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With the release of A-Level results this week, many international students will be receiving their final offers from Universities to either confirm their place or reject their application.

This can be a very stressful time for you, particularly if you haven’t achieved the grades you had hoped. However, what many students don’t realise is that there are always options available to you after A-Levels to help you to achieve your study abroad goals – without sacrificing on the quality of the degree programme you want to study. In particular, this is where the NCUK International Foundation Year (IFY) programme can help.


1. You Didn’t Achieve the Grades For Your Top Choice University

So, you had a dream to study a particular course and a particular university but you didn’t quite achieve the A Level grades required for admission. There are a couple of things you need to consider in this situation, in order for you to evaluate your options:

  • Is the ranking/expertise of your preferred University critical in your choice?
  • Would you prefer to improve on your grades rather than accept a lower-ranked or local university?
  • Do you need help assessing alternative options for your University/degree preferences?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then the NCUK IFY programme is an ideal pathway to help you to progress your international study goals.

The way the IFY programme works is similar to A Levels in the way that students study three core subject modules relevant to their study stream – such as Business/Law, Science, Engineering & Technology or Health Science. In addition to these core subject modules, you will also study English for Academic Purposes, as well as a range of support sessions in the areas of study skills, IT, research and referencing skills and English for specific purposes.

In this way, the IFY helps you to:

  • Improve on your current A Level grades through supportive teaching methods
  • Helps you to develop vital study skills to enable you to succeed in independent study in a Western country
  • Offers expert advice and counselling on university placement options, including the opportunity to meet with University partners from Ireland and UK
  • Manages the full university placement process for you, so you can focus on your academic studies

Although the IFY will add another year to your overall study plan, it will be a valuable year that will prepare you to succeed at University in a degree programme that will keep you on track to your overall career plans. In particular, if the reputation and standard of the degree and University are very important to you – then it will be a year well spent, rather than accepting a University offer just for the sake of it. 


2.  Your Grades Were Too Low For Direct Entry To University

For many international students, the release of A Level results is a disappointing day as their results do not meet the requirements for direct admission to an Irish or UK university. However, it is important to remember there are always options for you to help you to progress your dreams of studying abroad. All is not lost if you have missed out on direct entry.

The NCUK IFY programme accepts A Level students with a minimum of 2 x E grades (this also applies to AS Level students) for admission to the Foundation pathway. Similar to example above, the IFY is delivered in a very supportive and results-focused environment, allowing you to build on your A Level grades to achieve a place in one of NCUK’s UK partner universities or DIFC’s Irish network of University partners.

And, the great news for you is that 100% of students who pass the IFY will achieve a place on a relevant degree programme. So, if you put in the hard work, your dreams of studying at leading Irish or UK universities will become a reality.


3. You Want To Change Your Study Plan

When choosing your A Level subjects, you are essentially narrowing your future study options as you are focusing your studies in a smaller number of subjects. But what happens if you change you mind? This happens more than you think! And, is another way the NCUK IFY can assist you to change your study stream without having to repeat A Levels.

For example, if you have students A Level subjects in Maths, Economics and say a Language – what happens if you decide you actually want to study Medicine or a Science/Engineering related degree? The IFY can help you upskill for studying a Science degree, even if your A Levels are focused more around Humanities subjects. In this situation, DIFC will provide you with counselling to help you understand what options would be available to you on successful completion.


4. You Need To Improve Your English Language & Academic Skills

English is obviously an integral part of your studies in Ireland or the UK. But not just general English, English for Academic Purposes. In order for you to be able to cope with the demands of undergraduate study abroad in a foreign country, you need to have advanced skills in English for Academic Purposes – and this is central to the IFY programme.

Not only will you study English for Academic Purposes as part of your Foundation studies, you will also receive support classes on English related to the specific subjects you are studying, such as Chemistry, Biology, Economics and so on.

In addition, you will develop vital academic skills such as lab report writing and referencing  – all skills that are essential for your success in your undergraduate. So even if you are a native English speaker, the IFY will equip you with practical skills that you’ll use throughout your undergraduate studies.

Where all of this helps most, is when you start your undergraduate studies, you will be confident to write assignments or reports and do presentations in class, as well as communicate freely with other students and your lecturers. Meaning, you will be more successful in your undergraduate studies.


5. You Want A Supportive Transition To Studying Abroad

Regardless of your A Level grades, the jump from studying in your home country to studying abroad can be a big transition. Not only are you living in a unfamiliar country with a different culture and customs, you are also living away from your support network – your family!

For many students, the biggest adjustment is not academically, it is actually learning to live independently, coping with homesickness and establishing a new support network. And this is where all students studying with DIFC receive huge support. Our staff don’t just support your academically, we also care about how you are coping emotionally and personally. We will be there chat about your concerns and help you to manage and cope with what is happening in your personal life also. Also, being part of a smaller College environment for your first year abroad, can really help you to fine your feet before progressing to huge lecture theatres and a university campus with 20,000+ students.

In short, there are many reasons why you may not progress to university straight from A Levels. But, that doesn’t mean you should forget about your hopes to study abroad. The NCUK International Foundation Year provides the best route to leading university for international students and with DIFC, you can be sure it will be an experience you carry with you for the rest of your life.

Limited places are still available for our September 2020 intake.


Apply Now

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