A pathway programme must achieve two aims – it must enable the student to get a place at the best university for them, and it must prepare them for their degree studies when they get there.
The way we do this at The London School of English is to have a dedicated university counsellor who assists students in their university choices and applications (such as making the most of their previous qualifications and writing a powerful personal statement). Our university preparation course (English for University) is distinct from our IELTS Preparation course and introduces and develops the all-important academic skills of independent research, critical thinking, note-taking, making group presentations and so on while reinforcing students’ academic English.
The university system in the UK is quite different from many students’ home countries, both in terms of how and what you need to apply (yes high school maths is important even if you want to study a Bachelor of Law!) and in terms of what universities expect of their students. What our students often appreciate on our courses are our teaching methods which help them to become independent learners. This includes an emphasis on mature group discussions with the trainer as facilitator and being encouraged to reflect on what they need to learn and their progress. These skills are essential for success at degree level study in the UK, and for in life in general.
Consider the needs of each student individually. Some students will benefit most from a short introduction to campus life and can adapt quickly to studying in large groups on campus, while many others benefit from a more flexible approach where they start off in a language school which knows them personally and tailors the programme to their particular needs. Our students often comment on the way that our courses are like a bridge into academic study, and they are also able to adapt to life in the UK before having the additional pressure of academic study.
With such a wide range of Higher Education Institutions (over 160) and courses (there are over 50,000 undergraduate degrees to choose from), you need to do your research carefully!
Akiko Okamoto Ferris is Marketing Manager with The London School of English. The school receives more than 2000 language learners a year (www.londonschool.com).