There are many different types of Foundation Programme.
Most FPs consist of a mixed curriculum devised by a private sixth form college, where they have negotiated deals with specific universities and art colleges for the FP to be a valid qualification for entry. The most popular is a pre-university course which offers fast track entry to UK universities for international students. They typically last for either 12 or 18 months and are only available to students of at least 17 years old because you need to be at least 18 years old for university entry. They are often built round a combination of subjects such as (1) Business & Finance, (2) Engineering & Technology or (3) Law, Social and Political Studies.
You will sometimes see these courses advertised by colleges with the words “guaranteed university entry”. You need to be aware that this means (a) only if you meet a minimum pass mark and (b) admission to lower grade universities. Most of the Top 25 UK universities will not take these Foundation Programmes as evidence of sufficient academic progress. Indeed, some of the top 25 universities are now setting their own admissions tests because they do not even believe that three A grades at A level allows them to differentiate the better candidates for admission.
Notwithstanding this, Foundation Programmes are very popular because they offer fast track entry to a significant number of big UK universities, seeking to recruit foreign students. Although FPs started in private sixth form colleges, a number of UK universities have even set up their own FP courses on campus in an effort to recruit more students.
In theory FP courses are only valid for international students, but some colleges have been sending so many students to certain universities, that they can slip a few UK nationals in “under the radar”. Thus, in theory, a UK student who failed his /her ASs at 17 could switch to a FP and still gain entry to a university at 18.
There is also a completely different type of FP for both UK, EU and International students, which is generally a one year course in Art & Design with entry to an Art College on completion. There are also variants in Drama which end up with a RADA Certificate and entry to Drama or Stage School. Similarly a Music Composition or Music Technology FP can facilitate entry to a music academy, conservatoire or directly to a career in the music industry. These types of FPs can often be combined with conventional A Level studies.
If you would like to ask our advice on FPs, simply phone +44 (0)1622 813870