On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
Universities United Kingdom Student life Kateryna Abgaryan

Why King’s College London: a Nonstandard Pathway

In the present day, we are all enthusiastic about achieving success in education, and a significant initial decision is selecting the "University of your dreams."
Once we are sure about the goal we aim to accomplish, the phase of "striving for achievement" starts. During this time, we start shaping the various small steps required to turn our dream into reality. There are distinct phases to go through while ascending this metaphorical mountain – curiosity, inspiration, determination, moments of uncertainty, and ultimately - joy. Yet, if you have a deep affinity for the path you've drawn, there is no obstacle that can stop your progress. Through this article, I aim to discuss how I selected my university right from the start of my educational journey. I shall also discuss why I think my unique approach matched my personal motivation and how different factors came together to guide me to one clear path.

Destination London

Until a certain age, I hadn't given much serious consideration to where I would prefer to study or which course I would pursue. It was merely a topic of casual thoughts and jokes. However, at a particular stage in my life, it became evident to me that my destination for studying would be London – my inspiration was greatly fueled by my brother, who had now already completed his master's degree at Imperial College London. My journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic when I was studying online from my home at Bishopstrow College, working on my IGCSEs. Even before the pandemic, I wasn't really a fan of remote communication through screens. Spending the entire year within the same four walls posed a real challenge, but it was also a valuable learning experience. I gained a deeper understanding of the education system in the UK and familiarized myself with the requirements for getting into top universities, which I discovered usually involved completing A levels.

At that point, I started having internal debates as a teenager, questioning the idea of studying abroad if it didn't lead to attending a top-ranked university. Later, I learned that international students could also access top universities through the universities' own foundation programs. Surprisingly, not many top universities had their own foundation programs. This marked the beginning of forming my educational goals when I was 15 years old. After completing my IGCSEs, I had initially planned to start my Foundation year. However, due to circumstances, I couldn't start the Foundation year as planned, and I had to continue my home school. During that year, I realized that sometimes the best approach is to accept situations as they are as later on my country was invaded and I got the opportunity to study at Gordonstoun School in Scotland. This experience further exposed me to the education system and deepened my understanding of A levels. Eventually, I reached a firm decision: as an international student, I chose the pathway of studying on a Foundation Course at King's College London, University of London.

Unconventional route to a top-tier university

The opportunity to study on the foundation program at King's College London was truly exceptional and represents an unconventional route to securing a spot at a prestigious university. I consider this pathway to be quite unique, mainly due to its distinctive ability to present a variety of new opportunities before me. One of the most significant aspects is that even though we are students, we are given the chance to spend time with others who share similar interests and determine which academic direction we truly want to pursue for our future. This period of time allowed me to become familiar with the bustling city, its fast-paced rhythm, and even discover some hidden gems. This experience also helped me decide whether I wanted to continue my studies in a big city or if I preferred the more peaceful atmosphere of a campus – keeping the door open to the possibility of selecting a different university.

As for King's College, the foundation program not only offered me a deeper understanding but also provided a firsthand look at what the inner workings of the institution are like: interacting with the staff, engaging with individuals from various academic disciplines, including both undergraduates and postgraduates. Though it might not immediately appear significant, this program has also made me more comfortable with the layout of the campuses and allowed me to discover special and hidden places around. King's College is also well-known for its diverse extracurricular options, including cultural communities, language learning, and art involvement. This environment ensures you'll meet like-minded people, making your study abroad experience feel like a story from a Netflix TV show. When combined, all of these factors contribute to a more relaxed and less stressful environment for future undergraduate studies in the upcoming year.

UCL as a second option?

A significant issue associated with enrolling in foundation programs at top-tier universities is the concern that you might receive an acceptance only from the university you are studying at, rather than having options from other esteemed institutions.
This was a source of worry for me, especially since my preferred course of study was at another university. However, through dedicating more time to the foundation program, conducting extensive research, and seeking guidance from tutors, I gradually came to realize which faculty truly aligned with my aspirations. Surprisingly, I found myself receiving offers not only from King's College but also from UCL. However, my experience with the Kings International Foundation program led me to develop a strong affinity for this specific university and the promising environment it offered within its halls. Beyond the academic department, the sense of belonging and the impression of having already established a sort of 'family' during that year influenced my decision to choose this particular university.
Wanting to study abroad from the beginning and staying motivated no matter what is crucial.
It's okay if plans don't work out as expected; sometimes, things turn out even better. I'm happy that my life's situations came together to create an outcome that feels right for me. Moving to a busy city, adapting to a new society, and finding the right balance between life and studies bring a whole new experience. What is more, delving into the distinct realm of each top-tier university is often a complex experience. Being able to learn about these things in a friendly and supportive environment, where both peers and mentors are there to help, is a truly valuable opportunity which makes you feel more safe and secure away from home.