Number one university in South africa
South Africa boasts some of the top universities in Africa, and they are also held in high regard internationally. Which university is “the best”, however, depends on the research agency doing the ranking, as well as which faculty is being focused on. The University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand are ranked high on most international listings.
The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2015/16 poll over 76 000 academics and 44 000 employers worldwide, as well as considering factors such as student-faculty ratios and citations to compile its top universities list. It ranks the University of Cape Town as 171st overall in the world and top in South Africa, followed by Stellenbosch University at number 302 in the world and University of the Witwatersrand at number 331 in in the world, overall.
When the results are filtered by academic reputation, South Africa’s top three are the University of Cape Town at 150, University of the Witwatersrand at 297 and Stellenbosch University at 314. Filtering by employer reputation, the University of Cape Town is ranked at 220, University of Pretoria at 313 and University of the Witwatersrand at 360. In citations per faculty, Stellenbosch leads in South Africa and is number 96 in the world, followed by the University of Cape Town at number 278 and University of the Witwatersrand at number 398.
Meanwhile, 4 International Colleges & Universities (4icu.org) ranks South Africa’s top universities as: the University of Cape Town, University of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, University of Pretoria and University of the Witwatersrand.
Choosing a university
Choosing a university involves a balancing act — weighing up where your chosen courses are offered, how good those faculties are, whether you can afford them and qualify for enrolment there, and the logistics involved in attending the chosen university. Factors to consider include:
• International standing. Check how highly the university — and your chosen course at the university — is ranked globally. If you’re considering working abroad, investigate whether the qualification is recognised internationally, and if not, what additional courses you’d have to follow to work in your chosen field abroad.
• How employable are its graduates? Do your homework: ask recruitment agencies and leading enterprises in your chosen field for their views on graduates from the universities offering the course you’ve chosen. If possible, speak to students currently enrolled in the course as well as recent graduates from the course, to ask about the pros and cons of that particular university, faculty and course.
• Will you be accepted? Each university and each course has different acceptance criteria. It is important to determine well ahead of applying whether your grades are likely to get you accepted into the course you’d like to enrol in.
• Attend the open day to evaluate the environment. One size does not fit all in education. If you prefer small classes and one-on-one engagement with a lecturer, you will not flourish in an environment where 300 students crowd into each lecture. Assess the research labs, libraries, sports facilities and canteens. If sport, social activities, community service or cultural activities are important to you, determine whether these are available. Look at the accommodation you’d be living in and the transport infrastructure you’d be using. Assess whether student support such as career counselling and job placement is available. Consider whether the overall environment is really conducive to your style of learning.
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