This week on Khetha

Radio Stations: SABC Radio Stations

Topic: How to apply to University and University of Technology
Original Script Written by: Dipuo Tseke
Programme Date: 11-14 March 2019
Week: 10
Target Audience: Applicants and the general public

Script Notes:

• The programme is entitled ‘How to apply to University and University of Technology.

• This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10 PBS radio stations.

• The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.

• The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The Objectives of this programme are to:

  1. To encourage learners to apply on time for opportunities at university and university of technology.
  2. To urge learners and prospective students to start enquiring about application closing dates and processes (procedures).
  3. To communicate the importance of complying with the admission requirements of the applications process.
  4. To explain Admission Point Score (APS).

The entire programme runs for 30 minutes.

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education.’

Presenter: Most of our learners do not apply early, sometimes it is because their middle of the year results are not pleasing and they are waiting for their year-end results. What advise can you give to those learners?

Guest: Do not wait to apply. Use your grade 11 final exam results to apply to university before the final closing date. You will however need to submit your grade 12 June/July or September results in order to gain provisional admission and the final decision is based on the final grade 12 exam results. You will receive a letter from the university stating that you are provisionally accepted. You stand a better chance of being accepted once you have submitted your final matric marks in time and meet the entry requirements of the course and for admission into the institution of your choice. If you have not been accepted you will also receive a letter confirming that you have not been accepted. Some courses require students to complete a portfolio, questionnaire or essay, the institution usually communicates this on time. Some university faculties may offer you conditional acceptance on the basis of your Grade 11 report. No offer can be confirmed until your matric results are received.

Presenter: What are the requirements to study at university and university of technology?

Guest: Requirements vary depending on the choice of qualification. Some qualifications or institutions require learners to write an assessment test which will determine whether or not they will be admitted into the programme. It is important to research the programmes that you would like to enrol for so that you know whether you qualify or not. This information can be found in the institution’s prospectus where all the general requirements are contained.  

Presenter: How do I apply and where can our learners get the application forms?

Guest: *********, You are required to complete the standard application form for applicants who wish to study at a university of their choice. There is usually a non-refundable application fee and proof of payment must be attached when returning the forms. Applications for undergraduate courses mostly close in August. Some institutions still accept late applications after the initial closing date but a higher application fee may be required. There is no guarantee that you will be accepted after the closing date as preference is given to applicants who submit their applications before the official closing date. All programmes only allow a limited number of students so the sooner you apply the better your chances are.

Remember that the documents that you attach are certified.

There are a number of ways in which one can get the application forms:

  1. You can download a PDF of the form that you can print at home from the institution’s website.
  2. Collect a form at the registration and applications office at the various campuses.
  3. Request that an application form to be mailed to you by writing a letter to the institutions Registrar
  4. You can call our helpline and one of our advisors will assist you in obtaining a form and also help you in filling it out.

Presenter: What advise can you give to the listeners about filling in application forms for studies at university and university of technology?

Guest: Firstly, I would like to clarify that there are mainly two methods of applications to all institutions, namely: manual (hardcopy) and online application. The online application also grants the applicant an opportunity to personally trace their application or even rectify errors if need be. However the manual application is still effective for some institutions and learners that do not have access to apply online.

There are very crucial aspects that an applicant has to consider for both methods of application. You will need to check the following:

  • Closing dates: The closing date of the application according to the course you are applying for.
  • Important documents: Attach certified copies of relevant documents required. When using the online application, it is important to upload the relevant documents.
  • Application fee: This is the amount an applicant has to pay in order for the application to be processed (this might not be applicable for online application because in some institutions the online application is free). The application fee is non-refundable; applicants need to read through and understand the terms and requirements of each application they make.
  • Check list: Go through a check list to ensure that you have followed correct instructions before submitting your application.

Ensure that the information provided in the application form is complete and accurate. Applicants using the manual application method must ensure that the correct postal address of the institution is filled in. Applicants also need to check and ensure that they meet the minimum admission requirements to the programmes they apply for as stipulated by the institution.

Remember that if you intend to apply for admission at an institution in KwaZulu-Natal, then you have to apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO). You can apply online or manually when applying through the CAO.

Presenter: You mentioned that institutions base their decision on grade 11 or grade 12 results as attached by the leaner. Are there any other tests that learners need to write?

Guest: Yes, the National Benchmark Test (NBT). The NBT is an assessment/test that assesses academic readiness of first year university students. In addition to academic results; it assesses the ability to use acquired knowledge that could impact on success of first year university students. NBT scores are the results that the applicant obtains from the National Benchmark Test(s). These tests are administered at different sites across South Africa on selected ‘national’ test dates. The university prescribes whether a learner should or should not write the test and which test to write. Therefore the learner should request more information from the institution regarding the test(s) to be written. In addition to the NBT; some universities have additional assessments such as interviews for admission to specific programmes.

Presenter: Please tell us more about the National Benchmark Test.

Guest: The NBT helps higher education institutions to interpret school leaving results, such as those of the National Senior Certificate (NSC). The test results support, but don’t replace or duplicate, NSC results. Some South African higher education institutions use the NBTs for admission and others use them to determine whether you will need extra academic support during your studies. The NBT also assists with the development of curricula. You should establish whether or not you are required to write the tests.

