What to Study after Matric

What to Study

What to Study after Matric

Study after school whether towards a degree, diploma, certificate or learnership has major benefits including, better prospects for employment, higher remuneration and higher promotion over time. Young people who have studied after school stand more chance of getting a job than those who do not. In addition to better prospects for employment young people who have studied earn higher wages and stand a better chance of getting promoted sooner and higher.

 The two pivotal factors for students choosing where and what to study are quality of education and cost of study. In this article we look at both of these factors under the following headings:    

- Where to study?

- What to study (based on my subjects and marks)?

- Cost of study? (Including costs associated with transport and accommodation).

 Where to study?


A university is normally associated with an academic education offering different types of bachelor degrees. A bachelor degree, also known as a Baccalaureate Degree, is a first degree or undergraduate degree. A degree usually takes three years complete. Whilst there are many different degrees available, most careers can be followed via nine common fields of study:  

                 Arts (BA)

                Commerce (BCom)

                Sciences (BSc)

                Education BEd

                Engineering (BEng)

                Building Science (including Architecture)



                Law (LLB)

Requirements for degree studies?

The minimum entry requirement for a degree programme is a National Senior Certificate (NSC) with an achievement rating of 4 (Adequate achievement, 50-59%) in four subjects (recognised NSC20–credit subjects). Over and above this requirement each university sets its own minimum entry requirements per faculty. Prospective students are admitted on a competitive basis, based on their admission points score (APS).

A number of universities in South Africa require that you also do the National Benchmark Test (NBT’s) to assess your academic readiness for university. The test does not replace or duplicate your National Senior Certificate results. Universities use the NBT’s to help interpret your National Senior Certificate results and help them to make decisions about your access to university. This means that your NBT results, in combination with your NSC results, are used to determine whether you are ready for academic study. For more information download the NBT school brochure.

Quality of Education

 The quality of South African universities is high when benchmarked internationally. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rank the top 11 universities in South Africa and include five South African universities in its list of over 800 universities worldwide as follows:

 University of Cape Town (ranked 171)

Stellenbosch University (ranked 302)

University of the Witwatersrand (ranked 331)

University of Pretoria (ranked between 501 - 550)

University of KwaZulu-Natal (ranked between 551 - 600)

University of Johannesburg

Rhodes University

University of the Western Cape

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

University of the Freestate

North West University (ranked 701)

Source: www.topuniversities.com

For a full list of universities and comprehensive institutions in South Africa visit, http://www.gostudy.net/institutions.

For more information of closing dates to apply to university read, University Closing Dates.  

Universities of Technology

Whereas a university study is often associated with academic programmes, a university of technology is associated with a more practical emphasis. Thenatureofthenationaldiplomaisthatstudents are required to do workplace training related to their field of study. The advantage of this is that graduates have some work related experience and knowledge which isimmediately relevant to the workplace.

Universities of Technology offer degree, diploma and certificate programmes under the following general fields of study:


Sciences (biological,chemicalandphysicalsciences)




Teacher education.

A national diploma programme takes three years to complete at undergraduate level. The minimum entry requirement is a NSC with an achievement rating of 3 (moderate achievement, 40-49%), in four recognised NSC 20–credit subjects.

 For a list of private colleges available in South Africa visit, http://www.gostudy.net/institutions

 TVET Colleges

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET’s) previously known as FET colleges offer both academic and hands-on skills-based programmes designed in cooperation with industry. The programmes can be divided into four main sections:

National Certificate Vocational NC(V) programmes (L1-L3) equivalent to the NSC (matric). 

National Certificate and Diploma programmes (L4 - L6) which start after the matric equivalent certificate.

Artisan and apprenticeship programmes. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration  from between 18 months and 4years. At the end of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification. Qualified artisans such as boilermakers, toolmakers, electromechanicians, millwrights, electricians and others are in high demand. Read more, Could you be an Artisan?
Skills programme which are short in duration and practical.

The minimum entry requirement to enter a TVET College is a Grade 9 Certificate. TVET's are conveniently situated all over the country including in rural areas. TVET's offer the most affordable fees in the country and loan finance and bursaries are available through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for learners who meet the criteria.

 For a list of private colleges available in South Africa visit, http://www.gostudy.net/institutions

Private colleges

Private colleges offer a variety of degree, diploma and certificate programmes that vary considerably in offerings, quality and price. This makes it difficult to choose which private college  to go to but there are a number of well-known private college brands.

It is not uncommon for private institutions to be more expensive than public institutions. The reason for this is that public education institutions get money from government whilst private education institutions do not.

Ensure that the qualification for which you register is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority(SAQA) or by the  Council on Higher Education (CHE). Phone (012) 392 9100 or visit www.che.org.za

 For a list of private colleges available in South Africa visit, http://www.gostudy.net/institutions

Distance Education

Distance education is offered by a number of universities and colleges providing education on various media platforms including video, internet, or CD. The most well-known distance education institution in South Africa and Africa is the University of South Africa (UNISA). In most cases, exams are written at exam centres. Because distance study requires a lot of self- motivation there is often a high drop-out rate.

It is important to apply to more than one institution so that you have a fall back if you are not accepted at the first institution. It is acceptable to apply to two or three institutions at the same time. Apply early! It is important to ensure that the study institution you are applying to is accredited with the Council for Higher Education and that the qualification you intend to enroll for is registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Avoid unscrupulous institutions who are not registered.

Due to the high costs of study and transport, more and more students are considering distance learning which requires no commuting and therefore saves you time and money. You can study from anywhere in the world and pursue your choice of distance education course studies. Unfortunately, distance learning has a number of drawbacks associated mainly with the effects of social isolation - more often than not, you study alone and distance learning students often times feel isolated and miss the social interaction that accompanies the traditional classroom setting on campus.

You do not get the stimulation of direct interaction with fellow students. You do not always get to engage in verbal interaction with fellow students and professors, missing the opportunity to work on oral communication skills. This leads to a high drop-out rate of students.

Cost of study?

The most important rule of thumb when choosing where to study is: what’s convenient and what’s affordable? It does not help to study far from home if you can’t afford the accommodation and transport costs. In difficult economic times find cost-effective ways to study. Students can apply for financial aid through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Students should contact the Financial Aid office at the institution to which they are applying for more information.

For information on bursaries visit, www.gostudy.net/bursaries

Getting some guidance guidance

Making a career decision is a bit like starting a journey. At first it may be quite exciting because there are so many possibilities to choose from. However, it may also be quite scary not knowing where to start and which path to take because there are so many option available to choose from. If you need some career guidance you should take our assessment. It’s free of charge and will help you to identify a field of interest, www.gostudy.net/questionnaire .  In addition you may want to consider getting some professional advice.