A letter to matric learners: What I wish I knew when I was in matric.

For the past seven years I have spent most of my weekends and some weekdays engaging high school learners, in particular matric learners about post-schooling opportunities both in my personal capacity and also through the work of Faculty of Best Advisory-FBA (www.facultyofbestadvisory.org.za ) and its stakeholders. I have learnt and continue to learn so much about the frustrations, excitement, confusions, desires, obstacles and opportunities for matric learners. The aforementioned vary from learner to learner and school to school due to many factors and context. As a result, I am intending to share what could possibly be useful to matric learners at this point in time, in particular concerning post-schooling opportunities application processes.

As a matric learner you are almost halfway to completing your matric year and finishing your high school career. Congratulations and well done so far. You are now probably thinking of possible options which include but not limited to applying for TVET colleges/ university, learnerships, bursaries and/or taking a gap year. For the purpose of this letter, I will focus on the aspect of the application processes. In what follows, I will share with you advice, suggestions and recommendations in no particular order of importance with regards to application processes. Kindly share with fellow matric learners and/or siblings, cousins or teachers of matric learners.

Apply Now

If you are considering applying for university and/or college entry. Most universities opened applications on the 1st of April 2019, with some programmes expected to close end of June (especially from Faculty of Health) and most programmes closing on the 30th of September. You can visit the universities/college websites to apply. The growing and visible trend is that many universities have migrated to online application process and have abandoned paper based application process. This development has its own downfalls, in particular for those located in the deep remote rural and township areas with no access to internet and/or technological devices. However, if you are a matric learner located in these areas, this development demands you to think of alternatives to access post-schooling opportunities.

Your responsibility is to find a professional in your family/community or university students to help you with the university online applications process if you are struggling to do it yourself. You can apply at an internet cafe, community library, or using a smartphone that belongs to you or someone you trust, it could be your parent or guardian. To complete the university application process you should have scanned certified copy of your Grade 11 results as well as certified copy of your Identity Book (the certified copies must be recent) and a most importantly a working email that you can constantly check and will use until you register next year. You will also need a budget for the application fee. For some universities is free when you apply online and others you have to pay.

I advise that you apply for more than one university/college to increase your chances of accessing post-schooling opportunities. In addition, apply for as many bursaries and scholarships as you can, most importantly apply for NSFAS (www.nsfas.org.za ). Check the NSFAS website for more details. This bursary covers students who are academically deserving and financially needy and are mostly from poor and working class families in South Africa. NSFAS is now a full bursary as result of the revolutionary #FeesMustFall protest.

When you apply for university entrance and you are extremely excited and passionate about a certain field, ensure that your options are related as per your career field but different across faculties. For example; BSc Geology is related to BSc Mining Engineering, BSc Chemistry is related to BSc in Chemical Engineering and so on and so forth. Before you apply for something, do as much research as you can about the career you intend to pursue as well as your second, third or fourth option. Find out if there is a market for opportunities in future, in particular with the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). Create time to job shadow a professional in that field so that you are able make an informed career choice. After gathering all required documents and completing applications for university/college entry, your focus should shift on getting good/excellent grades to make it to the university/college you have applied for.

Aim to exceed the minimum requirements

The known fact is that, universities get more applications than the spaces they can offer for first years. To increase your chances of being accepted for your degree/diploma programme, do not just aim to meet the minimum entry requirements shown on many university/ college prospectuses. Your goal must be to exceed those minimum requirements bygetting the highest marks possible. Excellence is rewarded in South Africa, great marks (distinctions) will increase your chances of getting accepted as well as getting university scholarships and external bursaries and scholarships you have applied for.

The Grade 11 results

Most of you are, of course worried and disappointed with your Grade 11 results. Some of you have already given up because you performed poorly when you were in Grade 11. When you check the prospectus of the institutions you wish to apply for with your Grade 11 results, already you anticipate an automatic rejection. An important note for you is that, most university do not make final decisions based on your Grade 11 results. They wait for the final matric results, therefore, for your matric year, give it your very best and get those “marks which will pay your fees.”

National Benchmark Test (NBT)

Additionally, I encourage you to write National Benchmark Test (NBT). You can find out more about the test on the website provided (https://nbt.ac.za/content/about). Some universities/colleges and bursary programmes may need you to write the NBT test as part of their requirements to grant you entrance space or funding opportunities, and others may not. Check prospectus of institutions on their websites if the programmes you wish to apply for require you to write the NBT test or not.

I hope this is useful. You are welcome to ask questions via Facebook comments and inbox, and I will do my best to answer although not immediately. I wish you all the best in your journey of becoming!

Moswane Mafule Morelearn
Author: A learner’s Guide to Academic Success
Volunteer: Faculty of Best Advisory:www.facultyofbestadvisory.org.za
Ambassador: www.clubreadership.co.za
Writes in his personal capacity

 — feeling hopeful at Club Readership.

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