Grade Nines preparing to enter their final phase of schooling next year will in coming months be expected to select the subjects that will see them through to matric. But that decision is too important to shelve away until the time comes, an expert says, and it should already be top of mind for learners who want to give themselves the best chance for success in Grade 12 and beyond.
Already know what you want to study? Then study up on entrance requirements
If you are clear about what you want to do, check out the websites of both public and private higher education institutions to verify their requirements, and let that guide your subject choices. Very importantly, look at a range of different institutions and courses within your field to allow yourself some choice and a Plan B after matric.
Don't know? Then leave as many options available as possible
Those who are not yet sure about their future direction should choose subject combinations that will leave them with options and room to manoeuvre later, including Maths and Science. Learners who struggle with precisely these subjects, should consider keeping only one of them to focus their efforts. And Maths Literacy should only be considered as a last resort, Payne says.
Consider what makes you happy
As you spend time at your desk every day, going from class to class, and completing your homework, be alert to which subjects make you come alive a little more than others. Determine which subjects mirror your interests and career dreams, and include them. And carefully research how your favourite subjects manifest in the working world, as you may potentially have more - and more interesting - options than you are currently aware of.
Consider what you are good at
Choose at least two subjects in which you can do really well. Admission to higher education is performance-based, so it makes sense to do very well in some subjects rather than badly in all of them because you chose only gateway subjects.
Don't sell yourself short
You may think you won’t stand a chance of getting good sufficient grades to enter higher education post matric. But remember that the South African National Senior Certificate has four levels of pass. While one of them is the degree pass, you could also qualify for diploma or higher certificate study. These two qualifications, which are normally vocationally or career-focused, could give you access straight to the world of work and even degree study if you wanted to do it later. There are also options in public and private FET Colleges, or you may even be entrepreneurial and want to start your own business.