17 February 2021 | Story Andre Damons


The registration process for senior students at the University of the Free State (UFS) is well underway; for the first time in the history of the university, students can only register online this year. Online registration and orientation for senior undergraduate and postgraduate students started on 8 February 2021 and will conclude on 26 February 2021. For first-year students, online registration and orientation will take place from 1 to 13 March 2021.

“At the end of 2020, the UFS was one of the few universities in the country that was able to complete its academic year in December. This is indeed an achievement to be extremely proud of. 2021 will be a year like no other for our students and staff. Apart from the normal activities on our campuses at the beginning of an academic year, we are following a minimalistic approach to the return of staff and students during the first semester, as our country is still in lockdown. It is also important to keep our staff and students safe,” says Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS. 

During the first semester, the UFS will continue with an online/blended learning and teaching approach for first-year and senior undergraduate students. This means that some classes will be online, some in contact or face-to-face mode, and others a combination of contact and online. “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a global shift towards the integration of technology into learning and teaching, which the university is embracing this year,” says Prof Petersen. 

Due to the national lockdown regulations and the capacity of the university’s infrastructure to adhere to physical distancing protocols, the UFS is limiting the number of students who will be returning to the campuses next month. Students will be contacted by their faculties if they are required to return to the campuses. 

“We look forward to welcoming back our students for the first semester. Strict safety protocols are maintained on all our campuses, including hygiene, social distancing, and the wearing of masks. It is also a privilege to welcome the new cohort of first-year students entering the university for the first time,” says Prof Petersen.

The university also offers online academic advising to help students plan their academic journey and to guide them through decision-making processes related to their study modules. Academic advising for senior and postgraduate students will take place from 1 to 26 February 2021, and for first-year students from 8 to 13 March 2021.

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