The university application process can become quite confusing and complicated. This article aims to shed some light on which marks you’ll need to apply with and why.
Applying to get into college or university is one of the most important processes – that can potentially change the outcome – of your whole life. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are doing everything by the book to ensure that you stand a chance of receiving that shining letter of provisional acceptance.
Once you have that letter, you can obsess about your future until you finally receive a confirmation letter that solidifies your acceptance.
Unfortunately there is no universal application process which you can follow. Each university differs in their application processes.
Many factors play a role in whether you will apply with your Grade 11 or Grade 12 marks. These dependent factors include:
- Which institution you’d like to apply to
- The application date
- Your marks
- Whether you are taking a gap year or not.
The institution you are applying to sets the rules for your application process. Each institution has different requirements. You need to research the exact requirements of the institution you are applying to. If you are applying to more than one place, remember not to get confused between the different processes of each institution.
*Universities usually use grade 11 marks to grant students provisional acceptance. If they meet the requirements based on those marks. The matric marks are used to confirm the students acceptance and these marks are the final deciding factor.
Here are some examples of which university requires which marks:
University of Cape Town: “Current learners at school should ensure that all examination results from Grade 11 until September of Grade 12 are submitted. Failure to submit these results may result in delays.” – UCT admission
University of Stellenbosch: Learners need to submit their Grade 11 marks to gain provisional acceptance. Matric marks, based on whether they meet the requirements, will be the determining factor of acceptance.
University of Pretoria: They require the results of the last grade you completed. This means that if you are currently busy with Grade 12, you will submit your Grade 11 marks. If you’ve matriculated, then you need to submit your matric results only.
University of KwaZulu-Natal: They require that you submit your Grade 11 results as well as any available Grade 12 results.
Colleges: While their requirements aren’t as high as university – you generally need a matric certificate. Some offer N1 – N3 courses, but many offer diplomas and degrees too. At some colleges you do not require a matric certificate for admission. They require the marks of your highest secondary grade passed. The minimum requirement is a Grade 9 qualification but this isn’t the case for all of the colleges.
Each university has different requirements, application processes and rules. Don’t forget to read up about them!
The Application Date
Different institutions have different application dates and this determines what marks you are able to send in. (You can’t possibly send in your matric results if you are still busy with your matric year.) Luckily universities understand this and are quite clear on what they expect from you. Another aspect to note is that although the university will have an application period, the programme or course you are applying for might have an earlier application closing date. These all change from institution to institution.
Make sure that you write down all of the application dates on your calendar and apply as soon as the application period is open. This will benefit you tremendously, especially if you made a mistake or have changed your mind; you’ll still have time to change things around.
Be warned that Grade 11 is the time to pull up your socks and start working on getting those marks up, up and (so that you can go) away… to university. Do what you must to ensure that you are meeting requirements; calculate your APS score using your first set of Grade 11 marks from March. If you aren’t meeting requirements here are a few things you can do:
- Hire a tutor
- Ask your teachers for extra help
- Ask your friends for a study session
- Put more time and effort into your subjects
When all is said and done, we are only human and things can go wrong even when we have tried our best. Many students opt to only send through best results out of their Grade 11 and 12 marks. This can help boost you’re appeal to universities. But first make sure that you have given them all of the documentation and information they have asked for.
Fun fact: If you attend a government school, the universities will automatically receive your matric results. If you attend an IEB or private school, you will need to physically hand in your final results at the beginning of the following year.
If you are planning on taking a gap year then the whole ‘Grade 11 or Grade 12 marks’ dilemma won’t affect you. Painstakingly put, you will already have your Grade 12 marks with you, on the ready, at any given time during your gap year. All you have to do is make sure you meet the deadline for the application period. Your matric marks will determine your acceptance, but if you don’t meet requirements – don’t stress. I have known many students who have taken a bridging course to remedy that.
Just some advice: ensure that your gap year increases your chances of getting into a university. Some faculties in universities (like medicine) consider your application to be of more value if you do volunteer, community or charity work. This increases your chances of being accepted.
If you were accepted into a university but then decide to take a gap year – you may be allowed to transfer your acceptance to the following year. This, however, may not be applicable for all universities or for all courses. Just contact your university to see if they can transfer your acceptance.
Which are best then…. Grade 11 or 12 marks?
Ultimately, whether you submit your Grade 11 or 12 marks is entirely dependent on what the university requires of you. If the university allows you to submit the marks you achieve throughout your matric year, you can use this as an opportunity to improve your marks if your Grade 11 results weren’t up to scratch.
By making sure that you have perfected the application process you stand less chance of being rejected due to an application error. You will also sleep soundly at night knowing that you have one less thing to worry about.
Now it’s time for your marks to do the talking.
Keep extra copies of all the documents you think you might need to send through when you apply, also have separate folders for different institutions so that you don’t end up getting your information mixed up.