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Alumni shares his experience of life after CATS Colleges

15 May 2020

Hear from James, a CATS alumni preparing to graduate from one of the UK’s top universities.


The CATS University Foundation Programme (UFP) is 35 years old. It has helped thousands of international students bridge the academic, cultural, and language gap between school and university. This pre-university course, delivered in a world-class international boarding school setting, has set the scene for many tales of success.

James from China has one such story to tell. An alumni of the UFP at CATS Cambridge, he’s now preparing to graduate as a final year student at Durham, a top five UK university.

How does the CATS UFP prepare students?

James’ brilliant results speak for themselves, but there’s even more to shout about when it comes to the UFP course. The one-year experience is subject focused, not pathway focused. That means encouraging students to explore their true academic passions; knowledge helps them grow as people, and learning doesn’t stop with a university application.

In James’ case, studying business, sociology, and maths gave him a range of topics to delve into. Access to extracurricular activities let him see how theory get applied in all sorts of real-life situations.

As it turns out, these three topics prepared him perfectly for his choice of uni course: business and management.

How is CATS different?

Students appreciate and benefit from the continual support staff provide throughout the UFP. Assessment and coursework help identify strengths and areas for improvement early on. Presentation work lets young people articulate their ideas to each other and communicate as part of a team.

End of year assessment then comes with less pressure on individual performance. Students take their exams with confidence, knowing they’ve received the best possible preparation and development.

Another key CATS difference comes from English language support. Such a diverse range of international students means a real cultural melting pot of ideas and perspectives. World-class English tuition ensures everyone can express themselves and learn from fellow students as much as from teachers.

English language testing, delivered via IELTS, serves as globally recognised proof of fluency. James and thousands of others have used their IELTS scores to secure places in the world’s top academic institutions.

Becoming our best selves together

With university success within reach, James is looking forward towards his career. Work experience with JP Morgan and Credit Suisse gave him a taste for finance, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.

James also studied fine art at CATS, and is now channelling that creativity into starting his own company with friends, including one he met during his time in Cambridge.

The CATS UFP has helped shape James’ future, supporting him as he finds his path and begins a prosperous life.

Is it time for your child to embark on their own journey? Secure their place, apply today.

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