Q1: Many people feel it is the end of the world when they haven’t been accepted at a university. Why do you think this is the case?
IQA: The truth is that only a small percentage of matriculants will meet the entrance requirements for varsity and sometimes meeting the entrance requirements alone is not enough due to the high volumes of students wanting to enroll versus the availability of space in the institutions. Unfortunately, the schooling system in SA is set up so that learners are lead to believe that the only option they have after high school is a traditional university – due to the lack of guidance many learners often then do not know and are not exposed to the other alternatives that are available to them.
Q2: What are the main reasons that someone is not accepted at varsity?
IQA: The admission criteria at a majority of universities is not a piece of cake, this is not done to spite learners or deprive anyone of university education, but rather to ensure that students are able to cope with the highly demanding and stressful workload that will come with university education. Your marks have a major impact on whether or not you are accepted. Sorry to mention the obvious, but a university is a place of learning it, therefore, makes it imperative for learners to aim for high marks from grade 10 onwards if they wish to study after high school. The Admission Point Score (APS) will have an impact on your admission, different APS requirements apply to different courses at the various institutions. As a result, you should be 100% sure that you know what the APS is for the course that you wish to study at the institutions you wish to study through as the score may differ. Remember that you are not the only one trying to apply for a spot so aim for an APS score which is much higher than that required. Subject choices in Grade 9 will also determine whether or not you are accepted for the course you want to study – keep yourself up to date with these by regularly checking the websites of the various institutions. The availability of space or rather the lack thereof at our institutions has a huge role to play in whether or not one is accepted for their chosen course or at all. Learners need to remember that it is not only South African students applying to our institutions, there is a large number of international students trying to enroll as well due to their highly recognised qualifications and the calibre thereof.
Q3: What are your options then if you haven’t been accepted?
IQA: We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a back-up plan and a back-up plan for your back-up. Even though you may have your sights set on studying one thing, it would be to your own benefit to have a second-course option, it is equally important to have a second choice in terms of where you want to study. Apply for more than one course and apply to more than one education provider; consider distance learning, a part-time job, enroll for a short course while you take a gap year if you are not sure what you want to do, but be constructive about it and plan it – maybe volunteer in a field you’re passionate about.
Q4: What steps should you take immediately when you haven’t been accepted?
IQA: Going to university isn’t everything, but rejection is never going to be a nice feeling, there are plenty of other opportunities out there just waiting on you to grab them and if you maintain a positive mind and attitude the sooner you will be able to spot these windows of opportunity, use them to you advantage to succeed and make yourself and loved ones proud. After you have cried about it for a few minutes, snap back to reality, remember how great your dreams are, and get to work on the back-up plan. Think about what else it is that you have a passion for and use this set back to make that dream come alive – distance learning or part-time study option are great routes to consider, this is far better than sitting back and wasting a year of your life doing nothing but wallow in self-pity. You could study a short course or get a qualification that you can use to apply for credits for entrance to another course at a later stage.
Q5: How can you overcome the emotions of uncertainty and stress?
IQA: Always remember that time helps; read, meditate, relax, don’t blame yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself either, talk to someone, cry if you need to, exercise, stay calm and positive – this will help prepare you to deal with the unknown. A lot of people don’t like not being in control, it’s only natural so it’s okay to feel upset, hurt or angry, just be careful not to waste too much time focusing your energy and emotions dwelling on the negative as this could be dangerous; it’s in the past now, you cannot change it, pick your beautiful self up and move on. Everyone fails at something at some point or another, consider this a lesson, thinking about “what if” and “if only” will only make you feel worse, breathe, re-centre yourself, and start again, it is better that you have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.
Q6: Should you wait until your final results are out before you do anything?
IQA: Most certainly not and please don’t, but these things do happen, and like we suggested; you should have a contingency plan in place from the start, but it’s never too late to set one up and continue on you merry pursuit of dreams. Some institutions like IQ Academy will have registrations open until 31 January so there is no better time than right now to give us a call, send us an email, or visit our website or Facebook page for more info on our courses and what you need in order to enroll with us. Some institutions take applications from as early as your grade 11 years yet if you are unfortunate to have been misinformed and waited until the last minute to apply for post-matric study there is still hope in the form of distance learning.
Q7: What are the main advantages of distance learning?
IQA: You will be in a position to create your own time table, manage and balance your life the way that you desire, you can also study from anywhere – more flexibility is a plus. It’s not all fun and games though as you will need to be disciplined, especially if you are embarking on this journey on your own at a young age. You can take on a hobby, volunteer, or even start a business, have the opportunity to look after your family, or have more of a presence your home life if all you are doing is studying. You will most likely be staying at home and so you save money by not having to worry about accommodation or transport, the only thing you may need is to join a local library or buy more data for internet connection for research to assist you in your studies, but it still works out much cheaper in most instances. You have the freedom to apply for full or part-time employment to make extra cash to help see you through your studies and let’s face it we could all use a little extra money, the added bonus is that the work experience will boost your CV but be careful not to overexert yourself. Distance or part-time studying will allow you a wonderful opportunity to apply to internship programmes in the same field that you are studying – this gives you work experience which will certainly set you apart from other students and job applicants who are fresh out of varsity but have no experience. Another opportunity that may arise out of this is that if you are really good at what you do you may be guaranteed a fulltime job once you complete your studies or you may be offered a bursary by your employer, either way, you win.
Q8: What is the difference between a certificate and a higher certificate?
IQA: This answer may differ from one institution to the next, in the same way, that a certificate may be called by a different name at another institution so once again research is critical. The basic differentiators are entrance requirements, duration/length of the course, the total number of study hours required to complete the course, NQF rating, course credits, course outcomes, and academic progression opportunities on completion of the certificate or higher certificate.
Q9: Can you get the same job if you have a short course or certificate as someone who has been to university?
IQA: No job is guaranteed, it is important however that one does their research and find out what is required by employers, but the same way you have to work your way up in a new company is the same way that someone who has been to university will have to work his or her way up. For instance, though the jobs may be in the same field; you cannot study nursing and think you will then qualify to practice as a doctor, but you will qualify for and can apply for a job as a nurse regardless of where you attained your certificate from if it is accredited. Similarly, if you study an MBChB to become a doctor the chances of you getting employment as a nurse are slim because you will be overqualified – it’s all relative. You can, however, study further once you have completed a nursing qualification and go on to become a doctor.
Q10: Can you still get credits from your certificate if you go to varsity at a later stage?
IQA: It is at the university’s discretion and the criteria that are used to ascertain whether or not credits are granted varies from one university to the next, the type of certificate you hold will have an impact and the weighting given to each subject or module that makes up the certificate will vary. Always make sure that you contact the relevant department within the university to get information on this as it will vary from department to department and from one institution to the next, basically, what applies to one, does not necessarily apply to all. Do your research.