Student Success 

The UFS prides itself on being a leader in the South African higher education sphere when it comes to quality teaching and learning and student success.


Our initiatives to improve student success are recognised and acclaimed globally and have enabled us to create better success rates for all students while reducing the achievement gap between different groups of students (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 UFS institutional success rates over the past 10 years

Figure 1 shows that the UFS has made significant progress in success rates over the past ten years, with the general success rate improving by 13% from 72% to 85%. Figure 1 alsoFigure  shows the institutional success rates by racial groups. Within groups, Indian/Asian students’ success rates increased by 23% between 2010 and 2020. Similarly, African students’ success rates improved by 18%, coloured students’ success rates improved by 16%, and white students’ success rates improved by 10% between 2010 and 2020. The achievement gap between white and African students has halved from 16% in 2010 to 8% in 2020. 

Although these results affirm the commitment of the entire institution to the improvement of student success, there are specific initiatives that distinguish the UFS from other institutions.

Our student support initiatives are driven by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL)CTL has a presence on all three campuses, as well as a representative in each academic faculty to provide course-specific assistance.

Since 2007, the UFS has been leading the national South African Surveys of Student Engagement (SASSE) project, which is used to gather student perspectives on what they need to succeed and to give feedback on whether UFS success initiatives are having an impact. 

The UFS is also a leading partner in the Kresge Foundation-funded Siyaphumelela project, which focuses on promoting data analytics in South African higher education institutions.

The focus on improved student engagement and success has informed the development of high-impact practices, which are implemented at scale.

UFS Student Success Skills Module (UFSS)

UFSS is a compulsory module for students from all study fields, aimed at providing support and strategies to assist them in successfully transitioning to higher education. In addition to providing students with academic success skills, the module also develops entrepreneurship and employability from the first year. 

Academic Advising

Academic advisers assist students in reaching academic success by providing general and career advice, helping students to align their educational paths with their career dreams. Academic advice is offered to an average of 13 000 students per year.

The UFS leads the development of academic advising nationally and is the only university that presents training for other tertiary institutions in this field.


Academic Language and Literacy Development

We support students in the development of their academic language by means of academic literacy courses. An average of 10 500 students enrols for these courses every year. 

Through our Write Site academic writing consultation service, we meet students’ subject-specific writing needs in the form of online or face-to-face workshops, covering all aspects of requirements for written assignments. The Write Site supports an average of 15 000 students per year.

Academic Student Excellence Tutorial Programme (A_STEP)

A_STEP offers regular peer-facilitated group tutorials, integrating content with learning skills and study strategies. The programme employs on average 300 tutors per year and an average of 12 000 students participate in tutorials every year. 

We also offer one-on-one tutor assistance via telephone.
A_STEP Call Centre
T: +27 51 401 2444

New High-Impact Practices
In 2021, the UFS piloted two more high-impact practices that will be implemented from 2022. Watch this space! 

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