Choosing a university foundation year to kickstart a degree

 Becky Reavell was within the crowd at Silverstone looking a method One race with her father whilst it dawned on her that she didn’t want to have a look at English at college and be a journalist. What she genuinely wanted become to take a look at engineering for a career in motor sport.

Her 6th-shape teachers had been supportive, but the problem turned into her A-level selections. She become already deep into reading English literature, classics and economics, now not maths and physics, the subjects generally required for engineering. However she didn’t give up. Along with her grades – A*A*A – she located a place on a research in technology foundation 12 months route at Leeds college, which caused a 3-year engineering degree.

In August, she began work as a composite layout engineer for a F1 team.

Basis years are a further preparatory yr earlier than the start of a bachelor degree and are generally related to that course – which include BSc psychology with a basis yr. College students follow inside the traditional manner, via Ucas, for the 12 months plus the 3- or 4-12 months undergraduate path.

“earlier than the sixth form i was at a exceptional faculty, an all-ladies college, and i never honestly notion about engineering,” says Becky, 25, from Essex, who has been selected to join the women’s Engineering Society’s Early Careers Board.

“the muse 12 months virtually helped. It became a quite daunting thing to do as I hadn’t studied maths or technology due to the fact GCSEs, however the teachers were very supportive and, even after I began my diploma, they had been in touch in case I wanted assist.”

Becky become presented a nice BEng, automotive engineering at Leeds, then a distinction for an MSc in motor sport engineering at Oxford Brookes college.

The English exam machine requires students to make subject choices at thirteen for GCSEs, alternatively at 15 or sixteen for A-ranges. Now, inside the wake of the pandemic, students are more likely to be re-wondering what they want to do with their lives. 

Others can also have neglected out at the grades they deserve due to family contamination and bereavement or the disruption to faculties.

A basis year, which ends up in a 3- or four-12 months degree programme, opens up options for folks who change subjects or leave out out on the grades they want, says Ray Le Tarouilly, a countrywide Careers provider adviser.

“They also can be a superb bridge for mature students who have been out of training because they introduce them to college existence. More universities are providing them in more subjects but access can be competitive, in particular in medicinal drug and the biological sciences.”

Maximum publications fee similar to a year of an undergraduate diploma – £9,250 – though a few universities, consisting of York and Manchester, provide price reductions or bursaries for the extra 12 months. College students are eligible for tuition rate loans and dwelling costs in the equal manner as for undergraduate degrees, however it'll imply higher debt, Le Tarouilly says.

“That’s the disadvantage. But, graduates received’t be paying any extra each month when they begin work because repayments are based on earnings, now not the level of debt,” he provides. Basis years differ among universities.A few provide them best to “widening participation” college students from disadvantaged domestic or college backgrounds; others provide courses as widening participation; and others as open entry.

Leeds takes heritage under consideration for its basis years, besides for its very famous research in science yr. The college describes that path as “a conversion route for candidates with sturdy A-tiers – ABB or above – who wish to progress to a systematic discipline, but have no longer studied technology or maths at A-level.”

Technological know-how and engineering also are popular alternatives for basis years at UWE Bristol, however the maximum competition is for locations on fitness publications, including nursing or artwork and design. 

Andrew Carter, UWE’s head of admissions, says some students apply directly via the everyday Ucas spherical for a degree with a basis yr, however others pass onto them because they have now not done the desired grades for his or her selected undergraduate diploma direction.

Every other group of students are those who exchange career path. “there's strain to make choices at an early age, which can impact possibilities later in life. A basis 12 months opens up options for them,” he adds.

There also are masses of foundation year college students who ignored out on education first time spherical, including Hollie Baker, from Weston-tremendous-Mare, who is analyzing for a BSc in pc technology with a foundation year at UWE. Hollie, 24, is visually impaired and struggled at faculty after which, again, looking to seize up at a in addition schooling college.

“there has been little or no aid for me. I couldn’t hold up because I couldn’t read the cloth. If every person requested me approximately training, I’d say I hated it. 

Now i love it. UWE has modified my view of education. I need to find ways to apply the era to improve matters for others like me,” says Hollie, 23, who uses they/them pronouns.

It became a taster path at the university of Bristol that gave them the confidence to use for the foundation yr at UWE. “This 12 months introduces you to college lifestyles in a greater comfortable, supportive manner. In case you get right into a panic, they are saying, ‘just take a breath’, and help you discover a answer.” 

Hollie says they benefited from being “eased into a diploma”. “A basis yr is a fantastic opportunity due to the fact you analyze all forms of standard competencies and ones unique to your degree, so when you pass into yr one of the actual degree you don’t sense you have got simply been dropped into it.”

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