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School: El Shaddai Christian School, Durbanville, South Africa
Studied: Cambridge International AS Levels in Maths, Geography, English Language and Literature and Physical Science, and Cambridge International A Level in Afrikaans
Went on to: BSc & BSc Hons degrees in Geo-Informatics and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, at Stellenbosch University, South Africa – now working in optical fibre network design
Career plans: A leadership role in a geo-informatics company
Coba Kellerman gained seven Cambridge IGCSEs before taking four Cambridge International AS Levels, in Geography, Maths, English Literature and Language and Physical Science, together with a Cambridge International A Level in Afrikaans. ‘I was advised that my choice of AS subjects would keep my university options open,’ she said, ‘and even though I was keen to study geography, there were many more degree courses available to me because of the range of subjects I studied at school.’
My Cambridge International AS Level studies had already covered much of the content included in my first year courses, making the transition from school to university much easier
Coba eventually decided to apply to study geo-informatics at Stellenbosch University (SU) where, she said, her Cambridge International AS Levels were given a higher weighting than some equivalent high school qualifications. This enabled Coba to get a place on her chosen course and also to secure on-campus accommodation.
In South Africa, students can enter university after completing AS Levels as these qualifications are equated to a Grade 12 which is the exit point for the local examination system. Cambridge International AS Levels accepted for university exemption purposes by Universities in South Africa. Learn more.
‘Initially I wasn’t keen on living in a university residence but then changed my mind - only to find the deadline for applications had passed,’ she said. ‘I spoke to the university and because of my Cambridge qualifications I was offered a choice of places, which made a world of difference to my studies. I had endless opportunities to learn, grow, make mistakes, network and become a leader in various capacities – it was actually the best thing that could have happened to me at that time.’
Coba also found that her Cambridge studies had prepared her well for undergraduate life. ‘At school I became used to handling enormous amounts of study material,’ she said, ‘and this really counted in my favour at university, especially during my first year as I was one of the few students able to cope with the sharp increase in workload. In addition, my AS Level studies had already covered much of the content included in my first year courses, making the transition from school to university much easier.’
Coba went on to complete a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at SU and found that the Cambridge work ethic and study skills instilled at school continued to make a difference to her approach. ‘Cambridge courses are challenging but they help shape our minds at a time when they are still growing and developing,’ she said. ‘It’s crucial that we learn to stretch our minds, and Cambridge qualifications offer this valuable opportunity.’
Coba now works for a company involved in optical fibre network design while looking ahead to her future career, ‘hoping to find my niche in the geo-informatics (GIS) sector, possibly in an urban context,’ she said. ‘I’m excited about the growing use of GIS across Africa and it would be a joy to be part of a company that can spread the benefits of GIS across borders, and eventually to take on a leadership role so I can share the skills and perspectives I have gained.’
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