Should I choose to study A Levels or Foundation Course?

  • All UK universities accept A Levels. If you study A Levels, you will have more choices of where to go and what courses you can study 
  • Not all universities accept Foundation Courses and the top 5 UK universities do not accept Foundation courses ( currently Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and St Andrew’s) 
  • For some courses such as medicine, universities will only accept A Levels, so it is important that you check in advance that a foundation course is accepted at the university you want to go to and on the course you want to study 
  • The failure rate is higher on A Level courses for international students than it is on foundation courses, so it is important that you start any course with a good level of English 
  • Foundation courses are often designed with international students in mind and will include language support such as IELTS and EAP  
  • Foundation courses are generally shorter. Normally 9 months with some colleges like St Andrew’s offering 6/7 month accelerated options 
  • Students who have not succeeded at A Levels can sometimes be successful on a Foundation course 
  • On Foundation courses, students will generally choose the area they wish to specialise in and therefore do not need to study the range of subjects that is normally expected at A Level  
  • Foundation courses do not bring students up to the same level as A Level students and some students can find their first year at university challenging as a result 

Which is better? 

This really depends on the individual and their academic achievements and level of English. The higher your achievements, the more likely it is that you’ll be aiming for one of the top universities and should therefore opt for an A Level course. 

Foundation courses are accepted at many universities offering a good standard of education. They are also shorter meaning students can get to university sooner. They are a great option for students who didn’t do well at A Level or who have changed their mind about what they want to study and for slightly older students in their late teens/early 20s who have decided that they want to go to university. They are a great choice for international students with lots of language support available.