Family support during the university application process

Learners may ask, what is the role of the family in university preparation? How can their families ease the overwhelming process of university applications? The family’s role is critical in the post-schooling preparation process. Family support provides stability when there are uncertainties or challenges during the application process. As the process tends to be overwhelming and nerve-racking for the learner at times, the support structure becomes vital in ensuring the smooth transition between schooling and tertiary education.

Some higher learning institutions give unexpected feedback like immediate reject letters right in the middle of final exams, and some learners cannot deal with the negative feedback. The presence of a support structure during application is very vital. Not only do families offer emotional support to the applicants, but they are also expected to offer financial support during the application period. The increasing costs of university applications can be a barrier for learners even to consider applying for specific institutions due to the high costs of application fees. Parents and guardians are advised to be as involved as feasible in this detail in order to offer the necessary financial resources

The step to university from high school is a giant leap for learners in their academic development. Here are 5 things parents and guardians can do to support learners during the university application process

1. Open days: Where possible, as a family, you can accompany the learner or encourage the learner to take advantage of school organised university open days. During open days, parents and guardians can see the living arrangements of various institutions then decide if the learner will stay on-campus or off-campus. This is also a good time to explore educational and social facilities on and around campus. 

2. Family documents: Most South African institutions require parents or guardians details for the application completion. The application will not be complete in most institutions without the parents’ biographical information and documents such as ID and Proof of residence. The acquisition of these documents timeously can accelerate the application process. This means, at request, parents should always be readily available for such documents requests

3. University application fees: The institutions requiring application fees can charge between R100 – R350 in public institutions. This amount can reach up to R750 for private institutions. Where learners need to apply for multiple institutions, this application fee can reach thousands of Rands, especially for aspiring Health Sciences students. Parents and the extended support structure can assist immensely with crowdfunding of application fees within the family circle for the learner to apply to as many institutions as possible to stand the best chance of entry to higher learning institutions. Other related application fees can include NBTs (See NBT) and other related assessments costs.

4. Matric results waiting period: After the application process, the learner has to wait for results and applications clearing, which is the most stressful part because a learner can be rejected at some institutions. The family’s role is essential as reassurance of support from the loved ones calms the learner throughout the waiting period.

5. Signing of declaration forms post-acceptance: The first 48 hours after the release of Matric results is one of the most critical periods pre-university. Family support is needed during this decision-making period as most institutions will release offers that must be signed by the students and their families as surety for financial aid. Most universities will ask for a 1-3 days turnaround time to confirm the acceptance of the offer. Parents and guardians are needed here as institutions will not accept documents that are not completed by multiple signatories, especially when the student is still considered a minor.