Applying to study in the UK from Argentina. Foundation year or A levels?

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Agustina.v
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Hello everyone,
I'm a student from Argentina and I want to apply to study Anthropology in the UK. The problem is that I haven't done any international exams and it seems to be a requirement to get in.
I have started university in Argentina as the academic year starts in March here but I haven't finished any subject yet as everything is delayed because of the coronavirus.
I doubt I'll be be accepted for September 2020 entry with my lack of qualifications, so my options are to do a foundation year starting in September or to independently study for A levels (or any other type of internationally accepted exams) and apply for September 2021 entry.
I have emailed some universities but I've only received a reply from SOAS telling me to do a foundation year.
I consider myself a good student, and so far I have gotten good grades and done subjects related to Anthropology, but I don't know how it compares to A levels. I've read and informed myself a lot about Anthropology and I feel like maybe with an interview I could prove my knowledge? But from what I've seen universities don't usually do that and require A levels or similar qualifications.
Does anyone know if they make exceptions for international students about entry requirements? And if not, is it better to do a foundation year or to study for exams?
If anyone has experience or advice I would appreciate it a lot!
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SosbanFach
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(Original post by Agustina.v)
Hello everyone,
I'm a student from Argentina and I want to apply to study Anthropology in the UK. The problem is that I haven't done any international exams and it seems to be a requirement to get in.
I have started university in Argentina as the academic year starts in March here but I haven't finished any subject yet as everything is delayed because of the coronavirus.
I doubt I'll be be accepted for September 2020 entry with my lack of qualifications, so my options are to do a foundation year starting in September or to independently study for A levels (or any other type of internationally accepted exams) and apply for September 2021 entry.
I have emailed some universities but I've only received a reply from SOAS telling me to do a foundation year.
I consider myself a good student, and so far I have gotten good grades and done subjects related to Anthropology, but I don't know how it compares to A levels. I've read and informed myself a lot about Anthropology and I feel like maybe with an interview I could prove my knowledge? But from what I've seen universities don't usually do that and require A levels or similar qualifications.
Does anyone know if they make exceptions for international students about entry requirements? And if not, is it better to do a foundation year or to study for exams?
If anyone has experience or advice I would appreciate it a lot!
Even if you were to apply for entry in September 2020, your only option this late would be to do it through a system known as UCAS Clearing. More usually used for students who have missed the A level grades for their first and second choice, this system is a way for universities to fill any places they have left, so there's no saying whether any anthropology courses will be available when the system opens on the 6th July.

It's also worth noting that you'd need an English language qualification - most usually the IELTS Academic - and also, if you don't have EU citizenship, a tier 4 visa. (NB: for a course starting in 2021, visa arrangements for EU citizens are not yet set.)

Regarding entry requirements, you're right that the Argentine school leaving certificate isn't usually adequate to fulfil standard entry requirements. That said, if you complete the first year of undergraduate study in Argentina, that may have some sway over your suitability: Brunel University London, for example, says that it will consider candidates with an Argentine GPA of 6.0 or above in their first year; Oxford is a bit more demanding (unsurprisingly), saying that:
The first year of a bachelor's degree from another university could also be an acceptable alternative, providing this covers any required subject material for the Oxford course: so to the equivalent of an A-level, IB Higher Level subject or SAT/AP test. We would expect you to be performing at a high 2.1 or first class level (a US GPA of 3.5-4.0) in your current degree.
I think that's about a 7.8 in Argentine terms.

If I were in your position, I think the best option would be to contact the universities that interest you asking whether they'd accept a good first-year university result from Argentina as adequate for their roles. They'll be able to offer specific guidance in each case. If they would, you could finish your first year there and sit the IELTS, putting in a UCAS application for admission in September 2021 (by the deadline of 15th January 2021, or 15th October 2020 for Oxford or Cambridge). You can apply for up to five choices, including choices with a foundation year, so could still apply for that route as a backup.

Otherwise, you could try and sit three A levels or the IB, but to do so in one year might be quite demanding (they're typically sat after two years of study).
Last edited by SosbanFach; 1 month ago
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rudemcdude
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If you applied for 2021 entry you’d be looking at doing (probably?) 3 A levels in just one year - it normally takes two years, and even good students normally need that time to fully understand the content. It might be easier if you’ve covered similar subjects already, but I don’t know how the Argentinian education system compares to A levels, but it could be a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
Applying for a foundation year won’t disadvantage you in any way, and a lot of the content is normally made with international students in mind, so you’ll be brought up to the level they want for the degree. There’s also the safety net of having a guaranteed place at that university once you’ve finished it - if you do A levels (I’m assuming?) you’ll be applying through UCAS like normal and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a place.
If you’d prefer to do A levels and stay in Argentina for another year it’s an option, but if you go down that route I’d definitely see how the A level content you’d be studying compares to what you already know, to see if it’ll be possible to get a good grade by the end of it. If you’d prefer to start in uni this September on a foundation year, it’s also a good option.
Otherwise, I don’t know if they normally make exceptions for international students. If they don’t, I’d say it’s better to do a foundation year - but that’s an extra year of tuition fees and everything that comes with studying at university, so I’d definitely see if it’d be possible for you to do A levels well in the time you have.
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Agustina.v
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(Original post by SosbanFach)
Even if you were to apply for entry in September 2020, your only option this late would be to do it through a system known as UCAS Clearing. More usually used for students who have missed the A level grades for their first and second choice, this system is a way for universities to fill any places they have left, so there's no saying whether any anthropology courses will be available when the system opens on the 6th July.

