Grade 11 is a “limboland”, you’re there but NOT quite there, if you know what I mean. This article will (hopefully) help you gather your thoughts, turn your dreams into solid goals with concrete action to back it up and get you to where you want to be.
The overall statistics in South Africa for tertiary education show that 41% of people who start at a Higher Education Centre drop out, according to research published in 2013 by the Centre for Higher Education.
Horrifying! Especially when you think of the financial consequences for those students (and parents), and of course the general consequences to our economy, with an under-educated adult population.
So how do you beat these odds?
Here’s our plan, which will help get you on the road to success:
1. OPEN DAYS
Early in Grade 11, you should be attending as many of the Tertiary Open Days as you can. Have a look on our website early on in the year as EduConnect has it all down for you!
Making a decision on which University to attend is not an easy one and should not be taken lightly.
Whether you’re applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate course, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research before you decide on which University will suit you best. The most effective way to do this is in person at one of the university’s Open Days.
You get information on courses and facilities and you get an idea of the local area. You also get opportunities to speak to current students, meet prospective students, pick up on the vibe of the institution and whether or not it suits you.
Get a taxi, do what it takes, but definitely go to the Open Days.
Another great thing to do if you can afford to, is to get your parents to take you on a road trip, if you are thinking of studying in a different province.
2. GUIDANCE COUNSELLING
Your school should provide you with basic guidance counselling. Guidance counselling is there to assist learners (and parents) in ensuring that the necessary support and resources are provided with practical and up-to-date career development information. The number of choices available, the constant changing environment of the workplace, and the high unemployment rate in South Africa brings forth the need for the most up to date and relevant advice from professionals to give learners the best chance at success.
The head of Wits Guidance Counseling, Raj Naran, gives great advice on the role of career guidance and job shadowing.
3. JOB SHADOWING
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, you should be calling up companies (not your mom or dad!) and organise job shadowing placements.
We cannot emphasize the importance of job shadowing enough. Just a couple of days will give you an idea of whether this is for you or not.
EduConnect will talk you through this process in the next point.
FYI: If you have the slightest interest in pursuing a degree in Engineering, we suggest you go to the Engineering weeks that most universities have.
Don’t feel lost if you can’t find anything. If job shadowing isn’t working out, check out this option.
4. EDUCONNECT IT
Student experiences are among the best way to provide insight. If you still do not know which direction you want to go, we suggest you read through our section where you’ll find awesome articles written by young graduates or students on their chosen courses. They are real, practical and tell it as it is – NO mumbo jumbo in these articles.
They will give you some great ideas and help you to spy in on other people’s motivations to get your own juices flowing.
Then we have a service called EduMatch! It is super simple, super useful and yes, you should have a happy, happy face!
Here’s how it works:
5. ADMISSION POINT SCORE (APS)
Once you have settled on what you want to study, its time for the concrete work. At most institutions you’ll be assessed according to your admission point score (APS) upon applying. This means that your matric marks (prelim and final marks) will be assessed according to the specific course requirements at the institution. In turn, your matric percentages of your top six subjects will be converted with a point system. Of course, APS score requirements differ from institution to institution so the best idea would be to check with the institution you are applying to.
Your APS score is important for your acceptance and institutions use this point system to assess your marks. It’s especially important to know your APS score for the institutions you are applying to, so that you know whether or not you meet the minimum requirements.
Alternatively if you check your APS score in grade 11 or in the beginning of your matric year you’ll also know what you can improve on for a specific course so that you do meet the minimum requirements. Essentially in the end YOU are responsible for your road to success. Make it happen!
If you’re interested in finding out what your APS score needs to be to apply to a certain course, have a look at our student experience articles here. Most of our articles are written by graduates about their qualification.
What is my APS with my existing marks?
Head on over to EduConnect advisor and check out your options. Alternatively you can have a look at the various institutions across SA and check out the APS requirements for each institution. Be real, and don’t bank on your marks being better.
If you do not have enough points, write all your subjects down and figure out what you can actually bring up or improve, with some extra work.
One thing to remember: You really DO need your final Grade 11 marks to apply in Grade 12.
Take a look at our Application pages (University and University of Technology) so that you know in advance when they open in your Grade 12 year. “The early bird catches the worm” could never be truer!
You should be applying at a minimum of three institutions to ensure your chances of getting in somewhere.
There are costs to apply, so it may be a good idea to figure out where you think you will be applying to next year. Be prepared and get the approximate costs off our application articles (of course the costs will go up each year, so check that).
Lastly, tell your parents. Don’t surprise them about costs and applications in Matric.
We see matrics all over the country who apply early but do NOT hear back as they have not paid their application fees. So again, pay your application fee!
Parents are under financial pressure when their children are in matric because of a million additional costs, such as matric dances, matric jackets, driving lessons… do I have to continue?
Don’t let the application fees take a back seat. If you have to put R50 a month aside in Grade 11 to ensure you have the funds to apply in Grade 12, then plan and do it! It’s your future, not your parents’!
Now how many weeks do you have left before final grade 11 exams? Get studying! Click here for the best advice. Read, do extra Maths and Science worksheets. Research published in the June 2005 issue of Linguistics and Education, an international research journal, shows that study groups are the most effective way to learn. If your friends are not motivated in the study group, then move on. If you struggle with group work, we have some tips for you.
As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future!”
Good luck and see you on campus!
Grade 11 may seem like an uphill battle but it is part of the journey that will lead to the rest of your life. How exciting is that? Follow our road map and the trip is sure to be successful.