With 10 matric distinctions under his belt from 2011, Francois Kassier, 19, “took a chance” by using 2012 as a gap year.

The Pietermaritzburg boy, who completed matric at Hilton College, had ambitions of studying at Yale University in the US.

Two weeks ago, Kassier was accepted to study general engineering at the prestigious university.

His father Ruben, said he was lost for words when they received the news.

On Thursday last week, the family received further good news that Kassier had been granted a full scholarship to study at the university.

“My wife and I were so proud of him. It is a long and anxious process before they (Yale) even consider you. The students have to write various tests and do back-to-back gruelling interviews, but he managed and I am grateful that he has been accepted,” his father said.

Kassier said he had applied to Yale two years ago and had taken a gap year this year.

“I took a chance by waiting to see if I would be accepted at Yale. The South African universities I applied to (Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town) graciously granted me a delay on my acceptance, so if I did not qualify for Yale I would be able to study at one of the two next year,” he said.

Hilton College spokesman Paul Guthrie said Kassier was a quiet, hard working and intelligent pupil.


Yale accepts 110 international students a year.

“Since I will be studying with students from different backgrounds and cultures, I expect this will be similar to South Africa, as we live in a diverse country with many cultures,” he said. - The Mercury