Gateway to University: a unique pre-Foundation course

by on 22/11/2018

Of the many unique and inspiring courses offered at our International College, the Gateway to University programme seems to elicit the most questions from parents and students alike. In this post, we will explore who our pre-Foundation course is for, what makes the programme so unique, and how we prepare our students for life in the UK and progression onto a university course in just 18 months.


Who is this course for?

Level:     English Language learners – Intermediate IELTS 4.0, CEF B1
Age:       16+
Length:  20 weeks February to July

  • students who have completed Secondary Education in their own country
  • students who need support with their English language skills and academic study skills
  • students who want to improve their IELTS score for entry to university
  • students preparing to join a University Foundation course at St Clare’s or at a UK university


What makes this course unique?

The Gateway to University programme is designed to gently build confidence both inside and outside the classroom. The course is comprised of 21 group lessons per week, and each student benefits from a weekly academic tutorial to monitor their progress. Acquiring critical thinking skills and becoming an effective independent learner are also vitally important skills for success at university. Students are encouraged to attend our Open Learning Club 4 afternoons per week to make use of the many English language resources and research materials available.

The course is a great example of a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programme. All four language skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – are developed and integrated within lessons about various stimulating academic topics. This gives students the opportunity to sample various subjects while acquiring the language skills needed to hit their IELTS target. Stimulating weekly themes are used across the entire college, providing a feeling of unity across courses, no matter how elementary or advanced a student may be. See below for a sample weekly schedule, including the theme of the week.

Every student who successfully completes the Gateway Course is ready to move to a full University Foundation Programme at St Clare’s or at a university in the UK. Our amazing careers department is also open to Gateway students, allowing them to receive expert, independent advice on the opportunities available at universities in the UK or abroad.


Angus – Class of 2018

The Gateway to University course was really good. I liked my teachers and made friends with people from different nationalities. Playing basketball with my classmates and practicing my English in a supportive environment helped me to quickly settle into life in the UK.

On the weekends I often visited my sisters, who study at Birmingham and Oxford University – it is great to know that I’ll soon catch up to them!


Take the next step in your academic journey

Unlock your academic potential on the Gateway to University programme!

Further Reading

How we support your personal career journey

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St Clare’s global citizens making a difference Nicholas Zhang, an International Baccalaureate student at St Clare’s, has undertaken a range of work to commemorate the Holocaust and raise awareness of the Kaifeng Jews. It was in early 2018...

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In June 2018, 26 University Foundation course students celebrated their graduation in the Oxford sunshine. We were thrilled at our students' university offers from some of the most eminent universities in the UK. We are similarly very proud of our 2018...

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