What is a Foundation Year at University?

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll already know that I’ve recently started doing a creative writing degree at university. What I’ve not said is that I’m not yet doing my degree proper; I’m doing what’s termed a “Foundation Year”.

As I’m a mature student and haven’t been in education since I was 17, the idea of going to uni and being thrust into studying was a very daunting one. When we found out that I could do a foundation year as a precursor to the degree, it made me feel much better about going.

So, what is a foundation year?

Simply put, a foundation year is a way to ease yourself into the world of university. It’s designed to give you the skills that you need to study for your degree.

Last week I had an induction week in which it was explained what sort of things we will be doing this year, and it was also an opportunity to meet the staff that will be teaching us. This week has been my first week of actual lectures, and so far, I’ve found them extremely interesting.

What sorts of things have I been doing this week?

There are several modules that make up this semester that are designed to guide you into the process. These include;

Study and group work skills – in this module, we’ll be learning how to study and work with each other on projects. It should give us the skills to have discussions between ourselves and be able to give our opinion. This module – I have to admit – was one that I was worried about. I’ve never been great at working in groups in a learning session, and I struggle to get my point across. But I’ve found that even at this early stage, I find myself engaging so much more than I ever thought I would. This has made me feel so much better about things, although I do have some anxiety about it.

Critical thinking skills – this module is all about learning how things are written. It shows us how to critique pieces of writing and think about how it’s all put together. We’ve so far looked at a few speeches, and although I’ve not been confident in what I’ve been saying, I’ve still tried to get my point across and explain what I mean. I’m looking forward to learning to figure out other people’s writing and what methods they use to get their points across.

Reading management skill – it seems self-explanatory what this module is all about, but from what I’ve learned, it’s far from it. In this weeks session, we were learning about what English as a subject actually is and how we would define it. Again, this was really interesting, and already I’ve been thinking of things in a new way.

Intro to Literary Theory – I’ve honestly no real idea what this is all about, but from what I’ve gathered, it’s learning how to interpret different texts against specific theories. I’m looking forward to this session even though I don’t know what to expect.

It’s already been said a number of times that we will be learning skills that no other student will have if they go straight into their degree. This, in theory, should give us a bit of a leg up and hopefully help us do better when it comes to the degree requirements.

I’m already enjoying what we’ve done, and I look forward to everything to come. This whole experience will hopefully bring me out of my shell and hopefully reduce the anxiety that I’ve been feeling, as well as giving me more knowledge to complete my degree and work my trade of writing.

Whether you’re a young or mature student, I’d recommend doing a foundation year as it looks to be a great way to introduce university life.

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