The basics
THE Netherlands: Applying to University

Top tips on how to apply to university in the Netherlands

With the best tips from industry professional Désirée van Gorp, this is your guide on putting together a great application to university in Netherlands.

745

Applying to a university abroad can be a daunting experience in any country. There is a sense of going into the unknown. You will usually get taught at school about applying to university in your home country, but the option of studying abroad can often be left out. But it’s all ok, we are here to help!

 

We’ve spoken to Désirée van Gorp, Professor of International Business and the former Program Director of the International MBA at Nyenrode Business Universiteit, to give you some expert industry-standard tips on how to put together the perfect application for a Dutch university. Nyenrode is one of the only private universities in the Netherlands, so competition for places is fierce. As a result, it is fair to say that Désirée is a pretty good person to speak to when it comes to this kind of thing…

 

Have a look at this article for our detailed breakdown of the study abroad application process in the Netherlands.

 

Q: How important is it to get good grades for a Dutch university application?

 

A: “Yes, grades are very important and the direction the applicant is going in is important. Today, it is also important to look at the development of the student throughout school, the role they have played in the past and their outlook for the future.”

 

“We certainly look at grades, and that is certainly important. But, apart from that, personality is significant. What somebody has done, their aspirations for the future and that kind of thing.”

 

“We have 3 values at our institution: leadership, entrepreneurship and stewardship. We also look at how a person could contribute to the overall community of the university, so that is definitely an extra aspect.”

 

 

Q: So, extra-curricular activities can be just as effective as good grades for a successful application?

 

A:  “Yes, they can. Grades ultimately decide whether you meet the course requirements, but definitely those things [extra-curricular activities] are a very important factor for us. We look at what the student has done before they come to the university, and what that shows about their development in the future.”

 

Q: Is it true Dutch universities do not like it when you boast or ‘show off’ about your achievements in an application to university?

 

A:  “Yes, I think that is true. You have to write it in a way that hides it.”

 

Q: What are the key things that a student wanting to go to a Dutch university needs to include in their application?

 

A:  "Well there’s the obvious things like grades and good language results, but I think for Dutch universities they also want to know why you chose that particular university and not other universities. They want to hear about what you want to achieve, that is certainly important. Depending on whether you are doing a Masters, it may be crucial to show what professional experience you have within the industry as most of the degrees require you to have some experience."

 

Q: How important is it to be able to speak English at a good level?

 

A:  "It is a prerequisite to be able to speak English well. Thank you for saying that, because that is one thing that is really important in an application. You definitely need good English, and usually you will have to do tests to make sure you can follow the course programme. Otherwise you won’t be able to keep up with the programme."

 

 

Q: What is the most important characteristic that a student needs to have to be successful in their application?

A:  "I really do think that it is important to show what you can bring to the university community. At our university, we do not have huge numbers so it is crucial for us to have an idea of how you will contribute to the community. You need to be able to prove you can add value to the university. That, for our university, is a key element."

 

Now you know the tricks to putting together a great application, it’s time for you to start searching for your perfect university in the Netherlands.

Search for a course

Netherlands
Study level*
About Author

Raif is a huge football fan and loves an infographic. He studied on the NCTJ-accredited University of Sheffield Journalism course, which has recently been voted the UK's number one for journalism in the Guardian's University League Table. Raif will look out for any mentions on social media, and will always be happy to help with any queries on your study abroad journey.