Assessing academic potential for university admission: The biographical questionnaire

  • PA Enslin
  • A Button
  • M Chakane
  • M de Groot
  • L Dison


A Biographical Questionnaire (BQ) has been used in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand since the mid-80s, to identify potential to succeed at university among applicants who have not met the requirements for automatic admission. As the key instrument in a special admissions process, the BQ's history and assumptions are discussed. Reflecting on the criteria used in reading responses to the BQ, the article argues that by allowing applicants to present themselves in the context of their own lives and engagement with schooling and disadvantage, the BQ is more likely to enable candidates to reveal the qualities necessary for success at university than other admission tests.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20(4) 2006: pp.433-448

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eISSN: 1011-3487