Applied Psychology

10 Steps towards a Successful College Application

Apr 26, 2022
10 Steps towards a Successful College Application - SACAP
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School is ending and the next chapter of life is happening, with all its choices and opportunities lying before you. A university or college application process can be both exciting and terrifying. It’s completely normal to feel a little apprehensive or anxious when completing applications. However, using a systematic approach, it’s possible to tip things towards being more exciting and less terrifying. Here’s how you can do this.

10 Steps towards Successfully Applying to Study

Before getting into it, the application process may seem complicated. So, first things first, make a list and then tick things off as you go along.  It’ll help you know you’ve got everything under control and that you’re not missing something important.

Once started, you will notice that an application is a step-by-step process. It makes things much easier that it’s usually well outlined by the institution you’re applying to. There are some common application requirements, such as certified copies of your results. Nevertheless, be aware that faculties and courses within a single institution can vary in what and how they request things. For example, a motivational letter as to why you want to study a particular course.

1. Results Matter

Your acceptance to a specific course and college is based on a few things, one of which is exam results. While you’re studying and writing your exams, bear this in mind and ensure they are practically a top priority. Start preparing for your exams well in advance, the extra effort will pay off in the long-term. Organise extra lessons, if need be, now is the time for the hard graft. Remember, thousands of students apply for college every year, do your best to stand out from the crowd.

2. Research

Some colleges specialise in areas and others are known to have a particularly good programme or faculty. For example, the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) has a strong applied psychology component across programmes. Some courses also have a practical experience module, which gives graduates an extra advantage when applying for jobs. Additionally, when considering your options, deliberate on the wider advantages and context of a campus you’re looking at. If possible, go and visit the campus or attend an open day. Some campuses now also have virtual tour options. Even if you’ve identified your favourite college, and your heart is set on going there, apply for more than one. You don’t want to be caught short if, sadly, you don’t get in.

3. Ask Questions

If you are unsure about something, look online for instructions or contact the faculty directly. Alternatively, if you have access to a student advisor, chat to them and see if they can help you. There really is no such thing as a “stupid question”. Making sure you know exactly what’s required is a wise move. So don’t waste a shot at your dream college because you’re too afraid to ask something. Rather, persevere until you get an answer you are satisfied with.

“There is no such thing as a stupid question.”

4. Your Results

The college of your choice will most likely require a certified copy of your final Grade 11 or Grade 12 June results. If you already have your matric results then they will require those Grade 12 marks. Only ever send certified copies to an institution and never the originals. When sent in, certified copies should be no older than 3 months from date of certification.

5. Take Your Time

Give yourself enough time to work through it methodically and take your time while doing it. A sloppy application is not a good reflection of the type of student you will be. It will also make reviewing it more difficult, which is the last thing you want. An incomplete or late application could result in rejection. When completing your forms, only use a black ballpoint pen and don’t highlight anything.

6. Signatures

It is very likely that both yourself and your parents or legal guardians will need to sign the application. Make sure that all the information you have included is correct and true. If you forget to get all the required signatures, your application might not be considered.

7. Documentation

Have a checklist, for each application, of what documents are required and who needs to complete them. Most colleges require various supporting documents, for example a certified copy of your ID. You may also be requested to include a motivational letter or references. So, factor in the additional time needed to have these ready for submission with your application. Always send certified copies and not original documents. Keep a complete copy of all documents submitted for each application.

“An incomplete or late application could lead to rejection.”

8. Pay the Fees

Some educational institutions require you to pay an application fee. Check if this is the case and don’t forget to pay it timeously. The college will stipulate how and when to pay this, so follow their instructions. Be sure to pay the correct amount and include a proof of payment with your application documents. Never send money in the post and keep a copy of the proof of payments for your own records.

9. Closing Dates

Check and diarise the application dates for each application you make. Also include them in your checklist. Additionally, if it’s available, diarise the date of when you can expect to hear the outcome of your application. It takes time and effort to complete an application as well as gather the necessary documents and signatures. Thus, don’t procrastinate on this one, a rushed application or a missed deadline will really impact your study plans.

10. Get it there

Be sure to check how the college would like your application to reach them. Some colleges have online applications, while others prefer courier or post. Don’t forget to factor in the extra time needed to get it there.

Applying to SACAP

Are you interested in learning more about psychology? The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) offers a range of courses across campuses in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. These also include part-time and full-time as well as online learning options. For more information, enquire now.

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