It is not the end of the world: What to do if you do not get accepted into university

There are alternatives to public university that can provide good qualification. Picture: Pixabay

There are alternatives to public university that can provide good qualification. Picture: Pixabay

Published Jun 25, 2024


During Matric, pupils often experience enormous stress and anxiety, not just from the pressure to perform well in tests and assessments, but also from the complications and uncertainties associated with applying for university placement.

Aside from the demanding and tiring application procedure from numerous universities and qualifications, many students are disappointed when they are not accepted and must determine what to do next.

“While this situation now facing thousands upon thousands of prospective students throughout South Africa feels like an intractable problem for them and their families, it is important to put the matter into perspective and, first of all, not take it personally or view it as a failure,” said Dr Linda Meyer, MD of IIE Rosebank College.

It’s difficult not to be able to tick this item off your to-do list, especially if you worked extremely hard and were not accepted when many of your classmates had already received offers.

However, see this as a momentary setback rather than a chronic impediment, said Meyer.

South Africa’s 26 public universities only take approximately 210,000 first-year students each year, which can cause major concern about what would happen if a future student's plans to attend a public institution do not go as planned.

Here are some alternatives to consider if you did not get accepted in any public university:

Technical and vocational training colleges

Vocational training programmes and technical colleges provide specific education in a variety of sectors including engineering, healthcare, computer technology, and the arts.

These institutions typically have more flexible entry requirements and offer actual, hands-on experience that can lead directly to employment.

Distance learning and online education

Distance learning and online education are becoming more popular and accessible.

These programmes let students to learn at their own speed and frequently at a lower cost than traditional universities. Many respected colleges provide approved online courses and degrees.

Bridging courses and foundation programmes

Bridging courses and foundation programmes are ideal for students who need to meet the direct entry requirements for university.

These programmes are intended to help students develop the skills and knowledge required to qualify for further courses.

Internships and learnerships

Internships and learnerships offer invaluable on-the-job training and experience.

These programmes allow students to earn while learning, obtaining practical skills and industry insights that can be extremely useful in the job market.

Private higher education institutions

The only important distinction between a registered and accredited Private Higher Education Institution (PHEIs) and a public university is that the former does not receive government funding.

PHEIs continue to be a valuable option to public university education, and their graduates are in high demand in the workforce. It is crucial, however, that you confirm your qualifications.

SAQA must register all qualifications in South Africa, and the provider must be on the DHET’s list of licenced providers. The Council of Higher Education serves as the responsible quality council for both public and private higher education providers.

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