Should I study at a university?

While universities do hold a degree of prestige in the marketplace not everyone is guaranteed to benefit from these institutions.

A university is a higher learning institution that is authorized to offer academic programmes and award degrees to successful students. This includes both undergraduate courses and the more extensive master's and doctorate qualifications.

These institutions provide professional platforms for teaching and research to be conducted.

Most universities will offer learning programmes in the fields of Science, Engineering, Commerce, Humanities, Law and Health Sciences. Some will provide additional learning opportunities in fields like Design or Education.

In university a collection of subjects or field of study is classified into divisions known as 'faculties'.

While colleges and technical learning institutions focus on practical training, university programmes are more academic in nature, so courses are largely theory-based.

The minimum requirement to enter an undergraduate degree programme at a university is a National Senior Certificate (NSC) as certified by Umalusi with admission to Bachelor's degree studies.

This means that you must obtain a mark of at least 4, which translates to 50%, in each of the four school subjects from the list of university admission subjects.

University programmes can be very demanding and as a result many of the top institutions witness high drop rates, especially of first year students.

For this reason it is important to research prospective courses and speak to guidance counselors before selecting a course.

Your subject choice and course type will also help you determine where you should study and whether a university education is right for you.

One of the benefits of university study is that employers are often more likely to select an applicant with a university degree. However this generally applies to jobs where practical work experience is not essential.

There are both benefits and disadvantages to studying at a university but only you can decide whether it is the right step for your career.

To find out more about the programmes offered at these top universities click on the name below

University of Cape Town

University of Witwatersrand

University of South Africa (Unisa)

University of Kwazulu-Natal

University of Stellenbosch

Rhodes University

University of Johannesburg

University of the Western Cape

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

North West University

By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing

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