The application process to any higher education facility is stressful, mainly because it’s your first time and you may not know what you are doing. I applied to three institutions namely Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch. I just wanted any university that would take me and my first option was being a teacher.

I honestly didn’t have a second option, I just wanted to be a teacher. I remember the woman at the Administration office telling me I had to have a second option even if I didn’t enjoy it. I put Tourism and Journalism as my second and third option.

I ended up not being accepted in teaching; the admin involving my journey into journalism was a nightmare. I got lost several times because I didn’t know journalism had a separate campus from the main campus, I also had to apply for residence and NSFAS which is another ball game on its own.

What to do during the application process:

Documents/ Requirements – These days we apply online so remember to fill in every field correctly. The documents needed are your matric results and ID for grade 12 learners who are still in school. For people who have been to college you need your college results, matric results and ID.

Always read and reread the requirements from the website of your desired institution about the course you are choosing, because if you don’t you might end being rejected for submitting incorrect documents. For instance, if you apply to a course like photography or design, you might need to provide a portfolio of your work as well.

Make sure all the documents that need police certification are taken to your nearest police station and always carry extra money for printing at the internet café.

Physically going into university:

Walk-ins – Get familiar with the term walk-in. It’s simply the process of you going to the university, physically, and trying to find a spot that may not have been filled during the initial application period. So let’s say you applied for teaching as both Amber and I have — we didn’t know each other at the time so imagine our surprise when we both ended up in journalism after being rejected. Since we both eagerly wanted to study despite being rejected for teaching, we both went to the university and were told that there were still slots for journalism.

The trek up the road to the Design Faculty was not fun for anyone. It was hot and fatigue was starting to set in. The shoes you wear will help with walking up and down, so definitely opt for a comfy outfit. Also remember to pack in some snacks and some water; it’ll probably be a long day of running around.

Prepare to ask for directions – I started applying in 2015, which was the same year I just moved to Cape Town. I had no idea where most of these universities were located and I was new to the city. To be safe in our climate, especially in Cape Town, always ask for assistance from officials like security guards. If not the parking assistants are also always helpful, just make sure to never act like you don’t know a place as that makes you an easy target for robbers.

NSFAS – Let me tell you, the most complicated process for me was getting the right documents that were required by NSFAS. It took me about a good month to finally get the correct documents. During our time in varsity, we also were part of #FeesMustFall because even though I had NSFAS I never saw the money and fees were expensive. However, I was thankful that my tuition was paid for; it would’ve been better if they helped with food and transportation but we can’t win everything.

Residence – I thought I wouldn’t need residence as I assumed travelling from Kraaifontein wouldn’t be hard, and I played myself. CPUT has a rule that they offer Res to people that live further than 60 km. The sad thing is, even though I didn’t live further than that transport always made me late no matter how early I tried to make it. So it’s very important to apply for Res because trust me it will save you the stress.

The application process isn’t an easy one, and the honest truth is that rejection is certainly part of the process. Don’t get dismayed by the rejection. Go to the university and see what else you could potentially like; you never know, you might fall in love with whatever you do, just like Amber and I did. Never give up though, you will reap the rewards eventually.


If you missed our first blog, read it here

Tell us: What lessons can you share about your application process?