Byles says that there are not enough students graduating on time and that FLY@UP aims to encourage students to take responsibility for their own finish lines and ensure they graduate in the minimum prescribed time. According to Byles, the number one reason for students not graduating on time is incorrect study choices. In terms of choosing modules carefully, Byles says that students should ensure that they are enrolled for sufficient credits for their study course.

FLY@UP founder and Vice-Prinicpal of UP, Prof. Norman Duncan says that one of the core messages of FLY@UP is that students should choose both their modules and degrees carefully. “Students who make incorrect study choices may find themselves faced with academic exclusion,” says Prof. Duncan. Academic exclusion occurs when students are not allowed to re-register for their academic programmes due to insufficient academic progress. Prof. Duncan adds that students are most likely to end up in this undesirable situation through failing core modules, registering for too many modules or deregistering (‘dropping’) modules. “In addition, failing or deregistering modules or changing programmes during the academic year increases the likelihood that a student may not finish their degree on time,” adds Prof. Duncan. He goes on to say that “we encourage students to gather as much information as possible about the degree and career they are interested in before registering for said degree [and] we also encourage students not to change modules once they have commenced their programmes without considering all the consequences of these changes.”

After a student has ensured they are enrolled for sufficient credits, it is important to manage time and work consistently. A good indication of how much time is needed for studies is found in the notional hours for each module. Notional hours describe the amount of time needed for an average student to attend all classes and study for tests and assignments. Each credit equals 10 notional hours. Therefore, if a degree consists of 120 credits per year, 1 200 notional hours are required for that year. Byles stresses the need for students to work from day one to ensure they keep up with their work and aim for a good semester mark. She further adds that it is not sufficient to aim for a 40% sub minimum semester mark to enter the exams, as that would mean students would need to obtain 60% in the exam to pass their course.

Currently the programme includes support in the form of workshops, as well as activation events scheduled throughout the academic year. Another form of assistance includes encouraging students to make use of faculty student advisors (FSAs). FSAs offer individual consultation, academic support, goal-setting, study methods, test and exam preparation, and career exploration. All faculties at UP have their own FSAs. Visit www.up.ac.za/fly@up.