For students applying or preparing to apply for a university course, it is crucial to understand the options and pathways available for maximising the chances of acceptance. Foundation programs are a viable option for many students, so if your grades didn’t meet entry requirements, it may be time to consider this pathway to higher education.

Foundation programs offer targeted preparation for students wishing to study in particular subject streams. These programs teach not only course-specific material, but also key university study and assessment skills, facilitating a smooth transition between high school and university for students undertaking the course. These students, having learnt about their university’s assessment requirements, study practices and culture during their foundation studies, have gone on to excel in their degree courses following the completion of a foundation program.


One of the main reasons for this is that foundation programs are university-run and geared towards preparing students to enter a higher education course. This preparation is suitable not only for international students or those who achieved poor grades in high school, but also individuals who are returning to study after a break or period in the work force. In other words, the universities believe these individuals are capable of undertaking undergraduate study, but need a strong foundation prior to beginning their degree or diploma courses.

However, the development of study skills and knowledge of course material is far from the only reason why students may consider undertaking a foundation program. Through these programs, students form support networks with other students as well as teachers and other university staff members. The courses, which drastically improve students’ chances of acceptance into their desired courses, also provide fantastic career and vocational pathways, the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds, and the chance to live in a new city.

After spending a year at university and in a different city, students will have minimal to no issue with culture shock as they begin their degree studies upon completion of their foundation program. In this way, foundation programs aid students with both their academic and personal transitions into university.

It is worth noting that foundation programs are not offered at every university, so it is important to research if the institution where you wish to study offers such a program. Additionally, foundation programs are generally not offered for students wishing to pursue medicine, but some universities offer a special medical foundation route.

Foundation programs vary in price depending on the university and the specific subjects undertaken by a student. Scholarships are available for students who meet certain criteria outlined by a university.