Leading UK foundation programmes for Asian studentsBy stevegreen Feb 23, 2012 6:20PM UTC
FOR many international students, a spot in a British university is often an academic goal and much time, effort and money is invested into realising this dream. UK universities have long commanded a strong international student presence and represent countries across the world for a truly multicultural experience.
However, achieving the required score (average 6.0 or above in most institutes) in the IELTS English proficiency exam required to gain entry into a UK university can be a daunting task for students whose first language is not English.
It is in these circumstances that foundation programmes are a popular choice to ease entry into the British higher education system. Contrary to what some may think, foundation programmes are not simply a language training tool but are critical to initiating students into a different education system.
UK foundation programmes can be especially beneficial to Asian students. Asia, famously home to the pure sciences, has education systems that are more concentrated on rote learning than critical analysis. Countries like India have often been criticised for having rigid education systems that do not promote a questioning nature, but instead focuses on an endless stream of tests that are more dependent on the length of answers than quality. Students from India often suffer from a lack of experience in presentations, citations and an effective analysis of readings. Of course, this is not true of all Indian higher education institutes with the IITs, the IIMs and several other schools like JISM offering an international focus to their learning.
Education systems in Singapore and Hong Kong have far more internationalised methods of teaching. However, the concentration on pure sciences can be applied to the whole continent, with students not receiving the flexibility in subjects that is offered in the West. Moreover, despite the language of training often being English, the fact that it is not the native language often results in a lack of fluency and confidence when speaking English.
Asian universities are often government-controlled, and in countries like Singapore this has been criticised for its influence on the syllabi.
Under these circumstances, when Asian students apply to universities in the West they often grapple with the substantial difference in the education system. While universities in Asia are more concerned with academic merit during admission, Western universities look for a well-rounded individual with skills that can contribute both academically and socially. Students often struggle with their statement of purpose and recommendations – critical to acceptance to British universities. While English language proficiency is essential for acceptance into a UK university, the psychology of learning also needs to be addressed.
UK foundation programmes offer invaluable training to help ease student participation in British higher education. Foundation programmes, along with their preparation in academic and English language skills, also address student expectations and help them realise their strengths and weaknesses when choosing their university pathway. In addition to academics, students receive support in other aspects such as people growing skills, communication and creative thinking. Preparatory programmes like those available at City of Bristol College also help their students secure internships and connect them to a large network of industry contacts.
For international students who want to study in the UK, foundation programmes are the perfect introduction to the British learning system, helping them to gain admission into a university of their choice. These pathway programmes are a means to a successful career and help place international students on the same level as their British counterparts. Although this can mean an added one or two years on a student’s educational life, it guarantees that they get the most from studying in the UK.
Below we have selected some of the leading foundation programmes in the UK for Asian students:
Studying abroad is becoming increasingly competitive. Students from Asia, one of the largest consumers of Western education, are eagerly seeking qualifications from leading education providers in countries like the UK. However, an increase in demand for internationally recognised degrees has also resulted in certain challenges for international students. Higher standards for admission require students to possess proficiency in the English language and the right qualifications. To address this, a number of UK institutes are offering pre-degree courses and foundation programmes that equip international students with the skills they need to secure places in the top universities. City of Bristol College is a leading provider of such foundation and pre-entry courses and popular among Asian students. One of the UK’s largest colleges, the university is recognised for providing high quality teaching along with an overall personal development. Read more here…
University of Manchester offers sought-after Foundation Programmes that provide students an entry route into several of its undergraduate programmes. Designed for UK, EU and international students, these courses kick-start the careers of those students whose school leaving qualifications do not meet the university’s admission requirements for direct entry. The courses are designed to provide a grounding in a variety of subjects. For international students who do not have the right subject background, or have not studied the appropriate subjects in the required depth, these foundation courses provide the perfect bridge to a degree programme of choice. English language teaching is also available for those who are looking to increase their proficiency.
English institute University of Reading offers the International Foundation Programme (IFP), an intensive academic programme guaranteeing a great pre-university experience and super student support. Exclusively catering to students without a British A Level qualification, the IFP provides academic training, language skills and study and life skills essential to pursuing a degree at a UK university. The IFP was one of the first such courses to be established in the UK and commands international recognition. On successful completion, students on the programme are guaranteed a spot on the university’s undergraduate courses. The programme can also help students gain entry into other UK universities.
Durham University, England’s third oldest university after Oxford and Cambridge, has been a centre for learning in Europe for a thousand years. It boasts three faculties in Arts & Humanities, Science, and Social Science & Health respectively, 25 academic departments and 16 colleges. The university is home to more than 15,000 students representing 130 countries and has recently been recognised as one of UK’s top 3 universities by the Sunday Times University Guide 2012.
The Foundation Centre at Durham University specialises in teaching academic and English language skills to international students to help them successfully graduate to UK higher education Read more here…
Located in London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is known among students and educators for its unique regional expertise in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The institute brings its innovative teaching to a range of foundation programmes for international students. SOAS has helped more than 3000 international students gain entry into British degree programmes since 1985. Its Undergraduate Foundation Programme (Intermediate Certificate Course in Comparative Studies) is a 10-month course that allows students to build the required academic and language skills to gain admission into undergraduate programmes at UK universities in the subjects of social science, humanities, business and law.