Searching for colleges to study at? There are many great colleges in South Africa you can apply at, and then there are some not so great ones. By taking the time and doing research or spying even, you will soon be able to identify a college that meets your personal preferences. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you find a suitable college in South Africa.


Attend a college
open day

Search online or keep your eye on the newspapers. Colleges always advertise their next open day events. By attending college open days, you will get a better idea of what the college has to offer. It will also help you get a feel for the college, its lecturers, students and the overall atmosphere of the institute.

Don't let others choose
a college for you

Remember, this is your future, not theirs. Students often fall into the trap of applying at the college their parents chose for them. There can be many reasons for this. Parents sometimes want their children to follow in their footsteps (same career), study at the same college they did, or just want to have their child close to home. If your family is adamant that you apply at the college they picked out for you, and you don’t agree, sit them down and explain to them why you would like to choose your own college. Before you chat with them, do your research and have proof to show them why they should allow you to apply at a different college. If your argument is valid, they won't have any reason to deny you. Prove to them that your college of interest is the best option for your career and future goals.

Colleges to study at

Be honest with yourself

 Be honest with yourself before
submitting your college application

Before you submit your college application form at a college on the other side of the country, consider why you want to study there. Is it really because they are the best or is it something else? If the programme you wish to study there is also offered in your city, then why not consider studying closer to home? Consider the costs involved of studying far from home. Will you or your parents be able to afford it, and will you cope with being so far away from your family and friends?

Tips to help you choose a college

  • Consider your interests, financial situation, and future goals.
  • Do you want to study at a campus, or at home via distance learning? (Can you afford to travel to class every day?)
  • Can you afford to study, and are there any extra fees you must pay? (Is your study material included in the course fee?)
  • What do current students have to say about the college?
  • Does the college offer the course you want to study? Will you be able to get a job with this qualification?
  • Do you want to stay at home or stay in student housing?
  • Is the college you are interested in accredited and registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training?
  • Can you work while you study, or do you want to work while you study?
  • Can you afford to study at this moment, or do you qualify for a student loan?
  • When can you apply for college? (Is course registration open all year or not?)
tips to help you choose a college
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Don't let negative reviews make you
overlook a good college

It’s highly unlikely that you will find a college with zero negative reviews. Instead of just scrapping a college off your list because of a bad review on the internet, do your own research. Call or visit the college and find out what their student support is like, what courses they offer, and whether the study material is included in the course fee or not before you submit your college application. You should also consider checking the college’s registration. All tertiary education colleges must be registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). If the college is not registered, it means that their courses are not recognised. Stay away from bogus colleges. You will just waste your time and money.

The difference between a
public and private college

Although both public and private colleges offer tertiary education, there is a difference between the two. A public college gets its funding from the state, whereas a private college gets its funding from an organisation or individual. To find out more about public and private colleges, visit the Council on Higher Education website.

Which is better, a public or private college?

There are many great public colleges, and there are many excellent private colleges. It is up to you to decide which type of college is best for you. Remember, if the college is registered and accredited, and offers the programme that you want to study, there is no reason why you shouldn't study there. Just do your research before you fill in a college application form and ensure that the college can offer you everything you want and need.

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The difference between
distance learning, online learning
& class-based learning

There is quite an obvious difference between distance learning, online learning, and class-based learning. What type of learning do you prefer?

Distance learning

Distance learning involves studying from the comfort of your own home. There are no face-to-face classes and no lecturers that guide you through your course. You are in control of your studies. You can decide when, where and for how long you study at a time. Distance learning is great for students who have a full-time job, as it gives you flexibility. It is also an excellent alternative for students who live far out from the main cities, and do not have access to reliable transport. It also saves money and time.

Online learning

Online learning takes place online. You do not get physical textbooks or study material to work with. Online courses usually have videos that you must watch, and sometimes provide downloadable e-books that you can work through. However, to study online, you require a computer and stable internet connection. Online learning is also quite convenient as you can study anytime and anywhere.

Class-based learning

Class-based learning is also known as face-to-face learning. Class-based learning takes place on campus and in a classroom. Students get guided by a lecturer through the course material. Although this method of study is popular, it’s not for everyone. Students have to travel to class on a daily basis, which means day jobs are almost impossible. If you want to earn a few Rands, you must take on an evening job. On the other hand, class-based learning exposes you to the whole student life vibe. You get to meet new people and join in with campus activities.

What to do when you don't get
accepted for a college course?

There are many colleges in South Africa to choose from. If you did not get accepted at the first college you applied at, do not worry. You can still send college application forms to other colleges. For a complete list of colleges in South Africa, visit

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