It’s every Matric student’s greatest fear – what if I don’t get accepted anywhere? What if next year all of my friends are at university, and I get left behind?

Don’t worry, we will make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Let’s show you how.

Grouping your Universities

You should apply to universities in 3 groups:

  1. Aspirational: this is where you reach for the stars, and apply to the universities that are really difficult to get into. For most South African students these universities will be UCT and WITS, or maybe some universities abroad.
  2. Attainable: these are your safe options – the ones you think you can probably get into. Their requirements should be slightly lower than for UCT and WITS, so that you are more likely to get in.
  3. Fallback: these are where you apply in case your marks are lower than you expected them to be. These should be universities with the lowest entrance requirements that you can find.

Choosing your courses

Most universities will let you pick at least two options for what to study. Many people think that the best thing you can do is apply for things like actuarial science, medicine and law.

Do not do this. I repeat. Don’t do it.

Your main goal is to get into university. Once you are in university and doing well, it’s quite easy to switch courses.

This means that when you apply, you should always make your first choice something with quite low requirements (often this will be a general Bachelor of Social Science or a general Bachelor of Science). Your second and third choices can have higher requirements, but always make sure your first choice is the easiest to get into.

This way you can at least be sure that you will get into university, and you can always change your application later if you get high enough marks.

Okay great, but how do I actually do this??

Here is a guideline for what universities fall into what categories. Use this to choose where to apply.

Most difficult to get into



Sefako Makgato Health Sciences University

Apply to at least one university here


Quite difficult to get into

Rhodes University

University of Pretoria

University of Johannesburg

Stellenbosch University

Nelson Mandela University

University of KwaZulu Natal

Apply to 3 or 4 universities here


A bit less difficult to get into

University of the Western Cape

University of Mpumalanga

University of Fort Hare

University of the North West


University of Limpopo *

*note that this university offers both degrees and diplomas, so if you are worried that you may not achieve a Bachelor’s Pass, you should consider applying for some diplomas here as well as for degrees at other universities

Apply to 3 or 4 universities here



It is important to apply to at least one TVET in case you do not get a Bachelor’s Pass.

Some TVETs you can consider applying to are:

College of Cape Town

False Bay College

Central Johannesburg TVET College

Ekurhuleni West TVET College

Or see this list of all TVET Colleges in South Africa to find a TVET close to you.

Apply to at least one TVET

Ummm, that was a lot…

We know. But you can use this PDF or word document to manage all your applications.

Save it or print it out, and add the universities and courses you are planning to apply to. That way you can make sure you have applied to all your aspirational, attainable and fallback options.

Good luck! We know you got this.

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About the author : Dacod Magagula

Co-founder, CEO - FoondaMate