1. What Is Pre-University In Thailand

What Is Pre-University In Thailand

Published on 05 Feb 2021

What Is Pre-University in Thailand?

Pre-university is simply defined as the time period before entering university, usually lasting one to two years. Secondary school leavers can enrol in the pre-university programme of their choice to kick-start their higher education journey. Thailand offers a wide variety of pre-university programmes for those looking to further their studies. Pre-U students in Thailand have the necessary qualifications to pursue their undergraduate studies in Thailand or abroad. 


Age Group Of Pre-University in Thailand

In Thailand, upper secondary school students are awarded the Certificate of Secondary Education (Matayom 6 or MS 6) upon graduation. Upper secondary school education is open to students aged 16 to 18 years old and is not mandatory. In Thailand, there are also general academic and vocational schools, also known as comprehensive schools, that offer both general academic and vocational programmes. Majority of secondary school students at international schools complete their IGCSE examinations at age 16. Therefore, they can begin their pre-university journey earlier. 


The Benefits and Importance of Pre-University

Pre-university education is an important stepping stone in an individual’s academic life before they transition to university. Students have a chance to determine what programme they want to pursue based on their interests, passions, aspirations and budget. This is also the time where their learning preferences and learning styles will be fully developed. In addition, they can also gauge their level of interest in academics and whether they want to enter the workforce right away. As pre-university courses are offered by colleges and universities, students will experience a taste of university life and this provides them an opportunity to hone their soft skills and interpersonal skills. 


What are Pre-University programmes?

The topics one learns at pre-university is heavily dependent on the type of pre-university programme chosen. Generally, pre-university courses cover a variety of subjects in Science, Arts, Humanities and Languages. Students have the opportunity to pick the subjects they want to focus on according to their academic goals. Most pre-university programmes will have broad subjects that will provide students with the qualifications needed to enter a range of undergraduate programmes. Diploma programmes are the only pathway that leaves graduates with a specific skill set that allows them to enter the workforce right away. 


Types of Pre-University Programmes

A typical A Level programme takes up to two years to complete. A minimum of three A Level subjects is required to enter most universities. A Level is divided into Advanced Subsidiary (AS Level) and A2 Level. Examinations are carried out at the end of each level and carry 50% of the overall grade. A Level results will be recognised globally and allow you to enter most private and public universities around the world. 


The American Degree Programme (ADP) leads directly to a degree and takes around four years to complete. Many institutions offer credit transfer options which allow students to continue their degree in American universities. Students can opt for 2+2 (two years in home country and two years abroad) or 1+3 (one year in home country and one year abroad). Alternatively, students can complete the entire ADP locally as some colleges also offer 4+0. 


The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two-year programme and is offered by a number of international schools in Thailand. Applicants need to have excellent academic results in addition to passing an entrance test and interview. The IBDP requires students to complete six subjects, which are assessed through assignments, oral presentations and examinations. Each subject is graded from 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest. 


Foundation programmes are catered to students who want to continue their undergraduate degree in the same university. The most common Foundation programmes are in Science, Arts and Business. Taking a year to complete, Foundation courses are assessed through a combination of assignments, quizzes and exams. 


Types of Pre-University in Thailand 

There are many Thailand pre-university options for students to choose from depending on their academic performance, interests and talents. Upper secondary education in Thailand is divided into academic and vocational paths. Students who choose the vocational path will be awarded the Certificate in Vocational Education upon graduation. There are also dual-education programmes that combine theoretical knowledge and vocational training. The Certificate in Dual Vocational Education will be awarded to students after three years of education and training. University admissions in Thailand is generally based on both the upper secondary school GPA and results in standardised entrance examinations.


How do you apply for Pre-University in Thailand?

Students in Thailand should start early and do as much research as possible before choosing a pre-university programme. It is important not to follow what friends are doing or choose a course because the course seems easy. Information is readily available online with course structures, fees, duration, career prospects and many more. In addition, students need to make sure they meet the entry requirements and have the qualifications needed to enrol in a particular course. Students can also visit Open Days and higher education fairs to see what pre-university options are available to them. 


How to choose the right Pre-University

Enrolling in a pre-university programme that fits your needs paves the way for a positive and fulfilling education experience and eventually a long lasting career. Before choosing a pre-university course, it is important to ask yourselves the following questions: 


  • Do I want to study locally or abroad?
  • Do I want to pursue an undergraduate degree? If so, which field would I like to explore?
  • Do I possess the entry requirements needed for the pre-university programme?
  • What are my learning preferences? Do I enjoy studying for examinations or thrive in group work and presentations? 
  • What is my budget for pre-university studies? Are there scholarships or financial aid available? 



  1. https://www.scholaro.com/pro/Countries/Thailand/Education-System
  2. https://wenr.wes.org/2018/02/education-in-thailand-2

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