It seems like yesterday that your child was starting matric with all the accompanying hype, and not a little angst, and now here you are, on the other side but contemplating the new challenges of 2016.
In many cases the way forward is relatively straightforward if the young adult child has secured a place at the tertiary institution of his / her choice or has a workable plan for a gap year.
But what about instances where there has been no plan made for 2016 or the proposed plan is no longer viable ? What can be done to make 2016 as productive and meaningful as possible for your child?
1. NO PLAN WAS EVER MADE:
Many young people simply have no energy or interest in engaging with a plan for once matric is over. Somehow, just handling the rigours (or boredom) of school is all that that they could handle and they balked at any discussion regarding life after school. Many are convinced that they need the 'year
off' to regroup and 'find themselves'. In reality, once most of their friends start their tertiary studies, life becomes lonely and boring and the wonderful gap year of 'chilling' becomes a huge disappointment.
What to do:
Consider the various short (preferably six months to a year) courses that are on offer to enable him to keep intellectually sharp (chilling next to the pool or watching tv re-runs causes major regression) while still allowing him enough time off to feel that he has had the break that he wanted. Hopefully at the end of this he will emerge with an NQF5 Higher Certificate in a skill that can always be there on his cv. Some of these courses include those in draughting, computers, cooking, fitness training
and sport management, business administration, event coordination.. and a myriad of others. Even if your child never enters any of these fields as a long-term career, he would have learnt a marketable skill; formed opinions of a study direction; enriched his cv; become a more rounded person; and
kept his mind alive. Usually there is enough time for some travel opportunities as well. Organisations like Action Volunteers Africa offer excellent opportunities for gap year students to do well-organised
volunteering, some also on a stipend basis.
2. A PLAN WAS MADE, BUT MY CHILD DIDN'T GAIN ADMISSION
Here one needs to differentiate between whether the learner didn't get the required level of pass (eg Diploma or Bachelors ) or if they got the required level of pass but failed to meet the admission requirement for the tertiary institution of their choice.
What to do:
If your child did not achieve the required level of pass, there are two main routes to choose from . One involves rewriting one or more of the matric subjects. (Check WCED website for the process). Bear in mind that only about 3% of people who rewrite subjects pass / achieve better than they did
the first time around. Many young people happily decide on this route but they need focus, discipline, help, and huge buy-in to be successful. It can be done, but they need to be prepared to put in the hours and it is often difficult to re-discover that energy that was there in October 2015.
Another option is to do an accredited NQF5 course that, if passed well, could take the person to the next level. Varsity College offer the Management Principles and Practice course which helps to do this. (I am not advertising, but am just most familiar with this one). If your child obtained the required level but did not get into the institution of his/her choice, the choice is to rewrite matric subjects (see above) or to opt for a different institution for 2016 if they got into a fall-back choice. If they do very well at the end of their first year, they can reapply to the desired institution for their second year(although they might have to start back at first year level). Many decide to stay where they began; finish the qualification; and then apply to their original institution of choice for post
graduate study. If there has been no alternative provision made, then they need to use their enforced gap year well (see above). In addition, if their matric marks were way higher than their grade 11, then at least give it a shot and reapply to the desired institution, among others, for 2017.
Keep moving forward!
3. MY CHILD ACHIEVED BETTER THAN HE EVER ANTICIPATED AND NOW WANTS TO ENROL FOR A HIGHER LEVEL COURSE:
Be aware that most learners fare better in their matric results than ever before. This is, to a large extent, due to the added attention that they get in a fairly rarified environment where every effort centres on helping the grade 12 learner to achieve to the best of his ability. Remember that this bears no resemblance at all to the world of tertiary study and unless he can maintain that level of effort on his own, he is likely to slip back into old habits and previous patterns of achievement, However, for some learners the matric exam is their first experience of what focused effort can achieve and this gives them solid motivation and study skills for tertiary success.
What to do:
Openings for degree and diploma courses and would still be available at the private colleges eg in Interior Design, Advertising / Marketing Colleges; Film School; Fashion Design, Hospitality, Nature Management. But these options are expensive and your child should be sure that he has real
interest in the field, and that this is not simply a decision born of desperation or indecision. He / she needs to talk through the decision with an objective counselor rather than be caught up in the attractive marketing of a specific college.
ABOVE ALL, USE THE YEAR WELL. NO LEARNING IS EVER LOST. EVERY EXPERIENCE
MAKES YOU A BETTER EQUIPPED ADULT
The Working Life - Annette Miller