Roseline Kolony, a BCom (Management Sciences) graduate who is currently busy with her honours degree in Finance, believes she would have missed out on valuable learning opportunities had she not taken part in the Extended Degree Programme (EDP) at Stellenbosch University (SU).
SU’s EDP adds an extra year of study to a mainstream degree programme. The added year is used to offer students additional academic support to prepare them for mainstream subjects specifically and university studies in general.
Unlocks world of knowledge
Roseline was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to South Africa 17 years ago and completed all her schooling in Bellville South. Getting accepted into the EDP enabled her to work towards “what I actually wanted to study”, despite having a few reservations about her capacity to do so, she says. Although she had an idea that she wanted to study Management Sciences, she was not at all sure what this entailed. “I only became familiar with concepts such as investments and trading in my first year. Previously, I had no knowledge of these concepts. I made all these discoveries in my first year,” she says. “I started picking my majors in my second year of study, so that first year was very beneficial.”
Now working towards her honours at the University of Cape Town, she firmly believes that the EDP contributed to her success. “Many universities do not offer an extended learning programme, so I felt very privileged to have had this opportunity at SU.” she says. “I’ve come across a number of students who come from other provinces to do the EDP at Stellenbosch, as it is one of the few places that provide this unique opportunity.”
Extra year makes all the difference
Roseline says the extended time on the programme made all the difference to her personal development. “It was a great opportunity to show what I can do. Therefore, I often tell students not to be discouraged by the extra year. It really is a great bridging course between high school and university, and prepares you for your actual first year.”
EDP students do a few modules specific to the extended programme, along with some modules from the first year of the mainstream programme, with the remaining first-year courses completed in their second year of study. One EDP-specific course is Academic Literacy, and it is particularly the tips taught in this module that Roseline finds herself applying to this day. “It was a compulsory module that taught us various skills, including academic writing,” she explains. “It equipped me to understand what exactly academic literature is, and how to use peer-reviewed sources in my writing. I still use that knowledge regularly.”
Another bonus of the EDP, she says, was the close friendships she was able to forge. “I am an introvert, and I tend to shy away from people. But because our class had fewer than 30 people, I was able to get to know almost everyone and made great friends,” Roseline says. “I made lifelong friends, and we all supported one another during our studies.”
Aiming for own firm
Looking ahead, Roseline aims to become a chartered financial analyst (CFA), and in the long term, she hopes to have her own asset management firm. “I specifically want to position my firm to assist people like me who come from underprivileged backgrounds and have not had the necessary exposure to basic financial concepts. I’d love to help kickstart their financial careers,” she says.