Get a foothold into Oxford

Overseas-education | Crystal Wu 9 Feb 2021

While the education world seems to be stuck in limbo and examinations like the GCSE and A-levels are canceled for the year, the Oxford Sixth Form College is trying to make up for the lost time.

It has recently launched a fast-track International Foundation Year business course that takes only six months.

A shortened study time will mean a lower tuition fee and living costs for students as they are spending less time overseas. It also means that they can apply for a short-term study visa, which has fewer application requirements, instead of a full Tier 4 student visa.

The current inaugural cohort, starting in January, is guaranteed to receive two conditional offers from The Northern Consortium universities - as long as they meet the minimum requirement of C grades in their courses.

This means that they may start university as soon as this fall semester in September.

Students can also opt to apply for universities outside the NCUK circle, as the qualification is also recognized by more than 60 universities worldwide.

This makes the course different from other traditional foundation courses, where students are studying toward a specific degree program in a specific university.

"Despite the current situation in the UK, we have received very positive feedback about the course so far, both from our agents and prospective students," said Carly Balmforth, senior regional sales manager of the Oxford International Education Group.

Although most international flights are grounded and Britain is still under lockdown, the foundation course is carrying on.

"We have a number of students in the UK at the moment who are currently learning online due to the lockdown," Balmforth said.

"Some of our students are still in their home countries and are also joining the lessons online."

Nevertheless, Balmforth says the school hopes to welcome students back on campus soon.

The Oxford Sixth Form College also provides a standard version of the course, which takes nine months.

Mark Love, principal of the Oxford Sixth Form College, said: "The six-month course delivers 100 percent of the same quality in 33 percent less time and is a very appealing option to students who need a comparatively short, sharp, top-quality program to access degree courses at excellent universities."

Much like its nine-month counterpart, students will be taking three modules in the business field. Non-native English speakers will be required to also take an academic English course. However, the six-month course will have longer tuition hours compared to the standard course, increasing from 23 hours to 31 hours a week.

Class size will also remain small, with six students on average and a maximum of 10.

At the moment, the school provides only the six-month intensive course for business students, while the standard course contains also science and engineering pathways to suit various students' needs.

This is not the college's first fast-track course.

The school also provides a one-year and a six-month A-levels course instead of the usual two-year structure.

"The intensive one-year course was designed for students who have the clear ability to fast track their studies and complete A-Levels within one year rather than two years," said Balmforth.

"Such students will ordinarily have completed education in their home country to the age of 17 or are UK students who need to study new A-Levels to enable them to pursue a change in career or academic direction."

However, Balmforth warns that a shortened schedule comes with a demanding syllabus, and therefore has higher requirements for potential students.

Students can choose from six subjects if they would like to take the one-year course: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology, while they can choose from a few subject combinations for the six-month variation.

While the six-month IFY and A-level courses began last month, the one-year courses for IFY and A-levels will be starting in September.

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February 2021

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