Studying in 2022? Top Tips for this Year’s Matrics
Updated: Mar 8
In previous years, prospective students would attend open days, visit campuses
to speak to student advisors and faculty staff and connect with current and
former students. Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown caused much upheaval for
the Matric Class of 2020 and 2021. The world looks very different today,
compared to when they entered the most important school year, six months ago.
But while the world around them has changed drastically, one decision remains
the same: what they are going to study and where will they study come 2022?
Although things are different, Gr 12 learners should continue working towards
realising their dreams, which includes weighing their options carefully and
deciding on the best course of action in furthering their education.
The process and considerations involved in making higher education decisions
have changed as a result of the way the world has changed, and Gr 12 learners
and their parents need to take that into consideration. In previous years,
prospective students would be urged to attend open days, visit campuses to
speak to student advisors and faculty staff and connect with current and former
students. It goes without saying that this physical legwork is no longer an option
in the form that it used to be in the past.
But all is not lost, as quality institutions will now be hosting virtual Open Days,
which will allow prospective students to actually ‘visit’ more campuses, and give
them quicker access to advisors by scheduling online appointments. Additionally,
some institutions will allow on-campus visits, by appointment.
There are three things one should consider when considering higher education
The ability of an institution to provide online offerings
As many students realised during lockdown learning, good contact education does not necessarily translate to a good online education. This means that historic ideas of what made a good, ‘prestigious’ institution have been turned on their head. Ensure that the institution you opt for, will be able to offer a superior education regardless of delivery method. Some of the questions to ask in an effort to determine an institution’s competence in terms or their online offering, include:
Does r the institution have an online learning platform,
How does the institution use the platform for teaching and learning,
How do lecturers teach using the online platform,
Is the institution’s platform data free which is a big drawing card for cash-strapped students,
What are students expected to do on the online platform,
What resources do students need for online learning; and
What do statistics show in relation to attendance, submission of assignments, and student progress during lockdown.
If an institution doesn’t have an online platform, or if their online platform did not
effectively support the continuation of learning, one should think twice about
opting for such an institution going forward.
Be sure to interrogate all your choices to get a clear sense of what they did for
their existing students these past few months, how they assisted those students
whose circumstances required additional support, and whether their students
were able to adapt to the new environment.
An institution’s focus on work-integrated learning
Given the massive loss of jobs in the wake of Covid-19 and global lockdowns,
opportunities are going to be limited in coming years. When hiring picks up
again, employers will want to be very clear that they are appointing graduates
who are able to do the job and not just have paper credentials to show for their
time at university or college.
This means that you should ask institutions how their curricula are connected to
the real world of work, how closely they work with industry to ensure you engage
with relevant, updated learning material, and how work-integrated learning is
incorporated in the curriculum. The additional benefit of work-integrated
learning, is that this also provides students with a portfolio of evidence upon
graduation, which gives them additional collateral during the job hunt.
The registration and accreditation status of an institution and qualification
Prospective students need to ensure that an institution is properly registered and
accredited. Bogus colleges and qualifications have been a challenge in South
Africa in the past, and one expects that unscrupulous operators will continue to
prey on the most vulnerable given our current circumstances.
It is essential that you start considering your options now, and not leave your
decisions about your future too late - when you might be desperate to further
your studies but find yourself with fewer options. Give yourself sufficient time to
investigate the institutions and qualifications that interest you and weed out
those which will cost you time and money without providing the required return
on investment. Gr 12 learners should start investigating their options without
delay by spending a little time every week working on a higher education
checklist. You might not be sure what you want to register for, or how to connect
with institutions, but good institutions will have systems and advisors in place to
help you, you just have to reach out.