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Making Informed University Choices for 2017 – A Step-by-Step Approach to Researching Universities

By in Education, Research, Policy on November 29, 2016

As a parent or postgraduate student it is important to remember that tertiary education is considered globally to be perhaps the most significant development phase in a young person’s life. Employers across the world consider a relevant university or tertiary qualification to be a key component of any job seeker’s CV. For these reasons, as well as the fact that graduates tend to be given greater career opportunities, earn higher incomes and excel in their professions, tertiary education should be non-negotiable for school-leavers with dreams of a bright and successful future.

Finding the Right Fit

Critical engagement is vital in selecting the right university for your child if you wish to attend their graduation ceremony within the anticipated timeframe. There are, however, a number of steps to be taken before considering a tertiary institution:

  1. The interests and aptitude of school-leavers should be the first consideration when deciding on the right qualification for your child. It is also important to remember that many job titles, as we now know them, may no longer exist in the near future. There will also be a number of new work opportunities may not exist yet.  Consequently, any qualification selected by a school leaver must be flexible enough to meet both the current and unknown future requirements of the ever-changing workplace.
  2. Consider whether your child is fully prepared to meet the rigorous demands of studying for an undergraduate degree and explore alternative or prepatory options to ensure that they are equipped. Monash South Africa, for example, offers a one year pathway Foundation Programme, which provides students with the tools they will need to succeed in education at a tertiary level. “This is a vital step in the university selection process, as unprepared students face an increased risk of not completing their studies and never going on to graduate”, says Professor Alwyn Louw, Academic President, Monash South Africa (MSA).
  3. Once these key questions have been answered, it is important to select a tertiary institution that is best aligned with the school-leaver’s long-term career goals. “After confirming the accreditation and registration details of both your selected university and qualification to establish their credibility, ensure that the selected programme is broad, appropriate and relevant to the chosen field”, says Professor Louw.It’s important to affirm that post-graduation, your child will have the ability to apply their knowledge beyond a particular field. Be sure to consider the scope of lifelong learning available in the form postgraduate qualifications that can further prepare graduates for the demands of the world of work. According to Professor Louw, “MSA’s Working Professionals programmes offer graduates in the workplace highly relevant courses and postgraduate degrees for those wishing to build on their skill levels and CVs in a way that does not compromise work and family time”.

    The Benefits of Private Higher Education

    Private tertiary institutions in South Africa undergo the very same accreditation process as public universities and so they should be given the same level of consideration by parents, school-leavers and working professionals looking to further their education.  Not only do they offer personal learning environments, ensuring individualised attention and support, but they are also known for high levels of engagement with industry.

    Professor Louw believes that, “The coursework at MSA is based very much on the needs and requirements of the industries we serve. This means that our graduates are fully prepared to engage in their chosen field of work when they secure their first job. Furthermore, private institutions are better equipped to respond faster to the specific needs of both students and industry”.

    The task of selecting the right tertiary institution or campus should be approached by engaging at high levels not only with the institution of your choice, but also with industry and your greater community. Critical engagement is key to making the correct decision and securing an appropriate and relevant qualification from a highly regarded institution, according to Professor Louw.