Didn’t Get Into University, Now What?

Whether it’s for financial or academic reasons, don’t worry, all is not lost… It is just a bit of a setback, but you still have a bright future ahead of you… What’s important now is that you don’t let this get you down, but rather be proactive and grab every possible opportunity to prepare yourself for the career you desire…

Here are a few steps you can take that will steer you in the right direction and towards your dream job:

1. What’s the vision?

Have a good talk with yourself… What is your dream? What do you see yourself doing in 5, 10, 20 years time? Write this down, and start believing it’s possible to achieve this dream

2. What will it take?

Determine what it will take to make your dream a reality. Do a bit of research about the specific job you aspire to have, and if possible interview someone who is already doing that job. Also ask yourself some important questions like:

  • What will I need to study and for how long?
  • What matric results do I need to get into university and study this course?
  • Where will I need to study?
  • What will it cost? How can I get my hands on financing for my studies?
  • What kind of experience does the job I want require?
  • What lifestyle changes or sacrifices will I need to make to make my dream a reality?

3. Take Action!

From the research you’ve conducted and questions you’ve asked, set yourself clear-cut goals with deadlines.  Remember, if you set your mind to it, anything is possible, but still be realistic when setting these goals. Most successful individuals didn’t realise their dreams overnight, but with hard work, dedication, a good attitude and PATIENCE, got to where they are today…

These are some examples of goals you can set for yourself:


Get better matric results to be accepted into the university and course you desire. You can do this by correspondence through institutions like Damelin, Intec College etc. which will allow you to still work while you are studying. Make sure you work hard in the subjects that are required to be accepted into the specific course you want to later study.

Do short practical training courses that will be relevant to your future career, and will already give you some practical experience and make you employable. For example, if it is your dream to become a Chartered Accountant one day, you can do short courses in basic Bookkeeping, Pastel, Payroll and Monthly SARS Returns through a training institution like CollegeSA. These short courses will look great on your CV and will strengthen your University application later. It might also land you a great junior job in the field of accounting to build your experience…

Re-apply to the University and the course of your choice in the new academic year, or as soon as you are sure that your matric results meet the entrance criteria. Universities generally have limited available space for students in specific courses, so apply as soon as possible and long before the closing deadline to increase your chances of being accepted.


If you were unable to go to university due to financial reasons, apply for student financing once you’ve been accepted into university. There are various routes you can take here. You can apply for:

a) University financial aid – Bursaries or grants offered by the university you’ve applied to

b) National financial aid – A National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) study loan, funded by the Department of Education, to academically able but financially needy students. These loans can be converted into bursaries.

c) An external bursary – A lot of companies offer financing to promising students, with certain “pay-back” terms attached to it. For more information, visit the websites of companies that will likely employ someone who has the qualification you want to study towards.

d) A student loan – Most South African banks, as well as registered credit providers like Edu-loan and LoanFinder SA offer study loans.

Positioning yourself:

Start preparing yourself ready for the job you want by getting as much relevant work experience as possible. A lot of organisations offer work-experience programs for specific career paths, or apply for an entry level, junior role. Also explore becoming an entrepreneur and make some money that you can put towards your studies. All of this experience will look great on your CV and bring you even closer to your dream job. You can keep track of how much experience you are accumulating by creating your own Job Mail Online CV

So with these steps, we’ve hopefully inspired and given you a nudge in the right direction…  Now go grab a pen and paper, have a little “meeting” with yourself and start planning your future. You’ve got what it takes to make your dream a reality! The ball is now in your court…


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