A group of University of Pretoria (UP) student volunteers visited matric learners at high schools in Mamelodi to inform them about the process of applying to universities.

This initiative was undertaken on 20 April by the Golden Key society for Global Youth Service Day, an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilises children and youth who improve their communities through service and service-learning.

Student volunteers visited Tsako Thabo and Modiri Technical High Schools in Mamelodi where they spoke to matric learners. Learners were informed about the application process as well as the various means of getting funding for university. Volunteers provided the matric learners with information on bursaries and loans and each school was given a CD containing a range of bursaries they can apply for.

According to Mmbi Naomi, UP Golden Key Community Service Day Events Manager, some matrics are unaware that they have the opportunity of obtaining a tertiary qualification even if their parents can’t afford it. “Judging from the response the learners gave, many of them were glad to hear about how they can go about sourcing funding for their studies, particularly about NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme]”, Naomi said.

Volunteers shared their personal experiences and took part in a general question and answer session. Student volunteers also addressed concerns regarding APS scores and how institutions work in terms of admission criteria for conditional and definite acceptance.

Naomi said, “[M]atrics generally don’t have an idea of how the application process works. Some of them aren’t aware of things like application deadlines.” She added that some learners are unaware that application forms can be found online and that photocopies of the same form cannot be used by numerous people because every form has a unique reference number.

Naomi believes students benefited from the insight they gained through hearing the volunteers’ personal experiences. This, she said, encouraged learners to explore fields that aren’t widely known. She said that learning how to access application forms online for tertiary institutions in other provinces was very helpful for the matrics.

According to Naomi, the Golden Key society tries to engage in community outreach projects throughout the year. “Golden Key UP is also open to working with other societies on campus and we gladly support any community service engagement that is brought to our attention,” she said.

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