How to Apply at UNISA in 2024

How to Apply to Unisa in 2024: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, a step-by-step guide will be provided on how to apply at UNISA for the 2024 Academic year. This guide is designed to provide clarity and assistance at every step of your application journey, covering more than just the following:

  • Acquiring a UNISA student number 
  • Submitting supporting documents and understanding the intricacies of each stage
  • Possible solutions for technical difficulties you might face.

What Are The Key Application Dates For The 2024 Intake At Unisa?

Applications for the intake of students for 2024 open on 1 September 2023 and close on 13 October 2023. These dates are for students interested in doing the following qualifications:

  • Undergraduate Qualifications: The qualifications under this scope start from Higher Certificates, Advanced Certificates, Postgraduate Certificates, Diplomas, Advance Diplomas and Bachelor’s Degrees.
  • Honour’s Degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas: There are different fields of studies and each has its faculty you can correspond to. (e.g. Law, Education, Human Science)

The Unisa Application Process: Step-By-Step

Embarking on the UNISA application process is a significant step towards academic pursuits. This guide presents a concise, step-by-step overview of the process, offering valuable insights to streamline your application journey.

Step One: Receiving A UNISA Student Number

To begin your journey with the University of South Africa (UNISA), you must first acquire a UNISA student number. This unique identifier is essential for all interactions and transactions with the university.


The process to receive a UNISA student number involves a few straightforward steps, primarily conducted online. If you have forgotten your student number you could try doing the following:


  • First, visit the UNISA home page.
  • Secondly, you would need to click on the “Forgotten student number”.
  • After you have clicked this option, you will be prompted to a form where you will need to complete all the necessary steps.
  • Select Submit and you should receive your student number.

Step Two: Navigating The Application Portal

As you continue your journey through the University of South Africa’s (UNISA) application process, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the UNISA online application portal. This digital platform serves as a central hub for managing your application, providing essential information, and tracking your progress.

How Can Applicants Access The Unisa Online Application Portal?

Accessing the UNISA online application portal is a straightforward process that begins with visiting the official UNISA website. 


  • Once You Are On The Website’s Main Page, look for a tab or link that is specifically related to applications. This could be labeled as “Apply” or a similar term. Click on this link to be directed to the application portal.
  • On The Application Portal Page, you will likely find clear instructions on how to proceed. New applicants will typically need a student number to start the application process. 
  • Once You Are Logged In, you will have access to the various sections and forms within the portal.

What Are The Essential Sections And Forms Within The Application Portal?

Within the UNISA online application portal, you will encounter several key sections and forms that are pivotal to completing your application accurately. These include:


  • My Applications: This section provides an overview of the applications you have submitted to UNISA. It allows you to track the progress of your application and see if any additional documentation or steps are required.
  • Apply for Admission: Here, you can initiate the application process for your chosen program of study. You will be prompted to provide detailed information about your academic history, personal details, and qualifications.
  • Upload Documents: You can upload the required documents for your application. Make sure to follow the guidelines for document submission carefully.
  • Payment: This is where you can make the necessary payment for your application. Instructions on the payment process and options available will be provided.
  • Update Contact Information: Should your contact details change after submitting your application, you should update your information to ensure that UNISA can reach you effectively.
  • Messages: This will be another form of communicating important information regarding your application, admission, and other relevant updates.
  • Application Status: This section provides real-time updates on the status of your application, allowing you to see if it is being processed, reviewed, or if any further action is needed.