The faculty of your choice will determine which test/s you must write and the deadlines for receiving your results.

You can expect the following from the NBT:

  • There are two tests: Academic Literacy, Quantitative Literacy (which are combined: AQL), are written in a three-hour afternoon session and Mathematics (MAT) is written in a three-hour afternoon session. Both are administered under standardised testing conditions at sites across South Africa on designated ‘national’ test dates.
  • For more information about the focus of the tests, go to www.nbt.ac.za ;
  • Quantitative Literacy is similar to Mathematical Literacy;
  • Students with disabilities are accommodated. The AQL test has also been translated into Braille;
  • Each test requires you to apply prior learning - what you know and are able to do - to materials that reflect expectations for first-year students in university programmes;
  • The tests are confidential, so there are no past papers and no special study materials to prepare for the tests.

You should write when you feel ready, but make sure that you write in time to meet all deadlines and requirements for the programme(s) for which you are applying. You are allowed to write the NBT a second time but, prior to writing, you will need to confirm with your faculty that a second score will be accepted.

Presenter: How does a learner register to write the NBT?

Guest: You need to register online. You will need the following to register:

  • Your official ID book (if you are not a South African citizen, then you will need your passport)
  • City and site where you want to write
  • NBT requirements from the institutions where you plan to apply
  • Date when you want to write (allow 4 weeks to receive results)
  • Pen and paper to record your username and EasyPay number

Presenter: So where and when can a learner write the NBT?

Guest: There are dedicated centres in all nine provinces. It is important that learners check the centre that is close to them. If a learner cannot find a venue close to where they live, he/she may register as a remote writer/student. They can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register as a remote writer. Registration for all NBT sessions opens 1 April 2019.

Presenter: Thank you for enlightening us. When applying, a learner may be instructed by an institution to calculate their Admission Point Score (APS). Can you explain to us what the APS is and how one calculates it?

Guest: The APS system was developed to assist prospective students to check if they meet the minimum qualification entry requirements before they apply for a specific qualification. The result report only gives an outcome of the minimum qualification entry requirements. This result does not imply that a prospective student has automatically been admitted to the course and it is important to know that each course has its own specific admission requirements.

The way to calculate the APS is by adding all the levels that you passed on your school report. For example if one has obtained the following results, the calculation will be as follows:

  • English - Level 5
  • Setswana - Level 5
  • Physical Science - Level 4
  • Life Sciences - Level 5
  • Mathematic - Level 4
  • Life Orientation - Level 6
  • Business Studies - Level 4

Calculation of levels: 5+5+4+5+4+4=27 APS without LO.

It is however important to note that different institutions have their way of calculating APS; (for instance some universities may include LO for specific programmes) therefore it is essential to confirm with the specific institution. Normally this information is available in the universities’ prospectus and websites.

Presenter: I would like us to talk about the required results; what subject levels are needed to meet the requirements at university or university of technology?

Guest: Each institution has its own requirements for the programmes that they offer. Applicants need to be aware that institutions indicate only the minimum admission requirements. Therefore, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the programme. As indicated earlier; the competition is high and requirements are strict and firm. This means that there might not be an extended programme or bridging course that a learner can do, in the case where the learner does not meet the requirements. However the learner can enquire with the institution about alternative routes.

Presenter: Let’s say that a learner has followed all the steps for applying and is accepted at a university or university of technology, what then, would you say are the attributes/traits a student needs to make it through university or university of technology?

Guest: Attributes/traits such as the following could help the student:

  1. Self-knowledge- one of the most important criteria for succeeding in life is to know yourself. If you know yourself, you won’t succumb to peer-pressure because you understand who you are and you are comfortable with your thoughts, strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and emotions. For example if someone invites you to an all-night party you won’t go because it is not something that goes with the perception that you have of yourself.
  1. Confidence- you would be confident enough to share your life experiences with other people and create healthy boundaries. You will form good relationships and adapt to the new environment. For example it is hard to make friends when you are not sure about yourself or you always doubt yourself so believe in yourself and it will be felt by those around you.

  1. Sense of responsibility-remember why you are there and what you need to do. Take responsibility for your actions, For example, yes you are allowed to socialize but be careful not to succumb to peer-pressure e.g. using drugs and things that could lend you in trouble or get you excluded.

  1. Flexibility- this is the ability to adapt to different situations. For example you might need to prepare for a class of one module and for a class test for another module so make sure you are up for it.

Presenter: This was so interesting, any words of encouragement to our prospective applicants?

Guest: If you are in Grade 12 use your Grade 11 results to apply and make follow ups with the universities even after you have applied. Make sure you have all the information you need and if in doubt ask the relevant people at the university. Try to apply to as many universities as possible; at least three universities if not more.

At times learners delay to apply on time because they have not yet decided on the career paths they want to follow. I advise such leaners to contact the Career Development Services for career advice and other related matters. CDS has professionally trained advisors that can assist learners make informed decisions regarding their career and educational matters. So do not hesitate to make use of the services.

Presenter: I am certain that most of them really enjoyed the show and would need further advice on the tips discussed. Where can our listeners get more information?

Guest: It is a pleasure and for more information the listener can reach us through

  1. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  2. Our careers portal at
  3. Visit our website at
  4. Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at http://iono.fm/p/230

Closing Billboard “This programme was brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training”.

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