Undergraduate Study in Britain
Student life is full of cultural and social activities, sports and amusements; life in Britain is relatively inexpensive compared to other European countries and this, combined with the short duration of degree courses (three years only) make British education excellent value for money.
Studying for your degree in Britain is very rigorous. Students are expected to progress from one year to the next without allowing for failed subjects to be carried through for examination in future years. This results in students graduating on time. In most Universities, students are allowed to re-sit failed examination in September but must pass to progress to the next year. Completion rate is one of the highest in the world.
Britain offers the most compact higher education system in the world. The standard study period for degree courses in the England is 3 years. In some cases where industrial placement or substantial clinical training is envisaged the length of study may be extended to 4 years. In science and engineering it is possible to study on a 4-year full-time course leading directly to a Master's degree. Undergraduate study lasts about 9 months each year, from late September to early June.
Considering that there are more than 120 institutions accepting students for undergraduate studies each of which has its own admission requirements, one can understand that entry requirements vary. Unless a student can present a very good Apolytirion and an acceptable English language qualification (TOEFL, IELTS etc.) he/she will have to take GCE A-level examinations or complete an approved Foundation Course. Universities may also ask for an English qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL. There are other entry routes such as the IB but our Foundation course offers the most flexible route and arguably the one with the highest success rate.
There are two ways a student can apply for admission to the University of his/her choice:
1) Via UCAS
2) Via DIRECT ENTRY
*At Foundation College students usually apply via UCAS but in certain exceptional cases we may use a direct application. In either case our students are guided through the application process by our advisors who provide guidance and information on Universities and courses throughout the year. All our students receive our support in preparing their applications from the day they commence on our programme in October up to the submission date which is toward the end of December or the beginning of January.
In the year 2003-14, EU students studying in Scotland pay no tuition fees. In England and Wales the yearly tuition fees are about 9000 GBP and 3500 GBP respectively but this amount can be taken out as a loan from the British government with a low (subsidised) interest rate and is payable back when the student graduates and gets a job paying more than a minimum salary (currently this minimum is 22000 Euros per annum for a graduate who is working in Greece). The loan is given to everyone who asks for it and does not require a guarantor. Our administrators assist students with the completion of fee loan forms.
The cost of living as a student in Britain is estimated at about GBP 700-900 (800-1000 Euro) per month depending on level of comfort; this amount is a rough estimate for rent, food, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. One should keep in mind that this monthly allowance may vary depending on an individual’s lifestyle and the location of the University. For example a student living in London or Brighton will probably spend more money than if that same student lived in Durham, Lancaster or Swansea.
Most Universities guarantee a room to first year students as long as they apply in time. There are some universities that cannot accommodate all students and in that case advice is provided on how to proceed with applications for private accommodation. Foundation College maintains strong links with University accommodation offices as well as private companies offering halls of residences in the UK and will assist students in finding the appropriate accommodation for them.
The most common way to travel to the UK from Greece is by airplane. Apart from the major airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or Stansted in London and Manchester there are many other smaller airports spread around the UK. Upon arrival and depending on how far the University is from the airport students can use either the train, which is very popular in Britain, coaches and, for short hauls, taxis.
British Universities are recognised in Greece and in almost all other countries around the world. In some cases there may some exams that returning students have to take. This depends on the title of the degree and on the classification of the degree. (Classification means the grade of the degree – DIKATSA is known to be hard on students with low classification in their degrees). However the exact rules change often so you either disregard them (because in principle and in general your British degree will be recognized in Greece either directly or, in the worst case, with a few added exams) or you visit and confirm the situation at DOATAP which is the body responsible for assigning academic parity in university degrees. DOATAP (formerly known as DIKATSA) is located at 52 Agiou Konstantinou Street, Plateia Karaiskaki in Athens.USEFUL ADDRESSES
The British Council - 17 Kolonaki Square, Athens 10673 opening hours 9 am - 4 pm. Tel: 210-3692333. This is the official agency for promoting British Education. You will find university prospectuses, and other educational catalogues as well as general information with regard to application procedures. Don't expect its officers to do everything for you. However they will answer specific questions and if you can work independently this is the place to go.
UCAS. UCAS is the university agency that coordinates applications for undergraduate study at British universities. At the UCAS web-site www.ucas.com you will find exhaustive information about the courses offered by the various universities as well as information about how to complete your application form online.
University Ratings. Two highly acclaimed British newspapers The London Times and the Guardian publish lists of University ratings where universities are compared and rated in terms of their performance in specific academic fields or departments. These lists are compiled on the basis of university performance in certain aspects of academic and other factors relating to employability. Although the ratings are a useful source for assessment we suggest that you take them into account within a broader strategy of assessment where other information such as content of the course, overall reputation of the institution, accommodation facilities, etc. are taken into account. Remember that, officially, all British universities are considered equivalent and are recognised as equal by DIKATSA which is the Greek agency responsible for the accreditation of university qualifications obtained outside Greece.
Research Ratings. Research ratings are indicative of the performance of university departments in research. Although some advisors may argue that this indicator is not relevant to undergraduate study, we believe that good institutions are usually active in research and this performance index should be taken into account.
QAA. The Quality Assurance Agency is the government’s agency for the assessment of university courses. Each department of each university in the UK is assessed periodically every 4 to 5 years and the results of these assessments are published in the agency's site. The assessment exercise looks at 6 areas of teaching provision and overall student experience and these are marked on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 4 (highest). The maximum score thus obtained in 24 points At the QAA site you may find all the past assessments of departments of British Universities.
If you need help with your application, find out about Foundation College's advisory and placement service. Our experience can assist you maximise your prospect of admission.
College and its Role in accessing British Higher Education
Our Foundation Courses offer an excellent preparation for those students who wish to pursue their university education in Britain. The curriculum of the programme aims to bring up students who have completed twelve years of school to a level equivalent to passes in three GCE A-level subjects. The one year foundation courses last for two semesters (total of 30 weeks of teaching) starting at the beginning of October and ending in mid-June. Attendance is on a daily basis with 4-5 teaching periods (hours) per day depending on the actual programme (see list of foundation courses). The foundation courses are delivered in English. The College also plays an important role in supervising and fully supporting its students in their application and admission to British Universities of their choice.
We offer five distinct foundation courses, each of which is suitable for a different field of academic disciplines. Students choose the course that best represents their destination degree course. These courses are fully complemented by a strong English language perfection course which we name English for Academic Purposes. In this course, apart from enhancing language skills, we teach our students how to write academic essays, how to keep notes and how to organise their study time for maximum effect.