Applying for Varsity? Here are a few tips from past and current students
by: Terry Simelane-Mathabathe - 24 August 2018
(Almost) everything you need to know about the university application process
You may be nearing the end of your high school career or maybe you have decided that next year you will take that leap of faith and start that tertiary education that you could not start, for whatever reason, straight after school. Whatever the reason may be, applying to a university or college may seem daunting. Never fear, experience is the best teacher and we have tips from a few students who have gathered the experience and made the mistakes so that you don’t have to.
1. Do some research
When I went to apply for my degree, I decided to go into the university because I was skeptical about online applications. I knew what I wanted to study (well I thought I did) I wanted to study law. I wanted to be a lawyer.
With absolutely no knowledge on how law degrees worked, I said boldly to the woman at the counter. “I want to study law please.” I nearly fainted when she asked “BA law, BCom law or LLB?” The worst was yet to come. When she asked me “what’s your second choice, you know in case you don’t make it?” I didn’t have a second choice so I mumbled the first career that came to me “Psychology.”
Do some research and read the university’s website so that you know exactly what the requirements are, what the degree programme looks like and what your second or third choices will be. I didn’t get into law, I got a degree in English Studies but that’s another story for another article.- Tasha Kallis 26
2. Apply early and check for those closing dates
I was so excited about going to university. I was so obsessed with the idea of being a student that I forgot that you actually have to apply to go there. By the time I got around to applying, I had already missed all the application closing dates. There goes my dream of wearing clear glasses and cargo pants in my engineering lectures.
I had to apply at my second choice university, North West University- Potch Campus. Some of the courses that I wanted to apply for were already full by the time I got off my dreaming bum. I was so sad but I still managed to get my student moments albeit at a different university studying a different course, teaching, which I loved. I graduated in 2017.- Lebohang Williams 23
3. Plan ahead
Applying for varsity costs money, who knew? I didn’t know, that’s for sure. I had this pipe dream that I would apply for as many universities as possible. I didn’t care where I got in, I just wanted to go and study. Little did I know that applying to university costs money, like real money not play play money. Most universities charge an application fee so it’s best to plan ahead. Once I knew what my budget for applications was, I knew which universities I could apply for and how many I could afford. So I made a list. I ranked my university choices by preference and I applied to only three. I was hit by the planning bug so I also started looking at prices for other things like accomodation and social activities which are very area specific. So when I got accepted at all three universities, it was easier to make my choice. I am in my second year of Political Science at the University of Pretoria now. – Dumisani Mokoena 20
Last tip from us: Keep an eye on bursary application closing dates. When applying for NSFAS or any other bursary, it is best to apply early. Apply to as many as you can. Here is EduConnect’s list of bursaries offered in South Africa for 2019.
For more information on applying to university read here: