Are you a Nigerian looking to study in South Africa? If you’re unsure about how to make that happen, this article will guide you through everything you need to know.
South Africa has some fantastic universities. Attending the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand or any of our other 26 universities can be an incredible way to begin your studies.
This article is a guide to the process of applying to a South African university and getting accepted into the country to study. Each university has its own requirements, fees and application process, so make sure you do your own research before applying.
As we’ve said, each university has its own entrance requirements. No matter where you apply, there are a few things you need to make sure of.
- Matric exemption. Every university will require that you have a senior certificate with a matriculation endorsement issued by the South African Certification Council. This means an achievement rating of 4 (50% – 59%) or better in four designated subjects in your Senior Certificate results.
- Minimum course requirements. Most universities will require more than an achievement rating of 4 in four designated subjects. These requirements depend on the course you are applying for. For example, to study a Bachelor of Science at the University of Cape Town would require at least a 70% in mathematics and a 60% in Physical science. You can find the requirements for each course in each university on their website.
National Benchmark Tests
Almost all South African universities require that learners write the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs). You can find out more about them in this video:
There are no National Benchmark Writing centres in Nigeria. To write your NBTs you will have to contact the NBT centre and organise a special writing site. You can find out more about that here.
Applying to a University
Nigerian students follow the same process as South African applicants. Some universities don’t accept hard-copy applications, so an online application would be your best bet. The online application is also far easier.
To apply online, you will complete the same online application process as a South African. Make sure that you tick off the international student section.
Generally, you will be required to submit the following documentation:
- Certified copy of your valid passport
- Proof of medical coverage
- Most recent school report
* Universities, like Stellenbosch, require Grade 11 marks, so check up on the required documents before starting your application.
The documents needed may vary from university to university so it’s important that you check which documents they require. If in doubt, rather have all copies certified.
After you have completed your application and submitted all of your documents, you will need to pay the application fee. You will be required to pay the international application fee. How? You can find the banking details to do an EFT on the university website. You will probably need to send proof of payment to the university. Make sure you do so ASAP.
Online applications are easier as you can do everything from the comfort of your home and it isn’t necessary to post any documents. As a Nigerian, this is a lot less hassle and makes your life easier.
Another note: Institutions in KwaZulu Natal use the Central Applications Office (CAO) as their medium for applications.
With a hardcopy application, you’ll need to do the following:
- Download the application form off the university website
- Complete the application form
- Pay your application fee online
- Post your completed application, proof of payment and certified documents to the university
You can find the postal address on their website. Rather use Registered Posting to ensure the safety of your application and to be certain that it arrives at the university within time.
Once you’ve completed your online application and submitted your documents, you will be required to pay the application fee. The easiest way to pay is using your guardian’s credit card. The universities will provide alternative methods, so choose the easiest for you. The amount you need to pay depends on the university, so check up on this before you pay.
With hardcopy applications, you will need to pay your application fee before posting your application and documents. You will need to send your proof of payment with these documents.
Getting your visa in order will be the most time-consuming part of your journey. It is very important that you do this correctly, and you may have to wait up to 8 weeks to get your visa. For these reasons, you need to make sure that you don’t leave your visa to the last minute.
As of May 2016, all visa applications must be submitted to VF Global Services Ltd. There are three visa application centres in Nigeria. These centres are open Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 15:00.
And now… wait.
Once you have applied to a university and submitted your visa application, your only job will be to wait. The waiting could take up to 8 weeks for your visa and a month for your university application. If you submit your visa or university application early, you are likely to get your acceptance letter and visa confirmation much sooner. As usual, it’s always better to start as early as possible.
There are many Nigerian students studying in South Africa. I met many of these students in my four years at Rhodes University. South African universities are very accommodating of African students from outside the country. Most of these countries have cultural societies and institutional support systems that help international students feel as comfortable as possible. If you want to find out more about what it would be like as a Nigerian student in a South African university, you can give the university a call. They should be more than happy to tell you anything you need to know.