Hi, I’m Aneela! I am a third (and final!) year student reading BA English Language and Literature at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. My entry to university was through LMH’s Foundation Year, the pilot scheme which inspired the University of Oxford's new Astrophoria Foundation Year.
I chose the Foundation Year over a direct entry to university, as it presented the opportunity for me to experience the intensity and fullness of life as an Oxford student without the full commitment to a three-to-four-year course. In short, I wanted to see if I was right for Oxford, and if Oxford was right for me. I really enjoyed my time on the Foundation Year, as the workload and teaching experience replicated the structure of the undergraduate course that followed the Foundation Year. It was also useful to have both the financial and academic support from the college, tutors, and foundation year coordinators, as it reduced multiple factors I’d have otherwise had to navigate alone.
Both academically and on a personal level, the biggest impact the Foundation Year has had on me is the increase in self-confidence. By providing an environment where I was pushed to achieve and go beyond the academic potential I believed I had, I was able to strengthen my skills as a student. The opportunity to grow in independence was an invaluable thing provided by such a scheme. I enjoyed the fact that the majority of my time was spent studying English, a subject I’d always hoped to study further and beyond the limitations of A Level English. The course’s fixation on the importance of close reading, analytical skills, and strengthening my argumentative voice in essays are skills I took away from such a rich and interesting course.
A major plus beyond academia that the scheme provided was the opportunity to live in a city as alive and interesting as Oxford. The city and university itself is bursting with people from all walks of life, and opportunities and events for all individuals: societies, sports, debates and discussions. As a student at the University of Oxford, I constantly feel as if I am experiencing the vibrancy of a full student life – beyond simply gaining a degree, I am gaining a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My advice for anyone considering applying to the Astrophoria Foundation Year is to simply do it. As cliché as it is, we regret one hundred percent of the chances we didn’t take. An opportunity like this one can enrich a life beyond belief. Good luck to all applicants, you won’t regret it!