Choosing the Right Pre-U Course Programme

Completing your secondary school education is a major milestone! If you have decided to embark on university life, one of the ways is to first take a Pre-University programme. With a range of Pre-U pathways available, however, how can you be sure which one matches your education and career goals? Here are the 5 common Pre-U programmes to know.

1. Foundation

Planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future? Another pre-university qualification to enter a university or college is through foundation programmes. Foundation is usually a one-year programme that allows a smooth transition into a bachelor’s degree course. It prepares you with the basic knowledge of your selected field. For example, a foundation in arts or in information technology. This makes foundation courses a more flexible study option compared with diplomas because they provide you with the basics for a degree, especially for those who need more time to know how to choose a bachelor’s course that fits them. However, foundation programmes are lower than diplomas in terms of academic levels and you must therefore complete your foundation as well as degree programmes before entering the workforce.


2. Diploma

Diplomas are on a higher level compared with other pre-university courses in Malaysia. A diploma programme focuses on practical skills and theoretical knowledge in specific areas, including early childhood education and psychology. Diplomas are considered more intensive as they usually take 24 to 36 months to complete. After graduating from a diploma course, you can choose to apply for an entry-level job or pursue a related bachelor’s degree starting from Year 2.


3. A-Level Programme

Advanced level qualifications (also known as A levels) is a pre-university programme in Malaysia that uses the UK education system. Think of it as the UK version of STPM. It’s also called GCE Advanced Level which prepares you for a diploma or bachelor’s degree through an in-depth study of 2 to 3 subjects. A-Level programmes are 100% exam-based. If you aren’t sure what course you should take after SPM, ask yourself where you want to pursue your next degree: would it be in overseas countries like the UK, Australia and Singapore, or just in Malaysia? If you prefer studying overseas, enrolling in an A-Level programme is the one for you. Depending on when you start, the study duration of your A-Level is between 15 and 24 months.


4. Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM)

One of the Pre-U options to take after SPM is the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). It’s very affordable and spans 18 months which you can enrol in May each year. Out of 23 subjects available, students can take a maximum of 5 subjects including General Studies (Pengajian Am). The programme is suitable for those who plan to pursue their diploma or bachelor’s degree at public universities. STPM is based on a modular system where the assessment is conducted throughout the programme compared with the former STPM assessment format that’s only conducted at the end of the programme. Based on the new modular system, representatives from the UK’s Cambridge Assessment will monitor and endorse your results.

5. Certificate

A certificate programme is lower than a diploma programme that’s specially designed for students who scored 1 or 2 credits in SPM. The programme gives candidates the fundamental knowledge and industry-focused skills in fields such as business studies. Certificate courses are usually 12 to 18 months long which you can take after SPM. Upon graduating from a certificate course, you can progress into a diploma course.

Ultimately, you want a Pre-U course that fits your budget while helping to decide which bachelor’s degree is right for you in the future.

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