Step Three: Information And Documents Required For The Process

During the UNISA online application account setup process, applicants should have a range of information and documents prepared to ensure accurate and efficient completion. These can include the following, keep in mind that UNISA may request further documents, so stay updated:


  • Personal Information: Basic details such as full name, date of birth, contact information, and citizenship status.
  • Identification Documents: A certified copy of your South African ID or passport, depending on your citizenship status.
  • Qualification Documents: Certified copies of academic qualifications, including high school certificates, diplomas, or degrees. These documents help the university assess eligibility for specific programs.
  • Application Fee Payment: Proof of payment for the application fee, which is usually required to process the application. The application is currently set at R135.00 (Can change)
  • Motivation or Statement of Intent: Some programs may require applicants to submit a statement explaining their motivations for pursuing the chosen course of study.
  • Parent/Guardian Information: If you are under a certain age or dependent, information about your parents or guardians might be necessary.
  • English Proficiency: International applicants may need to provide evidence of English language proficiency, typically through standardised tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Step Four: Filling Out The Application Form

As you progress through the University of South Africa’s (UNISA) application process, one of the crucial steps is completing the application form. This form serves as the foundation of your application, providing the university with essential information to assess your eligibility and suitability for the chosen program. 

What Details Are Typically Required In The Unisa Application Form?

The UNISA application form prompts you to provide a range of information that helps the university understand your academic background, personal details, and reasons for pursuing the chosen program. Typically, the form includes sections that ask for the following details:


  • Personal Information: This includes your full legal name, date of birth, gender, contact details, and citizenship status.
  • Qualification Information: For details about your previous academic qualifications, you might need to provide the names of institutions, dates of completion, and subjects studied.
  • Program Selection: Indicate the specific program or qualification you are applying for.
  • Language Proficiency: If your primary language is not English, you may need to demonstrate your English language proficiency through standardised tests.
  • Employment or Volunteer Experience: Some programs may ask for information about your relevant work or volunteer experience, related to the field of study.
  • References: You might need to provide contact information for references who can vouch for your academic or personal qualities.
  • Parent/Guardian Information: They should fill in their details as honestly as possible.

Are There Any Tips For Ensuring Accurate And Complete Information Submission?

  • Read instructions thoroughly 
  • Double-check details
  • Use official documents (Provide accurate and official copies of your academic qualifications and other required documents) 
  • Be honest (Provide truthful information on your application.) 
  • Answer all questions (Complete all required sections of the form) 
  • Proofread (Check for spelling and grammatical errors in any written sections)
  • Submit early (increases the chances of getting admission with the spaces available)

Step Five: Uploading Supporting Documents

When applying to UNISA, uploading supporting documents is a crucial step in the application process. They provide essential information about the applicant’s qualifications, background, and eligibility. Be sure these documents are of high quality and valid.

Which Documents Need To Be Uploaded Along With The Application Form?

When uploading supporting documents along with your UNISA application form, you typically need to include several key documents to provide a comprehensive overview of your academic and personal background. These documents may include:


  • Identification Documents: This can be a valid passport, identity card, or other government-issued identification to verify your details.
  • Academic Qualifications: Copies of your previous academic qualifications such as high school certificates, diplomas, degrees, and transcripts as well as proof of English Proficiency if you are not a native English speaker. (IELTS/TOEFL) 
  • Motivation Letter or Statement of Purpose: These documents are only needed if they are required.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: A document outlining your educational background, work experience, skills, and other relevant information.
  • Proof of Payment: Depending on the application fee payment process, you might need to upload a receipt or proof of payment.
  • Additional Program-Specific Documents: Such as portfolios for creative programs or research proposals for graduate programs may be required for specific programs.

How Can Applicants Ensure The Quality And Validity Of The Uploaded Documents?

Maintaining the quality and validity of the uploaded documents is crucial to present a strong and accurate application. Here are some tips to ensure your documents meet the required standards:


  • Certified Copies: Whenever possible, provide certified copies of your original documents. These are copies that have been officially verified as true copies of the originals by a recognised authority, such as a notary public or educational institution.
  • Clear Scans: Ensure that all scanned documents are of high resolution and clarity. Unclear documents can lead to misunderstandings or rejection.
  • Colour Copies: If applicable, provide colour scans or copies of documents. This helps to preserve the authenticity of official seals, stamps, and signatures.
  • Check Requirements: Thoroughly review the application guidelines provided by UNISA. Make sure you adhere to the specified format, file size, and file type for each document.
  • File Naming: Use clear and descriptive file names for each document to help the reviewers easily identify what each document represents (e.g. “Transcript_HS_Diploma.pdf” or “CV_John_Doe.pdf”).
  • Double-Check Information: Before uploading, carefully review all documents to ensure accuracy in names, dates, and other details.

