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Student Guide: Is college foundations right for me?

Published by Afterschool.my on Dec 04, 2012, 07:10 pm

Deciding on which pre-university programme to take can be daunting. With the many choices to select from - AUSMAT, matriculation, A Levels, Foundation and Form 6 - it is easy to be confused. In this feature, Afterschool talked to several programme counsellors from institutions of higher learning. They gave us the cons and pros of taking up Foundation courses.


When Afterschool called several universities and colleges – Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), Nilai University, KBU International College, Taylor's University, KDU University College, Sunway University and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology - to inquire about their foundations programme, the first two questions the programme counsellors asked us was: "Which course do you want to take?" and "Are you coming from the Arts or Science stream?"

Evidently, this pre-university course is for students who already know the course and university they want.

According to the programme counsellor of Sunway University, foundation is the most ideal programme designed for a particular degree.

"Foundation students are already considered for university entrance first because their foundations are designed for that course and university," he explained.

"For instance, the foundation in Science covers subjects such as biology, mathematics and computing, whereas foundation in arts focuses on language and communication skills."

However, not all students know right away what they want to take in college.

The general counsellor of Taylor's University has met many students still unsure of what they want to take after SPM. She said that during the university's open days they conduct a career test to help the student determine which course is the most suitable for them. In some cases, they also encourage the student to have a chat with their psychologist to find out where his skills and interest best fit a certain industry.


There are two things that all the programme counsellors agree with foundations - it is faster and easier. It is faster because foundation programmes take only one year to complete. After foundations, the student can proceed to taking a degree (three years) course, said the programme counsellor of Limkokwing University.

It is easier because the examinations are given at the end of each semester. With that arrangement, students can focus on their subjects and take the exams piecemeal.

"Most college foundations have two to three semesters and for each semester, a student takes about 3 or 4 subjects [core and elective]. Foundation programmes have an English language component" said the programme counsellor of KBU. Most of the intakes are in January or middle of the year.

Although it is said to be faster and easier, the content in foundation programmes focused. The foundation programme helps increase academic knowledge and study skills, improve English language competence and help students adapt to university life.

Student Guide: Is college foundations right for me?


Counsellors admit that foundation programmess have its limitations and among them is the narrow or smaller opportunities to study in other local and foreign universities. According to the programme counsellor of UTP, this course is recognised mainly by the university/college that is offering them.Compared to an A Level graduate, a foundation programmes student cannot just apply to any foreign institution of higher learning.

"There are universities that offer twinning programmes which allow the student to study abroad," explained by the programme counsellor of Sunway.

"Taylor's have partnerships with foreign universities so students who have finished one to two years of their degree programme can have their final year in our partner institutions located overseas," said Taylor’s programme counsellor.

A good example is Sunway which is the only provider of the Monash University Foundation Year (MUFY) programme in the country. Its programme is recognised by all Australian universities, branch campuses of Australian universities in Malaysia and other private universities.


Written by Lyn Cacha

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