Returning from a gap year abroad, Shane Moyce applied to study Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU). As there was no space left in the mainstream programme, he was admitted to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP) – something Shane today sees as a blessing in disguise.
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.
“It turned out to be a very good thing,” he says. “Yes, I had initially hoped to go straight into the degree, but I found that the EDP was a much more relaxed environment, and more conducive to learning.”
“The head start I needed”
The 29-year-old Shane enrolled for the EDP in 2012 and completed his Engineering degree at the end of 2016. He immediately jumped into his master’s studies in the same field, which he completed in 2018, also at SU. He currently works as a radio-frequency engineer, designing antennas for a company called Poynting Antennas in Pretoria.
“Being part of the EDP meant there wasn’t such a rush to learn everything in a short space of time, particularly with mathematics. It really gave me the head start I needed to succeed,” Shane explains. “The first year of the mainstream programme really throws one in at the deep end, and if you are starting straight from high school, that can be quite a shock. I’m sure many people drop out of Engineering studies in the first few months because often you’re just not ready for it.
“For instance, there is a big difference between high-school maths and the maths you do in your first year of Engineering,” he continues. “But I found that, by the time I switched to the mainstream programme, it wasn’t such a shock. The pace was still fast, but I was coping because I had that extra time to master the basic mathematics.”
Time to settle in and get skilled
Another benefit of the EDP, Shane says, is that it gave him the opportunity to get to know Stellenbosch campus extremely well. “By the time I started my first year of the mainstream Engineering programme, I really knew my way around, so I didn’t still have to try to learn the ropes of how the University worked, while also trying to absorb new academic material.
“The EDP also enabled me to blend my academic learning with other skills before I was thrown in at the deep end of the degree,” he says, adding that since he started his job, he has made use of a number of the skills he picked up during the EDP. “Apart from the maths, I also learnt good time management skills, which I still apply today.”
Making most of life up north
During his gap year, this resident of the seaside town of Fish Hoek in the Western Cape travelled extensively, including spending five months in Israel. Unsurprisingly, therefore, his long-term plans include gaining some work experience in electronics abroad. In the meantime, he is very happy in his current job, which he started in 2019.
A self-professed “water rat”, Shane has not been able to enjoy the water sports he took part in while growing up in Cape Town. However, living in Pretoria has opened up some different experiences for him and his wife. When not working, they enjoy taking trips to the Drakensberg mountains, where they go for hikes, and to Durban, where they can spend time in the warm ocean.