This past school year, I decided rather than going straight to university from A Level, that I would do an art foundation course. The course allows you to explore so many different areas of the creative industry that I didn't get to try at A Level. I thought that I would explain why I chose to take the course and why I would advise that you do the same if you are in a similar position as I was last year.
Honestly, I think the first reason I even considered it was that I just didn't feel ready. People can say all they like about how you'll soon get used to it and that it's scary but just something you have to do, but I really don't think it's anything to be embarrassed about if you're not ready. I wasn't! I knew that I loved photography and was 99% sure that's what I was going to do with my future, but I just didn't feel ready to make that decision when there were so many creative areas I hadn't even tried yet. At the start of the course, we went through the 'workshop phase' where we would spend two weeks in different departments of the college. We had textiles, fine art, 3D design and graphic design. I hadn't done fine art since GCSE and I had never really tried textiles or 3D design. This is something I probably wouldn't have done if I hadn't taken this course. I enjoyed them and gained knowledge from all of the workshops that I can now apply to my photography course next year.
The way that art foundation works is so, so different to the way I was used to working. You spend over half the course experimenting, trying basically anything you can get your hands on. Then you have a final major project, which makes up the majority of your end result. On my course, I could choose absolutely anything for my FMP. I wasn't given a starting point like at A Level. This is similar to how university works (as far as I know), which means that you have some time to get used to it.
You're encouraged to focus your FMP on the route you wish to take after the course; which in my case was photography. However, I was able to take such a different approach to photography than I had done before, by using techniques like print making, using a paint brush in the dark room, pinhole photography.. I had never experimented so much before and I loved it.
I don't know about other courses, so it might be worth checking, but my course finished quite early in comparison to schools. This means that if you want to take an art foundation course but you also want to travel before starting uni - you can! You have a massive summer before starting back in September.
Don't worry about if you're not skilled enough in one area, for example, I was really nervous about doing an art course because I did graphic design and photography at A Level, so I had visions of me being laughed at in life drawing sessions and falling behind in the fine art workshop.. but actually, those were the things I enjoyed most. It's so flexible and anything goes.
Over all, as you can probably tell, I loved it. Like any course, it had its ups and downs, but I would recomend it to anyone who is studying a creative subject. Even if you are certain of what course you want to do at uni, why not have one more year to experiment with anything you want?
I hope you found this useful and/or interesting. Let me know if you are thinking about or have already done an art foundation course!