Things to do before you study further

Are you in high school or thinking about studying further next year? Go through this checklist before you sign up for an academic course.

Firstly you will need to decide if you are ready to commit to a study programme. Are you prepared for the financial burden, time and energy it will take to complete your chosen course? This step is especially important for students who are pursuing courses which are 3 years or longer.

If you don't know which career or field you wish to work in now is the time to decide. Research jobs that interest you and find out what kind of qualifications or experience you will need to enter that field. If your are still at school your research can be used as a guide when choosing subjects.

Some jobs require theoretical knowledge others focus more on practical training. Researching your career will help you determine where you need to complete your study programme. Will a private institution, university or TVET college best suit your learning needs? Compare courses and look at your career requirements and budget.

Go to open days, ask questions and gather information. Talking to guidance counsellors and professionals who are already in your prospective field could help you make the right choice. Do research online if possible and look at both university websites and independent sources.

Prepare for university costs. Besides tuition and accommodation expenses there are a lot of miscellaneous costs that crop up during the year. For example you may need additional funds for printing, internet access or stationary. Try and make a list of everything you will need and consider this additional expense before you apply.

If money is a problem look into your financial aid options. Does the university offer financial support? Would a student loan work for you? Are you eligible for government funding? Alternatively visit the Careers Portal to find the latest bursaries, scholarships and funding opportunities.

Once you have selected an institution of learning, familiarise yourself with their application deadlines and process. Most learning facilities accept both online and printed application forms these days.

Find out if you need to take any tests as part of your application process. Some courses are so limited that applicants may need to compete for their seat.

Finally, if your application is rejected don't give up. Keep looking for alternative places to study further and improve your career prospects.