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Researching study options

Advice from UCT Careers Service


Keep in mind that most institutions close their applications the year before so you need to start researching your study options in Grade 11 and early in Grade 12. Research is important! Rushing into a choice without the correct information, or studying something you don’t really want to do, can lead to disappointment and a lack of motivation.


  • Write to as many institutions as you can to request their prospectus. You could also find this information on the institution’s website.
  • Make an appointment with the admissions office or the student recruitment centre to discuss any content in the prospectus you don’t understand. It’s also a good idea to chat to your school guidance counsellor if your school has one.
  • If you are interested in a particular degree, diploma or certificate course, find out what subjects or modules it contains. If this is not in the prospectus or on the institution’s website, contact them for more information.
  • Make sure you attend Open Days. Do some reading beforehand and use the day to ask questions and clarify your options.
  • Ask for the course outlines for the subjects you are looking at. Many applicants make wrong assumptions abut what subjects are about. Consult the handbooks of the institutions and look at the course descriptions.
  • Speak to friends and relatives that are studying at the institutions you are considering. Ask to see their textbooks and course notes.

Find more resources on the UCT Careers Service