Program bridges gap between high school and university

January 3, 2020 | Campus Life

For many students, the gap between receiving their high school credentials and embarking on their post-secondary education can result in a steep learning curve. That’s why MacEwan University’s School of Continuing Education developed the Foundations Program International.

“Especially for international students, going into a four-year bachelor’s degree when you’re coming right out of high school and leaving your entire family behind can be a really big commitment,” says Ewa Wasniewski, director, Education and International, School of Continuing Education.

The Foundations Program International gives students coming in from overseas or across the border the opportunity to try out different courses, learn about MacEwan’s academic policies, upgrade their English language skills and take university preparation courses, if they need to, before they commit to a full-time program. Students can choose to take open studies undergraduate courses that are part of their program and meet with an advisor to create an education plan based on their goals.

“We look at what international students already have on their transcripts from high school, what are they missing or areas they could explore and new skills they could work on to be able to meet the admission requirements when they reapply,” explains Ewa.

There is also a mandatory, noncredit course – Foundations 101 – that students complete in their first term to build academic skills and strategies that will serve them as they carry on into post-secondary studies. “We talk a lot about strategies for success and academic integrity because for some international students, the academic expectations in their home countries are different from what we expect in Canada,” says Lori Williamson, instructor in the School of Continuing Education.

In Foundations 101, the students and their faculty member review MacEwan’s policies, so students have a better understanding of what is expected of them as they go further in their academic studies. They also talk about intercultural relationships and awareness, and cultural identity.

“Foundations 101 provides students with an opportunity to have a safe space to learn about Canadian education, context and culture,” says Ewa. Most important, she adds, is giving students the tools and information they need to be able to define success for themselves.



A life of independence

Geared towards Indigenous students, pimâcihisowin includes cultural support, mentorship and ceremonial events that help you achieve your post-secondary goals.


Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter