itself and is the equivalent of the first two years of a three year university degree.
How do I apply for a foundation year?
You can apply for a foundation year via clearing if you didn’t receive the grades that you were hoping for but still want to study your course of choice. Foundation year courses have many openings available for students who need a place at university. However, it is important to be aware that not all universities offer foundation courses so it is important to research which universities are available to apply to, and if that university and course sounds right for you.
Applying for a foundation year course via UCAS clearing is easy if you have already applied to university. However, by adding a clearing choice to your application will release any previous offers you may have received regardless of whether you have accepted them or not.
Prior to applying to a foundation year course you will need to ensure that you meet the entry requirements for the course. You may also want to attend a few open days to gain a better understanding of the course and overall feel for the university itself. If you wish to change your university after your foundation year you need to re-apply to your new university choice via UCAS.
How do foundation years affect tuition fees?
The downside of choosing to study in a foundation year is that your tuition fees will be higher due to the additional year of study. Fees for foundation year courses differ between the institutions you apply to and so you should research how much more funding you will have to apply for if you need to take on a foundation year. Student finance should be in touch if there are any changes made to your application. Additionally, an extra year of rented accommodation will make costs much higher and so this is also something that should be considered.
Wanting to go to university without the correct qualifications doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect anymore as there are now plenty of other routes available to you to allow you to successfully apply to your dream university degree course.