2022 Tertiary institution applications: What you should know

The process of applying for university or college admission can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is a bit of planning and some research before applying. Here’s more.

Keep your options open

Applying to a tertiary institution has become much more competitive. Just because you meet a school’s minimum entrance criteria doesn’t guarantee you an acceptance letter. Applying to multiple institutions increases your chances of acceptance.

Try to have options 1, 2, and 3 to make sure you increase your chances of acceptance, should your first choice turn you down.

Within your options, you might want to consider factors such the schools’ location, how much it costs to live there and what kind of environment it has. With the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also consider whether you’ll be learning online or in a school setting.

Be realistic and informed

It’s important to check the academic requirements carefully to figure out your chances of being accepted at the university or college. Although open days are something of the past, every university has a prospectus (mini book) that outlines the course names and marks required for you to be accepted. You can also email/call the university of your choice for more information on this process. 

Discover how you can apply

With the COVID-19 pandemic, most universities and colleges have adopted an online application system. You can apply directly through the website of these institutions and submit all the required documents. Most of these websites are zero rated, which means you can apply without using your data. Here are some university application links.

University of Pretoria

University of Johannesburg

Northwest University

University of the Free State

University of Venda



University of Limpopo


Nelson Mandela University

University of Cape Town

University of Kwazulu-Natal

Northern Cape University

Stellenbosch University

It’s important to do your research on the institution of your choice, to make sure that they offer the course you’re interested in. Be sure to check if they’re registered with the Department of Education and that it’s not a fraudulent organisation.

Pay attention to detail

It’s important to pay close attention and follow specific instructions when applying at a university, especially if you’re applying at multiple universities simultaneously. If your application form isn’t filled in correctly, your chances of being accepted become very low. Be careful not to miss the closing dates- if you apply when applications are closed, your application becomes invalid.

National benchmark test

The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) are assessments for first-year applicants wanting to go into higher education institutions. The purpose of this is to assess entry-level academic literacy and mathematics skills. Be sure to check if this is one of the requirements at the institution of your choice.

The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll receive feedback. Don’t forget to look out for a formal letter or email from the university accepting or declining your application (including in your junk and spam folders). If you don’t get accepted on your first try, try to remain positive and try again next year.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)