Step Six: Application Fees And Payment

The fee for the UNISA application is currently at a payment of R135.00 which is a once-off. Understanding the available options for paying application fees and whether there are any fee waivers or discounts can greatly assist applicants in managing this aspect of their application. 

What Are The Application Fee Options, And How Can Applicants Make Payments?

UNISA typically offers various payment options for application fees to accommodate the diverse needs of applicants. These options may include:


  • Online Payment: UNISA’s online application portal often provides a secure payment gateway where applicants can make payments using credit or debit cards. 
  • Bank Deposits: Applicants can visit designated bank branches to deposit the application fee into UNISA’s bank account. The details of the bank account and reference number for the payment are usually provided on the application portal or relevant application documents.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT):  Applicants can also make payments via EFT from their bank accounts. This option might require applicants to input specific payment reference details to ensure proper allocation.

Are There Any Fee Waivers Or Discounts Available For Specific Cases?

UNISA may offer fee waivers or discounts for specific cases to support applicants who might face financial constraints. These cases might include some of the following:


  • Financial Need: UNISA could offer fee waivers or reduced application fees for applicants who can demonstrate financial need. This could involve submitting documentation indicating low income or financial hardship.
  • Under-represented Groups: UNISA might provide fee waivers or discounts to individuals from under-represented groups to promote diversity and inclusivity.
  • Government Scholarships: Applicants who are recipients of certain government scholarships or grants might be eligible for fee waivers or reductions.

Step 7: Confirmation And Communication

During the UNISA application process, staying informed about the progress of your application is essential. Explore how UNISA confirms the receipt of an application and the communication channels used for updates.

How Does Unisa Confirm The Receipt Of An Application?

Once you have submitted your application to UNISA, receiving confirmation of its receipt assures that your application is being processed. UNISA typically employs various methods to confirm the receipt of applications:


  • UNISA Application Portal: After submitting your application online through the UNISA application portal, you might receive an automatic confirmation message or reference number. Acknowledging that your application has been successfully submitted.
  • Email Confirmation: UNISA may email the address you provided during the application process, acknowledging the successful submission of your application. Important information such as your application reference number and further steps in the process may be sent via email.
  • Application Status Portal: You can log in using your application details to check the progress of your application. Updates on your application status, receipt of documents, and other related information may be available here.
  • SMS Notifications: In some cases, UNISA might send SMS notifications to update applicants about their application status. These notifications could provide key information and direct recipients to the relevant portal or website for more details.
  • Official Website Announcements: UNISA’s official website might post announcements or notifications regarding the application process, deadlines, and essential updates (Check updates regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest news.)
  • Phone Support: If you encounter issues or have questions about your application status, you can reach out to UNISA’s admissions office through phone support for assistance.

Step 8: After The Application Is Successful, What Next?

Upon receiving the confirmation of your successful UNISA application, your journey enters an exciting new phase. You will need to move towards registering for the 2024 academic year, by doing the following:


  • You will have to complete a First-Year Experience MOOC. This will need to be completed, or you will not be able to accept or decline UNISA’s offer.
  • Accepting or declining the offer, after completing the FYE MOOC, has to be done within 10 days.
  • After these initial steps, you will be able to register.

How Early Should Students Start Preparing For Their Unisa Application?

