Online Applications: What You Need to Know


While there are a few ways that you can apply to your tertiary institution of choice, online applications could save you time and energy. However, they can also be quite intimidating.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know before submitting your online application…


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Before you can Apply…

It’s important to do some research before you submit an application for tertiary education.

tertiary education

1)  Firstly, you need to know what it is that you want to study.

If you know what career you would like to go into, this could make it easier to decide on a tertiary course. But if you don’t, it is worth taking the time to find out which of the major courses at your selected institution might interest you. Do this by looking at university websites and specific course information pages.


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2) Another way to find out more about a course that you might like is to talk to people who are already working in the industry that you’re interested in.

Ask them questions like:

  • What did you study?
  • What courses do you think were the most valuable?
  • Which courses do you wish you had done to help you more in your current job?
  • What qualifications do you look for when hiring graduates?
  • What are the best and worst things about your job?

These questions will help you find out more about the qualifications necessary to do the job – which can help you make a course decision. But they can also help you find out if this is the kind of work that you will be interested in doing in the future.

3) Once you have established the course that you would like to apply for, you need to check that
you qualify.

This will usually require you to calculate your Admission Point Score (APS), and check that you meet the specific requirements listed for your chosen course. You can usually find out the course’s admission requirements on the tertiary education’s website.

Where to find online applications…

Most, if not all, tertiary institutions have the option for you to apply online. Usually the application is easy to find and a link will be provided on various pages relating to new students.

If your tertiary institution is based in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) region, you will need to apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO). The CAO website allows you to apply to any KZN institution from one online portal. This helps to cut out the confusion of having to find specific application pages.

While you’re completing the application…


Be sure to keep in mind that you will need to upload digital copies of all your important documents. This will require you to get all of your documents certified, and then you will have to scan them into individual PDF documents. Usually you can get access to a scanner at your local library. Otherwise, there are some mobile apps, like CamScanner, that act as scanners and can easily convert your documents into PDF format. Some documents that you will need include:

  • Online application form
  • ID document/passport
  • Matric certificate
  • Latest academic transcripts (this also applies if you are transferring from another tertiary institution)
  • National Benchmark Test (NBT) results


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You will also need to have a working email address because this allows your chosen institution to communicate with you. Make sure that you check your email often so that you don’t miss out on important information or dates!

Most institutions charge an application handling fee, and usually give you a deadline for your application fees. You can either pay this fee by EFT through your online banking profile or directly from the tellers at your bank.



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You have access to the tools that can help you build a great future for yourself. So, take the time to fill out those applications, take control of your future!

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. 

– Malcolm X

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