Picking the right path: Career choices after matric

6 min read   •   June 28, 2024
Elmien Ackerman

Imagine standing in an ice cream shop with a dazzling display of flavours. Do you gravitate towards the classics (strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla), or do you prefer to mix and match? At first, the abundance of choice is exciting, but it can soon become overwhelming. The vast array of career choices after matric can make you feel the same way. With a world of possibilities at your feet, how do you narrow it down and find the perfect flavour for you? Impaq is here to guide you every step of the way.

Making smart subject choices in Grade 9

The first step to choosing your path for the future is deciding which elective subjects you want to take in Grade 10. This is a big decision in Grade 9, because the subjects you choose significantly influence your career options after matric. That’s why it’s important to consider the following:

  • Which subjects am I interested in?
  • Which subjects am I good at?
  • Do I need help with certain subjects?

If you struggle to answer these questions, consider completing a career assessment questionnaire. Career Direct® can help you discover your hidden qualities and preferences by integrating and measuring the four critical components of career choice: personality, interests, skills, and values. This holistic system is one of the most comprehensive on the market and can provide you with a clear career path. Plus, you’ll get ongoing support from a dedicated career coach. Click here to complete the questionnaire.

Subject spotlight

Once you have an idea of your interests, the next step is to consider the specific requirements for the subjects you have in mind. Read our handy Subject Requirements document online, which outlines the requirements for all the subjects offered by Impaq in the FET Phase (Grades 10 to 12). Certain subjects have special requirements, so if you are considering the subjects below, take note of the following:

  • Agricultural Management Practices (AMP): This subject requires access to a farm, as your practical assessment tasks (PATs) must be assessed by a farmer or veterinarian.
  • Computer Applications Technology (CAT) and Information Technology (IT): Specific software and device requirements apply, so ensure that your laptop or PC meets the recommended specifications.
  • Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD): If you are a budding architect, take note that EGD requires specialised drawing equipment.
  • Physical Sciences: You would need to take Mathematics as these subjects go hand-in-hand.

Just like mixing bubblegum and coffee ice cream, some subject combinations for post-matric studies might not be the best fit. Our YouTube channel offers in-depth information on subject groupings and their compatibility with different study paths. By understanding these combinations, you can ensure your subjects “blend” seamlessly towards your dream career.

Don’t get scooped! Choosing subjects that align with your future degree

Before making a final decision on your subjects for Grades 10 to 12, consider whether your subject combinations match the course requirements of the relevant education institution you want to enrol with after matric.

To study at a tertiary level, you are required to take the correct combination of subjects. For example:

  • Option 1: Radiology – make sure to pick Life Sciences
  • Option 2: Architecture – make sure to pick Physical Sciences
  • Option 3: Engineering – make sure to pick Mathematics

Please check the admission requirements of your institution of choice to ensure that you take the correct subject combinations, and take note of the specific requirements of the course that you are interested in.

Unlocking university doors: Understanding your APS score

Now that you selected the perfect mix of subjects, you need to understand your Admission Point Score (APS) and how this works. In South Africa, universities and other tertiary institutions will often ask for this during the application process. It is used as an entry requirement and differs for various courses.

Your APS score is based on your matric results, with each subject earning a certain number of points based on the percentage achieved. Therefore, the better your marks, the better your APS score. Calculating your APS score is easy. Make use of your top six matric subjects and follow the points system below:

  • 80% – 100% = 7 points
  • 70% – 79% = 6 points
  • 60% – 69% = 5 points
  • 50% – 59% = 4 points
  • 40% – 49% = 3 points
  • 30% – 39% = 2 points
  • 0% – 29% = 1 point

Most universities follow this 1–7 points system. Keep in mind, however, that most universities do not include Life Orientation when calculating your APS score.

Let’s look at an example: Paul had the following marks for his six matric subjects:

  • Maths: 55% = 4 points
  • English: 85% = 7 points
  • Afrikaans: 77% = 6 points
  • Geography: 90% = 7 points
  • Accounting: 50% = 4 points
  • Physics: 52% = 4 points

Paul has a total score of 32 APS.

Additionally, some tertiary programmes may prioritise certain subjects. For example, if you want to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, your Mathematics and Physical Sciences marks could carry more weight.

APS requirements can vary between universities and change over time. Researching the specifics is crucial to ensuring you meet the criteria for your dream study programme. Luckily, most universities make it easy. Head to their official websites and explore sections like “Admissions,” and “Undergraduate Studies”. Here, you’ll find detailed information about admission requirements, including downloadable prospectuses outlining the various programmes and their APS expectations.

Finding your perfect fit: Key factors to consider when choosing an education institution

Here are some key factors to consider once it’s time to decide where you would like to study:

  • Accreditation: Ensure the institution is accredited and recognised by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). This guarantees the quality of education and qualifications you will receive.
  • Admission requirements: Check specific APS and subject requirements for your desired course.
  • Location, location, location: Consider the institution’s geographical location. Would it be feasible for you to live on campus or commute?
  • Facilities and resources: Evaluate the facilities, resources, and support services offered by the institution. Does it have the necessary labs, libraries, and technology to support your chosen field?
  • Reputation and alumni: Look into the institution’s reputation for academic excellence and industry partnerships. Research the success stories of its alumni to understand the career paths graduates pursue.

To help you decide which option is the right fit for you, take a look at our handy infographic below:

Once you have made your choice, visit the institution’s website for application details. You will typically need your Grade 11 results (or both Grade 11 results and Grade 12 June results) and will need to pay a non-refundable application fee. Applications for the following academic year typically open in April.

Charting your course with confidence

The world of education after matric isn’t a single flavour; it’s a bountiful buffet of choice. From bite-sized short courses to fulfilling degrees, there’s a path perfectly suited to your unique interests and passions. To find your perfect flavour, do your research, compare qualifications, complete a career questionnaire or seek guidance from a career counsellor. With careful consideration and a dash of planning, you will be well on your way to charting a course towards a successful future.