Those in matric or otherwise looking to begin their tertiary education in 2020 at the University of South Africa (Unisa) will be interested in the fact that application to the institution opens today.

New prospective students can head on over to the application splash page on the official site to get started with the process of application which is open from the time of writing until 27th September.

This isn’t just for high school leavers getting an undergraduate degree, however, as this application process also applies to honours degrees and postgraduate diplomas.

The link provided above will give you some guidance to filling out the application but its best to have your ID and a credit card on hand for the non-refundable R110 application fee.

Applicants can apply for up to two qualifications at a time. If you are accepted for both you can choose which one to pursue.

After being accepted applicants will need to accept this “offer” from Unisa to claim their place at the institution. After this has happened the student can now register for semester one of 2020.

It can be a bit confusing in this process as “application” and “registration” are two completely different terms which may sound similar. Application, which is open now, is the process of acquiring a student number from Unisa and finding out if you are eligible to study there and a place is open for you in one or both of your chosen qualifications.

Registration, on the other hand, happens at a later stage. Using the student number students can now choose the modules they will be studying in the upcoming first semester.

Circling back to applications: Unisa will apparently inform applicants of their application status six to eight weeks after applications close. As the closing date is 27th September, that puts this feedback somewhere between 8th October and 27th November.

Finally, we have to add a warning here to new students and those who get lost in the application process: don’t bother phoning Unisa on any of the number they have listed on the “contact us” part of their site.

The university is infamous for never answering their phones and leaving prospective students to stress it out on their own. We can only recommend finding family or a friend familiar with Unisa to help you or, if you’re really stuck, going to one of the regional centres which we have linked to below. Just be aware that these buildings are usually flooded with people around application time and are best avoided.

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