Redefining foundation years at university

Naeem chose to study a Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine at the University of Bradford after taking a gap year. He shares the reasons why a foundation year can change everything for the better!

Naeem Ahmed, Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine at Bradford.

Sometimes when people hear the phrase “Foundation Year”, there are lots of negative connotations. People may assume that you failed your exams or had no choice but to waste another year of your time and money. But, the reality is quite the opposite. A foundation year has so many benefits and it’s important to overlook the stereotypes and do your research, so you can do what’s best for you!

Bridging the gap

Many say that the jump between GCSEs and A Levels/BTECs is huge. And that’s true. But trust me, the jump between college and university is much larger! On top of a greater workload, many students will be living independently for the first time. This can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. However, a foundation year helps to close that gap between A Levels/BTECs and a degree. It gives you the chance to get used to university life before actually starting an undergraduate course. It may even give you a head start- you’d already know what to expect as you’ve been through it all already!

International students

If you’re an international student reading this blog, and are anxious about studying in the UK, a foundation year is the perfect solution. The education system here may be completely different to the one at home. Not forgetting the fact that you’re in a whole new country with a new climate, language and culture.

The University of Bradford offers international students the chance to study a Certificate of International Foundation Studies which helps you to get used to studying in a different country, as well as supporting students who need to develop their English language skills.

Alternative route

Another positive is that foundation years often have lower entry requirements than undergraduate degrees, which is ideal if you didn’t make the grades you wanted. By studying a foundation year, it helps bring you up to the same level as everyone else on your course, so you don’t struggle.

Once you successfully complete and pass the foundation year, you have the opportunity to continue on an undergraduate course at the same university or somewhere else. The same can be said if you didn’t have the correct A Level/BTEC subjects. The foundation year allows an alternative route into the course without having to redo your college exams all over again!

Get a taste of the future

But let’s say you did well in your college exams and have the right entry requirements. Why should you choose a foundation year? It’s simple, university isn’t a choice to rush into. That’s another great thing about a foundation year, it gives you a feel for the course you’re thinking of studying. Also, some of the courses aren’t entirely subject specific, so once you complete your foundation year, you have the opportunity to go into other fields if that first subject wasn’t right for you.

So why did I choose it?

I chose to study a Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine at the University of Bradford because it allowed me to get a greater insight into what a career in the medical field would be like. It’s helped me decide whether this career path is right for me and has prepared me for university life with the superb support that the university provides.

It’s made me feel comfortable living miles away from home and has helped me get back into studying after my gap year. Another great bonus about this course is that it’s given me the opportunity to transfer directly into studying medicine at Leeds or Sheffield University at the end of the year, or pharmacy at Bradford which is wonderful for any aspiring medics out there.

From studying my foundation year, I hope to use it as a springboard into my degree-level study. Now I’m used to living independently and have adjusted to university life, I hope that when I begin my degree, I’m at a head start compared to my peers. Whether I transfer to Leeds/Sheffield for medicine, continue into the full Clinical Sciences degree at Bradford or even move on to a different degree altogether… the possibilities are endless, and that’s the amazing thing about doing a foundation year!

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