Gateway to University

• Improve your IELTS score

• Increase your cultural awareness

• Develop your study skills

• Prepare for university classes taught anywhere in the world

A Pre-Foundation Course

This course is designed to bridge the gap between school and university – and is the perfect preparation for a University Foundation Course, at St Clare’s or elsewhere, in September.

Progress and achievement are outstandingISI PFE March 2019

Key Facts: Gateway to university 

Age: 16+
Level: From Intermediate (CEF B1)
Start date: 16 February 2020
Course length: 20 weeks
Class size: Maximum 12 students
Lessons (hours): 25 (19.25) Monday to Friday
Lesson type: 21 in a group and 4 teacher-guided self-study sessions
Fees: From £14,740 
Fees include: Tuition, self-catered residence or homestay, 1 IELTS entry and travel insurance
Accommodation: College residence or homestay 
Sample timetable: Gateway to University 
Optional extras: Lunch available Monday to Friday – £46 per week
  One-to-one English language classes – £59 per lesson
  Excursions/Activities – £5 – £30
  Airport transfers from £120 – Depending on pick-up from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or Stansted airport
  Courier charge for visa support documents – approx £25

Benefits for you:

Individual support and guidance is a high priority at St Clare’s. Small class-sizes (maximum 12) and weekly meetings with your own personal tutor provide academic support; and the enrichment programme creates opportunities to develop your English in new and exciting ways through shared activities, special study visits and guest speakers.

Course content: special features of the Gateway to University Course

Qiliang – Chinese

Gateway Course

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


  • Writing: brainstorming, planning, drafting, checking.
  • Reading: develop reading sub-skills: scanning, skimming, sifting.
  • Speaking: improve your pronunciation and confidence. Project your voice!
  • Listening: learn how English is really spoken and convert sound into words.
  • IELTS Tests: one entrance fee is included in your tuition fees.

Study Skills

  • Time Management: learn strategies to make the most of your time.
  • Self-study: structure and review your learning with guidance from a teacher every day.
  • Skills surgery: focus on your own linguistic needs every week.
  • Note-taking: revise more effectively with clear and concise notes.

Academic Literacy

  • Autonomous learning: find out how to learn on your own.
  • Write your own words: not Wikipedia’s!
  • Learn how to cite and reference sources in academic essays.
  • Careers Advice: start planning for university with the Higher Education Advisor.

Cultural Awareness

  • Awareness: learn about life in the UK and other countries.
  • Cooperation: take part in group discussions and learn with classmates in pairs.
  • Collaboration: work together and make presentations in pairs and small groups.

Topic-based Content

  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Discoveries and Inventions
  • The Environment
  • Styles of Leadership
  • Transport
  • Health and Fitness

Critical Thinking

  • Develop an open mind and question your ideas.
  • ‘Triangulate’ the truth
  • Identify ‘fake news’.
  • Broaden your horizons by attending talks from guest speakers and going on study visits.


Contact us

Please fill in this form to submit an enquiry about our Gateway to University course. 

You may also wish to get in touch to arrange a campus tour or find out what it is like to live and study in the city of Oxford.

Contact Manuela on:
+44 1865 517706
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Term Dates and Fees 

A full list of term dates and prices for the International College up until the Easter term 2020 can be found here:

International College Term Dates and Fees

If you have any questions please contact us at

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements


Students wishing to enrol on the Gateway to University Course must:

  • be 17 years or over
  • have a knowledge of English at or above the following:
    • IELTS score 4.0 or equivalent CEFR B1

Application procedure

  1. Complete this online booking form and pay the £100 registration fee plus £500 deposit
  2. Show proof of English level, either by:
    • sending an official English language test certificate or
    • by completing the St Clare’s grading test and have an interview via SKYPE
  3. We assess your application and send you a confirmation letter and invoice
  4. If needed, apply for a visa. If you have questions about your visa please do not hesitate to contact us
  5. Full fees are due three weeks before the start of the course
  6. Please read the terms and conditions
IELTS exams

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures your ability to communicate in English across the four language skills — listening, speaking, reading and writing — and is for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.



It is recognised worldwide in more than 4,500 institutions in 120 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, therefore, it is the most popular examination for St Clare’s students.

IELTS is regarded as the single most important requirement for non-native speakers who wish to enter a university in the UK. Tests can be taken in Oxford every month and the results are available within three weeks. You will normally need a score of 6.0 or higher to join a university in the UK.

Monitoring progress

The team at St Clare’s is very experienced and successful in preparing students for IELTS. We can help you in the following ways:

  1. Entry test: we give you a number of tests on arrival to help assess your level on entry.
  2. Setting goals: your teacher discusses your needs and agrees “learning milestones”.
  3. Classroom tasks: small classes provide a supportive learning environment.
  4. After-class: teachers set homework tasks which extend your classroom learning.
  5. Self-Access: you are given guidance on computer-aided learning and test packages.
  6. Regular tests: you take internal tests in class to help decide the date of your examination.

Success at IELTS

During the classes you practise the skills required for success at IELTS:

  1. Examination strategies
  2. Practice tests
  3. Speaking and listening tasks
  4. “Against the clock” activities
  5. Top tips from the examiners
Careers and Higher Education

The careers service at St Clare’s is exceptional. You can visit the careers library to find out more about universities around the world, read the St Clare’s careers blog, and you will receive a weekly newsletter with information and ideas about education and the world of work.



Our team of dedicated, experienced and impartial advisers can help you explore your options after the gateway programme and prepare for your future.

Book your place on this course

This exciting new course will help you advance from school to university
Boost your study skills and level of English in just 5 months

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St Clare's, Oxford