Why a foundation year is 1. An option 2. A good decision.

This time last year my university life started with me being worried that the course I had chosen would be a waste of time, and trying to decide whether I should just quit trying to get onto a chemistry course and save myself some time.

The foundation year

If you are like me and doubt your own abilities to succeed and your chances of getting onto the university course of your choice, you are probably looking at back up options as well as your main option. A foundation year is great for this, as it allows you to get a place at your chosen university with a guaranteed place on the main course, should you complete the foundation year with a pass. If you can`t get into your first choice university, a foundation year at a different university is also a good option, as you may be able to transfer to your preferred university for your undergraduate degree. Completing a foundation year can be a great alternative to completing more A-levels, doing an apprenticeship or entering the world of work.

Choosing to do a foundation year can give you the chance to go to university and experience the uni life, and there is always the option of transferring to a completely different course at the end of the year if you decide it’s not for you.

Won’t it just be a waste of a year?

In my experience, a lot of the stuff that I was taught during my A-levels was covered in my foundation year, however, the subject matter is taught in a unique way- the uni way- which in my opinion is so much better. It feels like the teaching is no longer designed to get the best possible grades out of you to give you those high end numbers at the end of the year. It feels like the entire teaching method is geared towards making sure YOU understand the information, that YOU truly gain knowledge of your subject and that YOU can repeat that information in a practical and theoretical setting.

Isn't that just extra debt?

…Yes, but it means you are guaranteed to get onto the course at the end of the year, as long as you turn up to the exams and the lectures, you will pass. Then you’re on the proper course with no first-year scares or homesickness, you will have friends at uni already, the names of helpful lecturers, as well as a university mind-set and work ethic.

To anyone who is unsure about doing a foundation year, please know that a foundation year in any subject is a thing that you can do and it really will be worthwhile. If I had known this when I started my own foundation year, maybe I wouldn’t have been so disheartened about not getting onto the degree course and felt less nervous about that first year in general.

Joe