If you re not quite ready to go to uni or think you won't meet the entry requirements of your course, foundation or preparatory study may be for you. Preparatory options range from bridging courses, which focus on a specific specialist area (often a prerequisite) and usually last a couple of weeks, to year-long foundation courses designed to prepare students for entry into a particular degree. If you think preparatory study is an option you d like to explore, read on as we list some of the benefits of completing one of these pathways.
1. You can get a feel for the tertiary education environment: Whether you re getting ready to leave school or have spent some time in the workforce, foundation and preparatory courses give you a chance to settle into tertiary study. Studying at tertiary level may be very different to what you are used to, with the independent learning style and reduced contact hours often presenting a challenge for new students. Taking the time to complete a foundation course means that you ll adjust to tertiary study before you commit to pursuing a qualification. You may even progress to further study at the same institution, meaning you ll already know your way around campus!
2. You can improve your academic skills: Foundation courses allow you to develop the skills you will need to succeed in tertiary education. This ranges from general study skills (such as academic writing, time management and independent research) to knowledge in specific areas related to your chosen field. If you are lacking a prerequisite, or feel like you could benefit from a refresher, a bridging course can provide you with the knowledge you will need for your course. You could complete a maths bridging course before entering an engineering degree, for example.
3. You can take an alternative route into your course:If your intended field of study is very competitive or requires high marks, you may be worried about meeting the entry requirements. It could also be that a course prerequisite is not available at your school. Foundation programs and bridging courses are the ideal solution, as they not only allow you to gain the academic skills required to progress into your course they're also a great pathway option. Students who complete a foundation course are generally better placed to enter tertiary study and often do so with credit (see below).
4. You can choose a stream that suits your interests and background: Many foundation courses are streamed according to field of study, allowing students to get started on their studies in their area of interest whether it s arts, education, engineering, psychology or science.Some are also streamed to accommodate for students with different educational backgrounds for example, a beginner stream may cater for students who have never undertaken any study in the field, while an advanced stream may be directed at those who have undertaken certain studies but would like to improve their skills before heading into higher-level study.
5. You may gain credit towards further study:Many foundation courses offer credit towards further study, allowing students to enter the second year of a related course if their marks stack up. Your institution will set a minimum academic average required to progress to further study with full credit. Receiving credit for foundation study ensures that you will not be disadvantaged by completing a pre-tertiary pathway. Contact individual institutions for details about foundation courses and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) procedures.