The President's Award


Would enrolling for The President’s Award benefit a grade 10 scholar in South Africa to get accepted in overseas universities?


Hi @rvdmerwe1,

Thanks for your question. Yes, absolutely. It’s great for three main reasons:

  1. Internationally recognized, so it’s easy for admissions officers to understand and appreciate (compared to say the NSC/IEB, which they are less familiar with)
  2. It shows commitment over a number of years. This is really important to the US, because they want to see depth of engagement. Getting Gold Presidents Award is very valuable (I’d say much more than only Bronze or Silver)
  3. It shows a well-rounded student - the US love this.



Dear Duncan

Thank you for your reply re The President’s Award. It helped a lot, because I was looking for an objective opinion.

Our daughter, Frances van der Merwe, is currently in grade 10. She is a top achiever in many areas, i.e. academics, culture and sport.

How can you help her with her future plans? And what would it cost?

My brother lives in the States in SC and we are thinking of visiting the US next year to have a look at Universities in SC or nearby.

My brother-in-law is a Professor at Stellenbosch University and according to him and his wife, SA’s pre-graduate courses are still counting overseas. They say it is better to do any post-grad studies overseas.

What are your thoughts on this statement?

We had her individually tested for subject choice in grade 9 and she is starting to job shadow some of the careers that were recommended. She is taking German as a subject and going to Germany for 4 weeks in December as an exchange student. We have 2 sets of very good friends in Germany too, so we are thinking of Universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland too.

Apologies for the many questions, she is the eldest, I am sure we will know more the second time around.

Kind regards

Riana van der Merwe


Dear Riana (@rvdmerwe1),

Great to hear of your daughter’s achievements and the ambition to study abroad.

Absolutely, we can help with her academic and extracurricular development as well as exploring university options, writing applications and doing interviews.

Your postgrad vs. undergrad point is a common thought for many parents. I would argue that South Africans are underrepresented at undergraduate level in the US. Less than 0.2% of the 1,000,000+ international students in the US are South African.

There are so many amazing reasons to pursue undergraduate study in the US and I think that people resort to the postgrad option (and in many cases unfortunately it never happens) simply because families don’t feel confident about applying during high school. One of the main reasons is unfamiliarity and lack of support during the application process, which is the problem we target.

I’ve just sent you an email to invite you to a free “initial consultation” to talk more about your daughters goals and how we can help to make it happen!