Prospective students should ideally start preparing for their UNISA application at least 6 to 12 months before the anticipated application period. Here is a breakdown of the preparation timeline:


  • Research Phase (6 to 12 months before application): You should research UNISA’s programs, admission requirements, and any specific prerequisites for the desired program. 
  • Gathering Documents (3 to 6 months before application): Once you have identified the program you intend to apply for, you should start collecting all the required documents.
  • Standardised Tests and Language Proficiency (3 to 6 months before application): This is only applicable if the chosen program requires them. (e.g. IELTS or TOEFL)
  • Preparing Personal Statements/Essays (2 to 3 months before application): If the application requires a personal statement, statement of purpose, or essay, students should begin brainstorming and drafting these documents months before the application period.

What Resources Does Unisa Provide To Help Applicants Explore Available Programs?

UNISA offers a range of resources to assist applicants in exploring available programs and making informed decisions. UNISA’s diverse program offerings and identify the one that aligns best with your academic and career aspirations:


  • The official UNISA website: Provides comprehensive program information, including detailed program descriptions, entry requirements, and course outlines. 
  • The online program search: Allows applicants to filter programs based on their interests, academic levels, and fields of study. 
  • UNISA often hosts virtual and physical open days, where you can gather insights into various programs. 
  • Additionally, UNISA’s academic advisors and admissions staff are available to address queries and provide guidance regarding program choices.

When Can I Expect To Receive A Response From Unisa?

Waiting for a response after submitting your UNISA application is an eagerly anticipated phase of the process. While response times can vary, UNISA strives to provide timely updates to applicants. It is important to note that response times may differ depending on factors such as the volume of applications, the specific program, and the application deadline. 

Can I Apply For A Change Of Program Or Update My Application After Submission?

Flexibility in your academic journey is crucial, and UNISA acknowledges that applicants might have changes in their preferences. If you wish to apply for a change of program or update your application details after submission, UNISA often provides a specific period during which such requests can be made. 


However, these opportunities might vary based on program availability and application deadlines. It is advisable to review UNISA’s official guidelines and reach out to their admissions office for precise information about making changes to your application.

What Should I Do If I Need To Defer My Admission To A Later Semester?

UNISA usually accommodates such requests, but the process may involve certain conditions. If you need to defer your admission, it is recommended to contact UNISA’s admissions office as soon as possible. 


They can guide the deferment process, deadlines, required documentation, and any potential implications on your application or program. Keep in mind that deferment policies can differ based on the program you are admitted to, so reaching out for accurate information is essential.

Technicalities During The Application Process

During the UNISA application process, understanding the technical aspects is crucial for a seamless experience. This section addresses common technical concerns that applicants might encounter and provides insights into resolving them.

What Do I Do If I Encounter Technical Issues While Submitting My Application Online?

If you encounter technical difficulties while submitting your application online, there are steps you can take to address the issue:


  • Clear Browser Cache: Sometimes, technical glitches are caused by browser cache or cookies. Try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies before proceeding.
  • Try Another Browser: If the issue persists, try using a different web browser to access the application portal. Some compatibility issues might be browser-specific.
  • Check Internet Connection: Ensure that your internet connection is stable and strong. Weak connections can lead to errors during form submission.
  • Contact Support: If the problem persists, UNISA often provides technical support contact information on their website or application portal. Reach out to their support team for assistance in resolving the issue.

What Have You Learned?

  • Understanding the application process helps with effective planning and avoiding missed opportunities.
  • Key application dates for the 2024 intake are from 1 Sept to 13 Oct 2023.
  • The process includes steps like getting a UNISA student number, using the application portal, providing info, and uploading documents.
  • Essential documents include IDs, qualifications, and payment proof.
  • UNISA may offer fee waivers or discounts based on needs or under-represented groups.
  • Confirmation of receipt is through the portal, email, SMS, and status updates.
  • Start preparing 6–12 months ahead of the application period.
  • UNISA provides resources like the website, program search, and open days.
  • Response times vary for application outcomes.
  • Changes to programs or updates are allowed during specific periods.
  • Defer admission by contacting UNISA’s admissions office.
  • Technical issues can be addressed by clearing the cache, changing browsers, or seeking support.

Author: Lynnzelle Adams

Editor: Dylan Florence


Published Date: 17 September 2023

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