It's also worth noting that you'd need an English language qualification - most usually the IELTS Academic - and also, if you don't have EU citizenship, a tier 4 visa. (NB: for a course starting in 2021, visa arrangements for EU citizens are not yet set.)

Regarding entry requirements, you're right that the Argentine school leaving certificate isn't usually adequate to fulfil standard entry requirements. That said, if you complete the first year of undergraduate study in Argentina, that may have some sway over your suitability: Brunel University London, for example, says that it will consider candidates with an Argentine GPA of 6.0 or above in their first year; Oxford is a bit more demanding (unsurprisingly), saying that:
I think that's about a 7.8 in Argentine terms.

If I were in your position, I think the best option would be to contact the universities that interest you asking whether they'd accept a good first-year university result from Argentina as adequate for their roles. They'll be able to offer specific guidance in each case. If they would, you could finish your first year there and sit the IELTS, putting in a UCAS application for admission in September 2021 (by the deadline of 15th January 2021, or 15th October 2020 for Oxford or Cambridge). You can apply for up to five choices, including choices with a foundation year, so could still apply for that route as a backup.

Otherwise, you could try and sit three A levels or the IB, but to do so in one year might be quite demanding (they're typically sat after two years of study).
Thank you so so much for the answer! It's very helpful and complete
I will definitely look into clearing.
I have done the Cambridge English Proficiency exam with great results, although I'm not sure if universities would consider it equivalent to the IELTS. I'll ask the universities specifically. I've lived in London for many years when I was younger so I consider myself fluent in English, if I have to do the IELTS too it wouldn't be a problem I think.
I think the idea of finishing the year here and maybe doing an external exam (and then applying for next year) might work, and as you said there's always the foundation year as a backup. I emailed a couple of universities so depending on what they answer I'll decide on the best course of action.
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Agustina.v
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(Original post by rudemcdude)
If you applied for 2021 entry you’d be looking at doing (probably?) 3 A levels in just one year - it normally takes two years, and even good students normally need that time to fully understand the content. It might be easier if you’ve covered similar subjects already, but I don’t know how the Argentinian education system compares to A levels, but it could be a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
Applying for a foundation year won’t disadvantage you in any way, and a lot of the content is normally made with international students in mind, so you’ll be brought up to the level they want for the degree. There’s also the safety net of having a guaranteed place at that university once you’ve finished it - if you do A levels (I’m assuming?) you’ll be applying through UCAS like normal and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a place.
If you’d prefer to do A levels and stay in Argentina for another year it’s an option, but if you go down that route I’d definitely see how the A level content you’d be studying compares to what you already know, to see if it’ll be possible to get a good grade by the end of it. If you’d prefer to start in uni this September on a foundation year, it’s also a good option.
Otherwise, I don’t know if they normally make exceptions for international students. If they don’t, I’d say it’s better to do a foundation year - but that’s an extra year of tuition fees and everything that comes with studying at university, so I’d definitely see if it’d be possible for you to do A levels well in the time you have.
A levels do seem a bit risky. I looked at the syllabus and although I have covered some of the syllabus, I'm worried that without preparation I won't be able to answer well. The safety net that a foundation year offers is tempting though. I'll look into both options.
Thank you very much for answering
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Lulidg
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(Original post by Agustina.v)
Thank you so so much for the answer! It's very helpful and complete
I will definitely look into clearing.
I have done the Cambridge English Proficiency exam with great results, although I'm not sure if universities would consider it equivalent to the IELTS. I'll ask the universities specifically. I've lived in London for many years when I was younger so I consider myself fluent in English, if I have to do the IELTS too it wouldn't be a problem I think.
I think the idea of finishing the year here and maybe doing an external exam (and then applying for next year) might work, and as you said there's always the foundation year as a backup. I emailed a couple of universities so depending on what they answer I'll decide on the best the course of action.
I am from Argentina as well researching in a few uni websites on the international part they clarify that they accept CAE and proficiency, so I think you are covered with that, but try to ask them all the questions. About the foundation, it sounds a lot better If you can do it, and if you pass some subjects check if they take into consideration that to apply. Good luck!
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Agustina.v
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(Original post by Lulidg)
I am from Argentina as well researching in a few uni websites on the international part they clarify that they accept CAE and proficiency, so I think you are covered with that, but try to ask them all the questions. About the foundation, it sounds a lot better If you can do it, and if you pass some subjects check if they take into consideration that to apply. Good luck!
Yes, I think this week I'm going to try to call some universities to ask them directly.
Are you going to study in the UK?
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Lulidg
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(Original post by Agustina.v)
Yes, I think this week I'm going to try to call some universities to ask them directly.
Are you going to study in the UK?
Yes, Try to call, I am trying to but I don't tho k I'm eligible for the student loan and I don't have the money to pay it
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