A Level or Foundation - which should I choose?

15 February 2017
Bellerbys students in a class

How to find the right course for you

We all know it takes more than just good grades to get into a top university. As well as academic ability, universities want you to demonstrate key skills and a genuine interest in your chosen subject. With lots of different subjects and routes to university available it can be hard to choose the right option, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Which is right for me?

A level and Foundation are both well-regarded by UK universities. So how do you choose? There are lots of factors to consider such as your age, education and grades, English language skills and career goals.

A level

A levels in the UK are recognised by universities in the UK, USA and Australia. This gives you a world of choice when deciding which universities to apply to and where you can study. For many degree subjects there are no specific A level requirements. But others (particularly at Russell Group universities) require specific subjects.


Foundation courses are designed specially for international students. Our one-year accelerated programme includes language and study skills support to prepare you for university study. Our Foundation programmes are accepted by more than 70 UK universities, so this pathway offers a wide choice of progression and degree choices.

A Level


Accepted by all UK universities

Accepted by more than 70 UK universities

Recognised by universities in the UK, USA and Australia

Recognised by selected universities in the UK, Europe and USA

Typically a two-year programme (a 3-term option is available for exceptional students)

One-year programme

Minimum age 15.5+

Minimum age 16.5+

Requires IELTS 5.5 or equivalent

Requires IELTS 4.5 or equivalent

Offers our outstanding enrichment programme

Offers our outstanding enrichment programme

When choosing your pre-university course it’s important to look at your intended degree subject and the requirements of the universities that interest you. Our staff can provide expert advice on best possible A level subject or Foundation course choices in the UK for your chosen degree.

Make your university application shine

Recent surveys show that universities are looking for many of the key skills that future employers also value including:

  • critical and independent thinking
  • team working
  • professional experience
  • presentation skills
  • communication skills
  • motivation
  • practical thinking

So whether you choose A level or Foundation, it’s important that you develop skills outside of the classroom to help with your university application. We offer an enrichment programme at every Bellerbys college to help you develop these abilities, and more.

We'll also guide you through the university application process with expert counselling and advice on how to use your enrichment experiences when writing your personal statement and preparing for interviews.

Whichever pathway is right for you, we’ll be by your side to give the right guidance on what universities are looking for and how you can reach your goals.

Find your course