Along with the BIG decision of what you want to study (which will determine what you will do for the rest of your life), you also have to decide where you will study. Universities, FETs and universities of technologies differ in many ways. Here are some things to consider when comparing the pros and cons of different education providers and deciding which campus is right for you.
Where am I
Campuses can be urban, suburban, in rural centers or simply rural. Each city or town has its own unique personality and activities on offer, so think about the differences in lifestyle, cost of living, transport and people that appeal to you the most. You might prefer the sun and coastal regions like Cape Town and Durban, or the hustle and bustle of big city life like Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The size of each campus has a large effect on the atmosphere, social life and facilities of each institution. Large institutions such as the University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch University have tens of thousands of students, while some smaller institutions have only a few dozen. Some campuses are spread over hundreds of m² while others are confined to a single central campus.
How difficult they are to enter
In general, universities, especially the best institutions in South Africa, are more difficult to get than other universities, universities of technology and FETs. If you’re concerned about meeting the admissions requirements of a particular course, it’s probably best to apply to a few places, including a campus that isn’t as competitive.
Facilities and services
What range of academic resources, student support services and leisure facilities are available? Big campuses have small-town conveniences: you can get everything from a haircut to a four-course meal. On some small campuses you can’t even have a coffee, but you can enjoy a more intimate atmosphere.
Who is there
There may or may not be a lot of mature, graduate, part-time, or overseas students. You can search the institution’s website for more information about their alumni. You will be pleasantly surprised by the number of famous people who have attended tertiary institutions!
Style and ethics
It’s hard to define, but no two campuses are the same. Some seem serious and academic, while in others the vibe is bohemian, political, sports, religious or all about having fun. So choose wisely because you will be spending a few years there to complete your selected programme, and you don’t want to be stuck in a place where you don’t feel welcome!