Poor matric results not a disaster

AS THE class of 2014 prepare to receive their results next month, the nail-biting wait is under way. While some may be certain they performed at their very best, others have to deal with the realisation that they may not have performed well enough to pass or qualify for their chosen field of study.

“This is traditionally a harrowing period for matriculants who feel under-performance could sound the death-knell for their hopes, dreams and aspirations,” says Dr Felicity Coughlan, director of the Independent Institute of Education, South Africa’s largest private higher education provider.

“These pupils now need all the emotional guidance and support they can get.”

Coughlan says the sooner people can move to a solution orientation in the face of disappointment, the quicker solutions will be identified.

“Given enough space and support, most young people will regain a sense of control when they are able to make a rational decision about how to proceed. And there are indeed a number of possibilities to pursue.”

Options include:

  • Writing supplementary exams:

“Consultation with the school is best as there are very limited circumstances under which these are available for matriculants. Many institutions will accept students provisionally if they are eligible for a supplementary examination, but succeeding in that examination is required to remain registered.”

  • Repeating the year:

Where the gap between what you want to do and how well you did is so big that the doors are all closed, repeating the year is an option. There are things to take into consideration though.

“Now may be the time to be realistic about your own ability to achieve the goal you set” Coughlan says. “The second thing is to understand that if you are going to repeat the year, you must know exactly what you need to achieve. It may be prudent to redo everything, but you could ‘bank’ your excellent marks you did get.

“The third thing is to think about where and how you are going to repeat. You could return to your school; or enrol full or part time in a school focused on either matric or the last few years of schooling. Alternatively, you could enrol as a distance pupil and study alone, with a tutor or online. Or consider a combination.”

ýConsider another higher education institution:

Coughlan says if pupils did not do well enough to be accepted for their chosen studies at their preferred institution, they should examine all the other options out there, including both private and public institutions.

  • Considering a different course or part-time study:

Private institutions often continue to accept enrolments if they have space left, and they generally offer a range of degree, diploma and certificate courses.

  • Considering volunteer or other work opportunities:

It may be that you need to spend the year working – perhaps while studying part time.

“Opportunities to volunteer at community based organisations – full or part time depending on your personal circumstances – should also be considered,” Coughlan suggests.

“Sometimes not doing as well as you had hoped has the biggest impact on your self-confidence. Giving something back to the community is one sure-fire way to regain a sense of purpose, and to recognise this is only a temporary setback.”


Leave a Reply