Acceptance at a higher education institution for further studies marks an important gateway and represents a significant milestone on the road to social mobility. Often first-year undergraduate students find the transition from high-school to a higher education institution challenging.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is committed to ease this transition and to help them to achieve academically. Nowhere is this more evident than in the exceptional academic efforts by the University’s top- achieving first-year undergraduate students.
This year, 320 students were acknowledged at the University’s annual First-Year Top Achievers Ceremony on Thursday, 8 September 2016. The exceptional performance of the first-year students, having obtained an average of 75% or more in their June 2016 examinations, demonstrates the University’s commitment to support its first-time entering students from school-to-university transition and compliments the strategic direction of the Institution.
The top three achievers obtained an average of 88% plus.
Ms Shirley Mashiane, who matriculated from Kwandebele Science Combined School (Mpumalanga), obtained an overall average of 95.3% and is studying towards a BSc in Computer Science and Informatics.
Ms Hiresha Naidoo received second place with an average of 94.4%. Ms Naidoo is studying towards a Bachelor of Accounting. She matriculated from Benoni High School.
Mr Matthew Slabbert, who matriculated from Andrews Academy, is studying towards a B ING (Mechanical). He achieved an average of 88.2%.
Of the 320 top achievers, 191 were women and 129 men.
Says Ms Mashiane, the top first-year achiever: “I did not expect to be a top achiever, but I’ve always wanted to become one someday. I really appreciate UJ’s support systems, including the tutors and the great lecturers as well the support from PsyCad, plenty of study materials and lots of information which is always made available and reachable for the students. The standard of teaching and learning is very good.”
Ms Naidoo echoed Mashiane’s sentiments adding that UJ contributed to her achievement in many ways. “Being nominated as one of the top achievers makes me extremely happy and excited. It is important to me as I always try my best and it is good to know that my hard work is paying off. Being a first year student, the lecturers helped us adapt to the transition from high school to university. The e-learning system has been useful as we have quick access to our study material and it makes it easier for us to communicate with our lecturers and tutors regarding any issues that we have.”
On his accomplishment, Mr Slabbert said: “The only thing left to do once you have done your best is to improve your best. I believe that whatever you do, give it your all. Being a top achiever is important to me as it shows that my hard work pays off. It is the first step in achieving my goal of graduating Cum Laude.”
Speaking at the event, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg said, “When you are a top achiever, we must sing and dance with you as we do now. Today you are celebrating this marvelous accomplishment and bringing us this great joy. These early signs at UJ demonstrate to us that we can celebrate the idea that our future is in great hands.”
The Faculty of Economic and Financial Science produced 149 of these achievers, followed by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment with 44, the Faculty of Humanities with 38, and the Faculty of Management with 34. The Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and the Faculty of Health Sciences boast 15, 14 and 11, top achievers respectively. The Faculty of Science yielded nine, and the Faculty of Education, six.
Prof Rensburg concluded: “Continue to do great and making us and your schools proud. We look forward to you joining UJENIUS – so work hard and all the best with your examinations”.