Applying for College: What you Need to Know

It’s that time of the year again ! Matric students across the country are starting the journey of Applying for Colleges, here’s What you Need to Know. We cover everything from location, academics and affordability!

As the year comes to a close, matric students across the country are gearing up to write their finals and apply for college. Choosing a college gives you the opportunity to have a say in your learning. With a massive pool of places to choose from here are some guidelines to make sure you make the right choice. Applying for College can be daunting, so here’s What you Need to Know. 

What you Need to Know Before Applying for College

Before sending out your college applications, there are a few things you should consider. Applying for College is not a popularity contest. Have a look at some of the things listed below to make a more informed decision. 


As much as college is also a social experience, your priority is to pursue higher education. Make sure that the places you’re applying to have good academic programs and offer courses that interest you. 


Education does not have to break the bank. First identify who will be paying for your studies. There are many institutions that offer affordable education. Look into the financial perks on offer and whether or not you’ll be able to get financial aid. 

Location, Location

Will your college of choice require you to move away from home? If it does, this will impact your finances as you’ll have to spend money on relocating and housing. A cheaper option is to identify colleges around you or look into distance learning


Do you do better in small classrooms or are big lecture halls more appealing to you? The size of an institution will influence your learning, so it’s important that you identify what your preferred learning environment is. 

Campus Housing

If you have to reallocate, research whether the campus offers you student accommodation. If they don’t you’ll have to make other arrangements, which could impact your pockets. 

Campus Life

Are you a socialite who is going to attend rugby matches on Friday nights or is a night in more your cup of tea? Some colleges offer extra mural activities like cheerleading, choir and poetry nights. 

If you are a student with a disability you might also want to consider how inclusive and accommodating your choice of college will be to your set of needs.  

Three women researching on their laptop, "Applying for College: What you Need to Know".

What Things Look Best on College Applications?

All colleges are different, so when applying for college your checklist might have to vary depending on this. But, some general things that look impressive on college applications are:

  • Leadership qualities: if you served as a prefect or RCL member you should definitely highlight this. 
  • Extra Mural Activities: Did you take part in the Eisteddfod? Mention this, it shows you’re ambitious and hardworking. 
  • Academic Performance: Doing well in school is cool and will influence your study options greatly. Study hard because this is the biggest factor on your college application.

College Requirements

For most colleges your matric results are important for admission. Depending on what direction you’re trying to go into, your matric marks will greatly influence this. 

Bachelor’s Pass – This result will give you entry to a University and to complete a Bachelor’s degree. 

Diploma Pass – You’ll be able to study towards a Diploma or complete a bridging course at University. 

Certificate Course – This allows you to study towards a Higher Certificate. You need 40% in your home language, two subjects above 40% and four subjects above 30%

Open Access Open Access colleges offer courses to students without matric and are less strict with their entry requirements

If you are unhappy with your matric results or need to complete your matric, you can have a look at our adult matric and matric upgrade options. 

What do Colleges Look at When Accepting Students?

When colleges look at your application, they’re hoping to find students who will succeed in their studies and beyond. They use your academic history, school involvement and recommendations to make this judgement. Here, at Skills Academy, our process is a little different. We look for students who are eager to learn and go the extra mile to ensure their success. 

A young man sitting at his desk working through his coursework. When Applying for College your matric results are important, so study hard.

What you Need to Do When Applying for College

The first step to applying for college is to start early. Give yourself enough time to get a clear idea of what your study goals are and which college will best assist in these.  

Research Early 

When researching, remember to keep in mind some of the things we mentioned above. Consider academic programs, location and affordability. Once you have this information down, you can make a list of colleges that seem suitable. 

Visit Colleges

Many colleges have open days and it’s always smart to attend these. Once you’re on campus you can get a feel for the atmosphere of the college. Have a look at the students who are there and ask lots of questions. 

Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to Rankings 

Yes, it’s great to attend a college that has impressive rankings. But, don’t get too caught up on this. At the end of the day, your studies are your own. Make your decision based on this. 

Apply Early

The early bird catches the worm. Apply early! If you do get any negative responses, this will allow you to put together a Plan B. So go ahead and start applying as soon as possible.  

How do you Apply for College Online?

Most colleges prefer and encourage students to apply online. It makes the process so much simpler. To apply for college online, follow these steps:

  • Go to the college website and then click on the apply now button.
  • Select your program of choice. 
  • Fill out each section and follow the instructions. 
  • Attach your supporting documents 
  • It’s always a good idea to contact the college to confirm that your application has been successful. 
  • Now, all you can do is wait!
A young women standing in front of a college building. Visiting colleges is an important step when Applying for College.

Colleges in South Africa

South Africa has over 300 colleges you can choose from. Skills Academy happens to be a part of this impressive group. We offer you affordable education from anywhere in the world. Our courses are offered through distance learning. This means you won’t have to attend class – ever! Some of our other perks are:

Our Courses

We sport an impressive range of courses. Everything from accredited courses to courses you can study without matric. Some of the most popular are listed below:

College Application Checklist

Once you’re ready to apply for college, it might be a good idea to ensure that you’ve covered everything important. Here’s a checklist that will help you when Applying for College. 


  • Lists of schools you’re applying to
  • Submission deadlines
  • High school transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • Other documentation like certified copies of your  ID and proof of address 
  • Details of where and how to submit 
  • List of possible questions to ask that you cannot find on the college website
  • Find out how application for Financial Aid works and when you should apply

Take the leap into your future, and give distance learning a go! We promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Take the Next Step With a College That Cares

Ready to enrol for our courses? Contact us today and have a chat with our course consultants – they’ll guide you through our process. Get in touch on the following:

  • Call us for free on 0800 39 00 27
  • or fill out this contact form for a call back
Last Updated: October 30, 2020


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp


Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
I am dedicated to creating engaging online content. I enjoy reading, writing and popular culture. House Ravenclaw. View my LinkedIn

Contact us

Click the button to complete a form and we will contact you to help with any queries you might have