THERE comes a time in every school-leaver's life when they start to wonder: where to next after SPM?
With a range of study options to choose from, deciding on your next course in life can be a daunting experience but it can lead to many exciting opportunities as well.
Offering the best of British higher education in a Malaysian setting, the University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) may well be the ideal choice for students to further their studies.
Consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world by QS World University Rankings, UoRM offers students a complete range of programmes, from foundation level to undergraduate degrees, to postgraduate studies.
"Coming to university straight from Form Five has various advantages," says Associate Professor Bruce Howell, Head of Foundation, Study and Language Institute (FLSI) at UoRM.
"We will treat our foundation students as university students, so there's an expectation that they are able to work independently.
"For example, we have the Academic Skills module which encourages students to read around the subject and create the work with beginnings on how to do research properly.
"So when the students begin their undergraduate degree, they already have the basic skills of understanding the importance of research and a deeper understanding of the topic," he says.
Taking centre stage at UoRM's modern campus in EduCity, Johor, is Henley Business School, a prestigious business school that offers a range of internationally renowned business degrees and a financial dealing room equipped with the latest trading simulation software.
"Henley Business School is the only business school in Malaysia with triple accreditation and a live trading facility for financial studies," says Professor Teck Yong Eng, Head of Henley Business School Malaysia.
"As one of the top business schools in the world, we encourage students to join us after completing Form Five because we offer a fast track to a business degree programme."
Upon completion of the Foundation in Business programme with FSLI, students have the option to pursue a business degree at either the University of Reading in the UK or in Malaysia.
For those interested in the field of pharmacy, students can enrol in the MPharm 2+2 programme where they get to study at both campuses and have the opportunity to seek a pre-registration training post in the UK and eventually registering with the General Pharmaceutical Council.
"I think the university has a very student-focused approach to teaching," says Kate Fletcher, UoRM's Interim Head of Pharmacy.
"We use lots of modern and innovative teaching techniques, technology-enhanced learning and role-plays. Our students get to handle real-life drugs that we order from the UK and we spend quite a lot of time on communication skills as well."
Fletcher says that communication is important for pharmacists. "You need to be able to communicate with your patient but also other health care professionals."
In other words, the hands-on teaching approach contributes to the employability of graduates.
"We're teaching them how to be a pharmacist as much as we can for undergraduates so that when they get to the pre-registration or a registered pharmacist job, they've already got some skills they can contribute to their employer straight away," explains Fletcher.
To make sure that the students here can keep up with their counterparts in the UK, the programme provides a virtual learning experience through Blackboard Collaborate.
"We use Blackboard Collaborate as a virtual learning environment with the students here and in the UK. At the moment, we have four of these sessions in a year and we're going to increase that to about six sessions. We also have staff coming over to visit so the students here get to meet them," says Fletcher.
The UoRM campus in EduCity boasts state-of-the-art facilities and a well-thought-out learning environment that attract students from all over Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Second-year Pharmacy student Chee Liang from Sarawak says he first learnt about the University of Reading online, "because it's one of the top universities in the world."
"It's a new and different environment for me here, for someone who came all the way from Sarawak," he says.
For Phoebe Kua, also a second-year student, the friendly nature of the staff and students add value to her campus life experience.
"The lecturers here are very friendly and good at teaching. They pay more attention to each and every one of us," says the student who is part of the first cohort of Pharmacy students to transfer to the UK in September.
This article is brought to you by the University of Reading Malaysia. UoRM is currently accepting applications for its Sept 3 intake for Foundation Programmes in Business and Science, as well as its Sept 24 intake for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
To learn more about the programmes on offer, visit UoRM during Open Day on Aug 11 and 18, which will give you to chance to tour the campus and meet staff and students. For more information, visit www.reading.edu.my, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07-268 6205 or WhatsApp 016-772 5400.