Doors closed for SA university applications

2015-01-11 15:00

South African universities have received hundreds of thousands of applications from hopeful students – but their doors are now firmly closed for 2015.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) received more than 100 000 first-year applications. It could only accept 10% of these.

“We had 39 000 more applications for the 2015 university year than [last year],” said UJ registrar Kinta Burger.

In 2012 a woman trying to register her son at UJ was killed and 20 people were injured in a stampede. Since then, the university has not accepted walk-in applications.

It’s not just UJ that’s seen massive demand for a limited number of spaces. Wits University received more than 50 000 applications, although it can only accommodate a little over 6 000 first-year students.

In a statement, the university said the issue of space should lead to a broader discussion around the access to further education.

“It is crucial for the profile of Further Education and Training [FET] colleges to be raised as they play a significant role in allowing students options for further study. As places in universities are limited, it would be best for students to apply to more than one university,” Wits said in its statement.

Stellenbosch University (SU) had the same advice for matriculants. About 22 000 matriculants keen to study at Stellenbosch have submitted applications, but only 5 000 will make the final cut.

Neels Fourie, Stellenbosch’s deputy registrar, said the selection process was difficult, but was based primarily on academic merit.

“Also, all faculties have certain diversity targets to achieve and so the admissions process is managed accordingly,” he said.

He said the university would love to accommodate all those who wanted to study there, but stressed that it was not accepting late applications.

The University of Pretoria (UP) says late applicants should rather set their sights on 2016. Applications for next year open this March.

For the 2015 student intake, UP received more than 42 000 applications, but can only accommodate 10 250 new undergraduate students.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) was one of the few that offered hope to matriculants who missed the application deadline.

UKZN said pupils with excellent marks were encouraged to submit their application forms, along with a late application fee of R400 – though that deadline passed on Friday. The university had more than 90 000 initial applications for 8 400 available spots.

In the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) received 26 000 applications. It only had space for 5 850 first-year students.

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