The exams are over, the holidays are here. As thousands of matrics from the Class of 2019 take a well-deserved break, excitement will start to build for those who are preparing to start their first year at university and a new phase of life as a young adult.
But what about the many matriculants who were so busy with the business of their last year at school that they either neglected to consider their post-school options or simply couldn’t manage to get all the university application admin done in time, or those who didn’t consider further study but have now had a change of heart?
“Now that all the work and stress of the exams are behind them, and as the view turns to the future, many matriculants are finding themselves in a situation where they have no real plan or focus for the coming year,” said Wonga Ntshinga, the senior head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education.
“This can be very unsettling – facing the blank canvas of the future while around you your peers are buzzing about going to study next year, campus life and their excitement about joining the world of work after graduation. But many may not realise that they still have options to put things in place for next year and that they don’t need to consider 2020 a write-off,” he said.
“So, if you were feeling left out, the good news is that you can still get a great strategy in place for next year, to kick-start your future.”
Ntshinga said that although registration for study at public universities are now closed, prospective students who have left it too late still have options for pursuing their interests at private higher education institutions that still accept applications during December.
“Your situation might even be a blessing in disguise because prospective students are increasingly opting for studies at respected private institutions, because of their work-readiness approach and smaller class sizes. There is also a great focus on employability and guidance before, during and after studies,” he added.
In addition, it should be kept in mind that South Africa has a single quality assurance system and one National Qualifications Framework, so any institution offering a registered and accredited qualification – whether public or private – is offering a qualification of comparable standards and equal standing.
Ntshinga said those who are keen to study next year but haven’t enrolled yet, should do their research and go speak to a student advisor at a respected institution about the best course of action.
Enrol for a short course
“You don’t have to commit to a three-year degree if you are not yet sure what you want to do career-wise. But at the very least, commit to developing your skills and not stagnating. There is a wide range of courses in a variety of fields, all of which will allow you to get your foot in the door in the world of work,” said Ntshinga.
“Doing a short course will also allow you to both explore and refine your interests and could lead to you identifying exactly what it is you want to do with your life if you haven’t been sure until now.”
Enrol for a Higher Certificate
A one-year higher certificate provides an excellent foundation and allows students to attain a full qualification while mastering the essential skills needed for higher education success.
“A higher certificate is also a good option for those matrics who do not expect to achieve a Bachelor’s pass, as it gives access to degree study,” he said.
“With this qualification a student can enter the world of work after only a year of study, which is great news for those who may need to earn while they learn. Higher certificates are on offer across a wide range of disciplines and fields, so make sure that you opt for one that aligns with your career aspirations and which will allow you to enrol for degree study later if you so choose.”
A good private higher education institution will have a range of registered and accredited qualifications very much like those on offer at public universities, and some additional qualifications uniquely geared towards the future of work.
“It is worth keeping in mind that a degree from a respected private institution is highly regarded among employers, particularly where the institution has a reputation for producing work-ready graduates who can make a positive contribution from day one, rather than having to struggle to translate the theory they learnt at university into real-life application. After you have identified qualifications that look like a match for you, visit the institution, speak to a student advisor and commit to a path that will set you up for a successful future,” said Ntshinga.
The Independent Institute of Education