Gradesmatch: an app that assists with career guidance
Pressure is piled on students at a young age to decide on a qualification for a career that they may or may not wish to pursue in the future. To help assist the youth with their not-so-easy decision, Alina Hardcastle takes a look into Gradesmatch; a relatively new app that is helping students make informed decisions about their tertiary education.
The career-assistance app initially started in 2014 as a prototype system which was tested on a thousand learners in the Eastern Cape. The app re-launched in 2016 after receiving positive feedback from users. Lebogang Diale, who is responsible for finances and strategy at Gradesmatch, explains that the app started after recognizing that students have a general lack of understanding of universities’ application process and the admission point score system; [insufficient] knowledge about career and funding information; as well as a generally apathy towards their future.
He added that the development of the app was further driven after Gloria Sekwena, the mother of a student, Kgositsile Sekwena, was killed in a stampede while learners were attempting to secure a spot through late registration at the University of Johannesburg. “It was clear that Gradesmatch [could] be a solution in providing direction and clarity on steps to take in preparing for a career.”
How does Gradesmatch work?
Primarily targeted at high school learners i.e. grade eight to matric, the app connects learners with education and career opportunities.
It requires pupils to register their preferred subjects and answer questions about their personality traits and career goals; it then analyses this information and produces career choices, qualification programmes and lists universities that offer them.
On entering their subject marks in the app, pupils get an admission point score for each subject. It also compares this score to university-required scores. Diale explains that if a pupil does not meet any requirements, the app would search out diploma alternatives, and thereafter EFT qualification alternatives. Following this, students would be able to search for funding opportunities related to qualification of choice.
He adds that learners also have access to spotlights, which are interviews conducted with professionals and students of whom they can read their stories to be inspired. They can also ask questions to these spotlight personalities in an open forum and have their career or study queries answered.
Other services offered by Gradesmatch
For corporates who want to secure future talent through bursary programs. The app can facilitate recruitment through finding learners that fit the company’s profile.
Mentors can also make use of the system by keeping track of learner performance, their career and further education interests on the system and also keeping in contact with the learners. Diale says;” It’s a great tool for automating mentoring and removing administrative burdens as Gradesmatch already has career information (with over 600 careers), qualification information and funding information, so the mentor can provide directional insight for a learner who is more informed.”
In addition, parents will soon be able to create an account to help keep track of their children’s marks relative to their further education and career interests. Diale says, “Parents will also get access to a paid feature called Fees Match that provides information regarding the tuition and residential fees at institutions of interest, in a cost comparison format.”
Is there a signup fee?
For learners the system is free. For mentors the fee varies depending on the volume of learners and type of mentor requesting the service as Gradesmatch offer discounts for NGOs. Fees match will be a paid feature.
For more information about Gradesmatch, click here.