International students turn to University Foundation Programmes in face of growing academic competition at UK universities

10 May 2010

With a reported rise of over 28%* in the number of international students applying for places at UK universities, growing academic competition among applicants has resulted in four times as many students enrolling on University Foundation Programmes, according to Bell, a leading British education provider.

Bell International College Cambridge has announced a dramatic increase in applications to its University Foundation Programme (UFP). Over the last four years, Bell has seen applications for the programme quadruple with more and more international students wanting to improve their language and academic skills in preparation for a university career in the UK.

Bell believes the growing popularity of the UFP among international students reflects the increased competition to secure a top university place. The admissions’ data of one leading UK university reflects this, showing that every place attracts nearly four applicants.*

Figures released earlier this year by UCAS, the admissions service for higher education in the UK, also report that UK universities are more popular than ever with application figures increasing for the fourth year running to over half a million applicants overall.

Will Kinsman, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bell explains: “The UK boasts an excellent educational system and it’s not surprising that more and more international students aspire to study here. However, it’s in the students’ best interests to prepare thoroughly in the face of increasing competition for places, and it may improve their chances of success by attending a University Foundation Programme to assist with their language, academic and cultural skills development.”

Although course requirements vary greatly depending on the university in question, Bell stresses that international students’ English language skills are an essential requirement for a successful academic career in the UK. The University Foundation Programme also focuses on giving students the opportunity to both live and study in Britain, enabling them to develop independent learning techniques and exam preparation skills.

In conjunction with this, Bell’s programme is independent which means that students can choose from any UK university. As such, students have been offered places at a number of leading universities including Edinburgh University in Scotland, Queen Mary University of London and Durham University.

For further information on Bell’s University Foundation Programme, visit


Media and press enquiries:

Caroline Davidson
PR and Marketing Executive
Bell International
Red Cross Lane
Cambridge, CB2 0QU

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 275567
Fax: +44 (0)1223 414080

Notes to Editors

*Over 28% in the number of international students applying for places at UK universities - figure quoted in media release by UCAS dated 8th February 2010 announcing that “Application numbers hit record highs for the fourth year running.”

*Application rates at the University of Cambridge have increased over a four year period from 14105 to 15863. Over the past 2 years, less offers have been made with a total of 3991 in 2009, meaning that approximately 1 in 4 applicants were offered a place to study.

About Bell

Bell is a leading educational charity and one of the largest British-owned providers of English language education services. Each year, Bell helps over 100,000 students, from more than 120 countries through one of its 37 worldwide teaching centres and e-channels, primarily to learn English and other languages. Bell operates 9 centres in the UK, including a boarding school for international students.

The organisation also provides teacher training, educational management, consultancy and project services to international organisations, universities and governments.

About Bell’s University Foundation Programme

Bell’s University Foundation Programme is an academic year course specifically designed to prepare international students for a successful university career in the UK. The course includes developing English for academic purposes and IELTS test, studying academic and subject modules and learning about British life and culture.

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and is the shared admissions service for higher education. UCAS manage applications for full time undergraduate courses, together with applications through GTTR (Graduate Teacher Training Registry), CUKAS (Conservatoires UK Admissions Service) and UKPASS (UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service).


< Other news


Photograph of UK university student graduate.