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Why students take Preparation Courses Before Joining a Bachelor’s or Master’s Abroad?

Have you ever heard about preparation programs offered by many international universities? Still not sure what exactly they are? Most students who decided to enroll in a preparation course refer to these kinds of programs as “the best chance to get into the university of their dreams” or “the perfect opportunity to figure out if a certain subject is really what they want to study”.
Preparation programs offer a helping hand to students looking for starting a successful career while helping them qualify for an international Bachelor or Master. Of course, there’s much more to it, and we’ll tell you all about it below!
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Preparation courses – helping students and the universities alike
Benefits of preparation courses for you, as a student:
you get to adjust with the academic environment, teaching system, types of assessments you will further develop your language skills (most times the language is English) familiarise with the local culture and customs get introduced to the basic theories, notions and elements of your chosen field of study so you will actually be better prepared (in terms of the knowledge that you gain) once you will start your full degree program build confidence for your years of study to follow
Preparation courses helping universities
It’s also in the universities’ best interest to provide quality preparation courses for international students. These encourage more students to apply as they realise they would have better chances for admission.
Universities will have better-prepared students more likely to become experts in their chosen field of study (this eventually leads to a higher acknowledgement of the university: higher ranks, employers will give bigger credit and have more confidence in graduates from that university and more).
Why many internationals choose a foundation course abroad?
Around 80 to 90 % of students who choose to enroll in a preparation course are influenced by the fact that they don’t meet the academic or language entry requirements in the country where they want to study.
It’s good to consider an international foundation year if you are in at least one of the following situations:
Your prior completed studies are not compatible or cannot be equated with the requirements for the degree you wish to enroll at (due to the differences in the educational system; in some countries pre-university education last 13 years, whereas in others it lasts 12 years.
Another example is that a Bachelor’s degree can last four years instead of the most common case when it lasts three years.)
Your language proficiency level is not considered high enough for successful admission (since most preparation courses are taught in English, universities require IELTS (average minimum score of 5.0) or TOEFL (average minimum iBT score of 60)
You want to enroll for a Bachelor program, but even if you had good grades or a high GPA, the final exam at the end of high-school is not recognised by the higher education institution you want to apply to (e.g. most UK universities accept candidates with IB – International Baccalaureate – diploma).
While most foundation/pathway programs are addressed and they were initially dedicated to future Bachelor students, universities deliver a significant number of preparation courses for Master’s level as well.
In addition to the same academic and language entry requirements that are sometimes not compatible, universities consider there are plenty of first graduate students that may have discovered their initial study choice was not what they thought and now want to make a change in their career plan.
Important things to remember before you enroll in a preparation course
Regardless of your reason of why you choose a preparation course, it is important that you do extensive research and when you make your final decision, you should be 100 % sure that it is the right one for you.
Although it would be nice to explore subjects, taking more than one preparation course can’t be that fun, especially since you will have to pay for it; tuition fees may not be that high compared to a degree, but it is still tuition.
Keep in mind that a preparation course doesn’t offer any guarantee that once you complete it, you will then be accepted as a student at that university. However, if you prove your best, ace all assessments and exams and stand out as a top student, your chances to successful admission are bound to increase a lot.

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