When you imagine studying a foundation programme, what do you see? Are you drowning in exams? Stuck in the same university because it’s not widely recognised? Or perhaps you’re fighting to prove your employability because you think your programme isn’t that prestigious.
If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, perhaps it’s time to equip yourself with a better understanding of this programme that’s gaining popularity.
The truth is that a foundation programme from a reputable institution can be vastly different from what you envision. In fact, it can even exceed your expectations. Here’s how.
#1. Programme options
Expectation: You don’t have a lot of options — it’s either Arts or Science
Reality: There are more than two types of foundation programmes
Many people expect to only be able to choose from two foundation programmes — Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science.
In reality, some universities offer other types of foundation programmes such as Foundation in Engineering, Foundation in Computing and Foundation in Law. These programmes serve as a more specialised introduction to the degrees, allowing you to take modules that are highly relevant.
Of course, not all institutions offer such options. And it’s important to note that more often than not, a Foundation in Arts or Science will provide you with ample knowledge to pursue a range of business, arts and science degrees. However, it’s good to know that other options exist.
Expectation: It’s all easy and chill like the university on TV
Reality: All the subjects will be crammed into one year so it can be quite hectic
Do you imagine yourself lounging on the grass, having a picnic with your college mates? While you can still do that if you manage your time well, your foundation year is not a honeymoon period where you can chill and relax.
As a foundation is a fast-track one-year programme, this means that you’ll have to cover a variety of subjects and modules in a short period of time, which makes for a busy and exciting schedule. Not only that, but you’ll also be tested in a variety of ways. Get ready for oral presentations, group projects and final exams. While this can be daunting, it also means that you’ll develop versatile skills that will prove to be useful in your degree and beyond.
Expectation: You’ll be drowning in exams like in SPM
Reality: It’ll be a fun mix of coursework and exams
If you’re tired of studying and memorising for exams, then foundation is one of the best pre-university options for you.
While there is no running away from exams, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll also be graded based on coursework such as projects, presentations and essays. So if taking exams isn’t your strongest suit, you can still score through oral presentations or research-based papers.
Additionally, this also means that you will have the chance to develop important soft skills like how to effectively present your ideas, work in a group and how to find information online. This will also prepare you for university programmes that are often a mixture of final exams and coursework.
#4. Switching universities
Expectation: It’s set in stone. You can’t switch university for your degree.
Reality: You actually can switch to another university for your degree if you want.
Are you afraid that you will have to pursue your degree in the same university you studied your foundation? While you’re encouraged to do so because the programme is designed to help you make a seamless transition from foundation to degree in the same institution, it certainly isn’t mandatory.
Pursuing a foundation programme in one university does not mean that you’re bound to it. In fact, most universities will accept another institution’s foundation programme as long as it is accredited by MQA. The process may be a little more tedious if you did not take the right subjects but don’t let this scare you from taking a foundation programme.
Expectation: Foundation programmes are not as good as other pre-u programmes
Reality: They can be equally as good as other pre-u programmes
Just because the foundation programme isn’t administered by a foreign educational institution, that doesn’t mean it’s any less awesome.
The foundation programme is specially structured to introduce you to a variety of fundamental subjects to prepare you for your degree. This means that you will be able to study modules that are highly related to your degree as opposed to a broader curriculum from other pre-university courses, making it highly relevant to you if you have already decided your degree.
In addition, accredited foundation programmes follow the stringent guidelines set by MQA to ensure a high standard of quality. Some leading institutions in Malaysia also perform benchmarking exercises to ensure their foundation programmes meet with global standards. In fact, some overseas universities accept Malaysian foundation programmes as entry requirements into their degrees, a testament that foundation can be as good as a pre-university.
Do these realities match up with your expectations?
Choosing the perfect pre-university programme is crucial to ensure a smooth start to your education journey. Make sure you get all the correct information before you make your decision.