Future Humanities students learn the ropes

3 Aug 2012 - 16:39

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High school students spend Saturday morning with Humanities student mentors and staff during this year's Application Workshop.

The UCT applications process was made a little easier this year when the wannabe@humanities programme hosted its annual Applications Workshop recently. This is the second time that the Faculty of Humanities has hosted this event which attracts over 100 aspiring university students each year. The first was held in 2011.

Wannabe@humanities is a recruitment initiative aimed at identifying and supporting prospective applicants from disadvantaged communities. The year-long programme, which is targeted at talented grade 11 and 12 learners, consists of ongoing mentorship by current Humanities students as well as regular campus visits which aim to expose learners to academic life at UCT. The Applications Workshop, which forms part of the broader programme, is open to all learners who have displayed academic potential as well as an interest in the Humanities. These learners are typically drawn from Plumstead, Cape Town and Thandokhulu High Schools as well as various high schools in Khayelitsha, Philippi and Mfuleni.

On Saturday, 28 July, 96 learners were transported to Upper Campus so that they could spend the morning in the Beattie Computer Lab. Following a light breakfast and with the assistance of their mentors (senior Humanities students), learners completed their UCT online application forms. This process required that they first sign up for web-based email accounts and also register for the NBT. Faculty Recruitment Officer and programme coordinator, Khwezi Bonani said "Judging by last year's experience, about 80% of these learners will be working on a computer for the first time in their lives. Since the programme is about empowering kids, the brief to our student mentors is that they allow them to do as much as they can by themselves!"

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Mentor and final year BSocSc student, Noluthando Skey helps a High School learner complete the online application process.

The initiative celebrated a major milestone earlier this year when nine of the 2011 applicants were accepted at UCT for study in 2012. Some of these students achieved entrance scores that were significantly higher than their mainstream counterparts. This achievement underscores the critical value of recruitment interventions as without programmes such as wannabe@humanities, many talented black students would not consider UCT a viable academic destination.

"I started coming to UCT events last year and I have attended functions in Leo Marquard Hall with bhut' Khwezi. I can say I know more about UCT now than any other learner in my school and I am even called UCT boy at school. The project motivates me to study hard and is making my life easy with all the assistance I get from them. Now I don't have to worry about how to fill in the application form or how to register for the NBT, I don't even have to pay a cent for all these things!" Mzoxolo Sitoto, (17), Intsebenziswano High School, Philippi.

The programme continues to gain momentum, thanks to a dedicated team of staff and students. The ongoing commitment is to generate a new and bigger intake of UCT students for 2013 and beyond.