We are at the start of the 2nd semester and an ideal time to reflect on our activities during the 1st phase of building the recruitment pipeline for SU. The emphasis has been on attracting as many prospective students to participate in our application process. There is a clear need to understand why there are so many students who did not complete the application process. There are those who start the process and never submit (NotFinal) and others who submit, but who never upload the necessary documents (FinalNotComplete). Our interactions with selected students revealed the following as possible reasons, namely:
- Students claim that they were unaware of the outstanding documents; especially the contract (Even though they are getting system-generated reminders)
- Issues related to foreign nationals (refugee status/permanent residency)
- Contact details were incorrect, or changed during the process
- Students wanted to wait for improved academic results before uploading
- Students had technical difficulties in uploading the documentation; access to printer, scanner
- Access to stable internet
- Application fee
The SUN-I interface allows us to get a quick snapshot (at a specific moment in time) of the current trends in the application and admissions process. To date a total of 5 671 prospective students have been provisionally accepted into any one of their 3 programmatic choices.
These numbers will be monitored as the selection process of some programmes will only be concluded towards the end of September. The data also revealed that 642 of the provisionally accepted students are African Black; representing 11%. It should be noted that the contribution of Coloured, Indian and Asian could significantly impact the racial demographics.
The Centre for Student Recruitment identified a total of 500 feeder schools at the beginning of the year, and committed to support the schools through the dissemination of information related to our programmatic offering and the application process. The Centre has also attempted to reduce the number of incomplete applications coming from these schools through personalized communication with the schools. These efforts resulted in a cohort of 3 575 prospective students that have been provisionally accepted into any one of their 3 programmes of choice; representing 63% of the total. The results are depicted in the following figure.
The contribution to the African Black student population coming from the 500 feeder schools is 315; representing 9% of the total. The 500 schools are located in the Western Cape (including the Southern Cape – 300 schools), KZN (Pietermaritzburg and Durban - 50), Gauteng (Pretoria and Johannesburg - 50), Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth and East London - 50), Limpopo (25) and Mpumalanga (25). A thorough analysis will be done after the selection process has been concluded to get a distribution per province per school. It is hoped that we will be able to identify possible areas where we either have to enhance our efforts to increase the number of applications or invest in relationship-building to break into “new markets".
An analysis of the data for schools (see below) in the Stellenbosch Municipality (Stellenbosch High, Paul Roos, Rhenish, Bloemhof, Stellenzicht, Cloetesville, Lückhoff, Kayamandi, Makupula, Groendal, Franschhoek, Kylemore) showed that 405 prospective students were provisionally accepted of which 26 are African Black; only 6%. This suggests that we are struggling to get it “right" on our doorstep. It is also interesting to see that the Faculty of Arts and Social Science seems to be the most “Attractive" to African Black Students. This could possibly be linked to poor performance in the KEY subjects, namely Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Science which are perquisites for entry into the SET- faculties. It is hoped that a better coordination of all outreach activities within the Stellenbosch Municipality will assist in addressing the challenges faced by the Educationally Disadvantaged.
The next phase of the Centre's activities will focus on using existing relationships with our 500 schools to facilitate the transition for the Future Maties. It is hoped that regular communication with the schools will assist US in retaining the top-talent! It is envisaged that the learning will assist in upscaling to reach all our provisionally accepted students through the use of technology and specifically social media. Two events are planned for Gauteng (Maties on the Move) and the Western Cape (Maties 101) to impact the registration rate. In addition the Centre will continue to build the recruitment pipeline by interacting with grade 9 and 11 learners through presentations at their schools. We will also be piloting a Career Fair in partnership with faculties on August 7th targeting grade-11 learners in the Worcester-area.