Online submissions for late varsity applications
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has shunned walk-in applications and called on prospective students to use the online system to claim placement this academic year.
As the higher education academic year gets into gear, some students will be queuing at various universities to submit late applications and enquire about placement in 2017.
TUT has strongly advised against this and says no walk-ins or late enquiries will be allowed on any of its campuses during the registration period.
In a notice on its Web site, the university says a limited number of spaces for study in 2017 are still available.
TUT will not accept any walk-in students in 2017, it states. "Please access the online application quick link to submit your enquiry.
"Applicants are requested NOT to visit any campus for information at ANY stage," reads the notice.
Although the institution does not provide reasons as to why it will no longer accept walk-in applications, over the years the walk-in application process at local universities has become dangerous.
In 2012, a parent was crushed to death in a stampede at the gates of the University of Johannesburg campus.
Moira de Roche, independent learning specialist and director of the Institute of IT Professionals SA, says she understands why TUT would prefer late applications to be submitted online.
It is the safer option, and much easier to manage, she says.
"Registration is always hectic, and I suppose this is a more controlled option. I hope that the system copes with the load, and that there is some live online help for those trying to register."
According to De Roche, online registrations are becoming a more prevalent practice, and eventually will be the only way to register.
"I believe that at some institutions, students must 'pre-register' online, and then are advised whether they should attend in person to complete registration. This reduces the numbers who come on campus, and the time they have to spend there.
"It is interesting that even at the University of South Africa, where one would expect students to register online as it is an online university, thousands of people go in person to register."
While TUT's decision aims to reduce the number of students that flock to the university's campuses, the process could pose a problem for disadvantaged students, says De Roche.
She says those who struggle to complete forms online without having anyone to help them will face some hurdles.
"It will be a pity if potentially good students are excluded simply because they had a poor experience with the online system. I think students, and perhaps their parents even more so, feel safer when they go in person," she explains.
De Roche advises that the registration process needs to be intuitive and user-friendly. "I do have concerns for those who don't have access to the Internet or enough data to allow them to do this. I would also like to see off-campus centres set up for students who don't have access to the Internet."