If you’re an international student looking to pursue a degree outside your home country but feels intimidated by the idea or you’re unsure what course to take up, you could consider enrolling in a pathway program. Generally lasting one academic year, with no degree in the end, pathway programs are preparatory courses that build the qualifications international students need to enter a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. This type of program is designed to help international students assimilate into university life and a different culture.

There are a number of reasons international students go for pathway programs. Here are some of the common ones:

Strengthens your English

International students in the US or Canada should expect to receive lessons and interact with their teachers and classmates in English. That’s why they need to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the English language via standardized English tests such as the IELTS and TOEFL. Failing to achieve a certain score on these tests will keep them from being accepted in a US or Canadian college or university. If you’re an international student whose native language is not English, choosing to take a pathway program will open up opportunities for you to learn English. You will have ample opportunities to practice your English communication skill through English courses that are designed to boost your confidence in using the language on a daily basis.  

While the IELTS focuses solely on reading, listening, speaking, and writing, pathway programs can teach you to become a successful speaker, writer, or researcher. If you’re a non-native English speaker, refining your skill in using the language can help you gain a competitive edge in the job market, especially if you hope to build a career in an international organization. Being knowledgeable in more than one language and culture can make you a valuable asset in any organization, as it shows you have cross-cultural communication skills.    

Provides more time to choose a major and improves career opportunities

Choosing a degree, being one of the biggest decisions any college student must make, is not to be rushed. You need some time to think it through; to evaluate your personal and professional goals. By enrolling in a pathway program, you will get the chance to try different study courses for a certain period, which will help you decide which degree best suits your interest.

As you go through your pre-degree program, talk to other students about the field of study they’re considering to take up. Also, check your school if it offers a counselling service that helps point undergraduate and graduate students to the right direction.

Once you’re already enrolled, take advantage of cooperative education, experiential learning, and internships to gain hands-on experiences in your chosen field of study. More than providing valuable learning opportunities, it can build your relationship with potential future employers. In Canada, international students can apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after graduating from a diploma or degree program. The work experience you gain in Canada via the PGWP may help you to qualify for permanent residency in the diverse and welcoming country.

Increases your chances of undergraduate admission

Many colleges and universities offer conditional admission to international students who complete a pathway program. This means when you finish a program with a certain GPA, you are automatically accepted into the college or university.

If you’re looking at taking a pathway program, it would be best if you research the admission policy of the schools you’re considering. Doing this would help make your transition into college life easier, and bring you long-term academic success.

When researching, include the school’s location, its size, and tuition fee. Do you want to live in an urban, rural, or suburban area? Are you comfortable studying in a small campus with a small student/teacher ratio, or in a large school that’s bursting with activities? How much are you willing to pay for your chosen degree?

You get to learn a new culture and make new friends

If it’s your first time living and studying in a foreign country, the experience might be initially uncomfortable for you. Not only will everybody else be communicating in a different language, the style of education is completely different from what you’re used to. American colleges, for instance, expect their students to participate in small-group discussions in addition to learning in a classroom setting. Many instructors require participation; they factor a student’s participation into his or her overall grade.

One of the best things about pathway programs is that they allow you to adapt alongside your fellow international students to a different environment. And this creates an opportunity for you to make new life-long friends. You might think that forging relationships with students coming from entirely different backgrounds is a huge challenge, but when you enroll in a pathway program, you’ll see how shared experiences can really forge long-lasting bonds. 

Apart from the vast array of academic and career development opportunities, pathway programs offer international students immense personal improvement. Studying in a foreign country will give you a chance to expand your global network, to experience new cultures, and to develop a global perspective. Both inside and outside the classroom, you will get to interact with people from various backgrounds. Being able to engage with a wide variety of viewpoints will give you an opportunity to consider perspectives that you may not have encountered before.

Fulfill your dream to earn a diploma in your field of interest and to pursue your chosen career path via the pathway programs of Q College