Should I go to Wits or UCT?


What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these universities? Is one better than the other?


There’s a saying we have at UCT.

“If you check a Wits student’s email you will find 2 letters. The first is their letter of acceptance to Wits and the second is their UCT rejection letter.”

This should answer the question of which university is best, but let me tell you about the pros and cons of choosing to come to the University of Cape Town (where I currently study):


  • Almost all UCT students will agree on the difficulty of the UCT course work. If you choose UCT, get ready to be challenged by the difficulty and high volume of the work you have to do. However, this is a very big advantage because the high standard of the work verifies the high standard of the graduates.
  • Another bummer is if you are not from Cape Town you will have to pay a lot of travel costs, meaning that money could be coming out of your allowance.
  • UCT also has high tuition fees, but many donors are willing to fund UCT students and you could argue it is worth it to study in the best university in Africa.
  • If you are a strong sports fan them you might be disappointed by UCT’s failure to excel in sports. Apart from this years cricket team it is hard to find another sports team that can challenge for the varsity cup.


  • Cape Town is arguably the most beautiful city in Africa and maybe the world. It has the best of both worlds in that you see the beauty of nature (Table Mountain is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world) and you also see the fast paced urban life (Africa’s start-up central)
  • If you enjoy going out then you don’t have to choose Wits just because it is in Johannesburg. Cape Town also has its own party central, a whole street called Long Street.

The important thing to keep in mind when choosing between Wits and UCT is to just google search, “Best university in Africa” and see which one remains on top :wink:


Wits is better.


UCT should be your only option.


Wits is to UCT what tinned food is to home-cooked meals. No-one opts for it as a first choice, but sometimes there’s no other option and you just have to make do. Wish I could give a more balanced view for my friends in Joburg, but there really is no comparison, and UCT comes out top in quality of tuition, facilities, atmosphere, location, and all-round student experience.

Both are good universities, and you’d enjoy either, but in the words of street philosopher and hip-hop phenomenon Nas, “there’s one life, one love, so there can only be one king.” :wink:


I found it really difficult to decide between Wits and UCT as they are both excellent universities. Anyone who goes to Wits would vouch for Wits and anyone who goes to UCT would vouch for UCT.

As a last minute decision I chose UCT for the following advantages:

  • UCT would give me a completely new experience as I would be living in res whereas going to WITS would mean that I live at home
  • The degree I wanted to study (Human Anatomy and Physiology) is only offered at UCT (Wits and other universities only offer one or the other not both)
  • The university is extraordinarily beautiful with a view of the mountain and it is near the sea

At the end of the day I think it really depends what you’re looking to experience at University. If you are not from Joburg or Cape Town and are going to stay in res then whichever university you choose is going to be a new experience and a chance to explore your independence. For this reason I would personally recommend living away from home as it has been such an opportunity for personal growth and freedom in my opinion. However, res life is definitely not for everyone and some people can find the adjustment incredibly difficult in which case staying at home might be a better choice (it is also less expensive than res).

In the case that your degree of preference is only offered at one University and not the other, then this should without a doubt be the determining factor as that is why you are going to university in the first place. For example my older sister was going to go to UCT to study Chemical engineering but her degree of preference was Biomedical engineering which is only offered as and undergraduate degree at Wits so Wits was obviously the better option. If for example you are interested in marine biology, than location-wise, UCT would be a better choice as you will have more opportunities to get hands-on experience doing field work by the ocean.

Some may argue that Wits has greater diversity in terms of people than UCT which may be true but from my own experience there is a great variety of people who attend UCT. Whether you engage with people who are different to yourself really depends on your own personal effort.

It should be noted that UCT is not renowned for their excellence in sports but they do offer almost every sporting activity possible if you are looking to get involved in this.

In terms of the social-life, both UCT And Wits are located in areas which more than accommodate for students’ eager partying drives, though UCT would probably be considered one-up on Wits in this regard purely because of its location and strong emphasis on student-life.

Another consideration for many students is the fees of each university. Both universities offer specific faculty scholarships and there may be other scholarships available which largely depend on your matric results. You cannot apply for these scholarships as they are given automatically to students who apply with a certain number of credits (either based on Admission Point Score or Faculty Point Score).

Both universities offer a top class education which will challenge you and develop your thinking enormously from your school days. For this reason I would rather look into the subtle differences between the two than trying to decide which one is better in terms of the quality of the degree.