Our recruiting programme is broad in reach and rigorous in searching for scholars who will ultimately be placed on the programme. We collect thousands of applications in urban areas, peri-urban areas, townships and outlying areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, East London and Grahamstown. We achieve this through a network we have developed over the years, that consists of feeder schools, community centres, township-based education not-for-profit organisations, and libraries. In addition, we have focused outreach activities each year, including activations in shopping centres and other high density areas. Finally, we have partnerships with various print and broadcast media organisations, where we put out a call for applications.
We then take each application through a screening process to ensure that all requested documents and academic reports are attached. We pay particular attention to the scholars’ academic results – ensuring that the criteria is met as follows: 70% + in English, Maths and Natural Science and an overall report average of 70% and above. We look at the disclosed income statements to shortlist learners who come from low-income households. Once the applicant has been screened, they go through the first phase of selection:
Applicants who meet our basic application criteria are invited to write a benchmarking test for English and Mathematics. We test their comprehension and critical thinking skills, rather than content. An EQ test is also written to understand where each scholar sits on the emotional intelligence spectrum.
We conduct two-part interviews, for social and financial assessment of each applicant and their family. Interviews are conducted by a panel of volunteers consisting of SSP staff, SSP alumni and carefully selected volunteers.
The Differential Assessment Test (DAT) is administered by an external specialist service provider, and serves to map each learner’s potential across five indicators, namely: Verbal, Non-Verbal, Computation, Memory and Reading skills.
This is done as an outdoor camp to ensure maximum participation. Applicants are observed by the SSP Academic Team and Recruitment Team, looking at how well they participate in group activities, their communication skills, team orientation, leadership potential and communication with peers. A leadership and teen motivation presentation is also done here to equip applicants for the next phase of selection.
Selection & Placement:
After careful observation of all applicants, a panel sits to review each application. Applicants are matched to our partner schools (that have their own criteria), and interviews are scheduled accordingly with those partner schools, based on the profile and fit of each applicant. Ultimately, the SSP Scholarship is awarded to between 30 – 50 scholars.
The phases take place over a period of about 8 to 10 months.