Applying to Universities in the Netherlands

Studying in the Netherlands, you say? Bet you’ve never thought of that. I hadn’t either. It was just luck that I chanced upon an advertisement in a newspaper for the University of Groningen. This further inspired me to check out their various programmes. And guess what? The University of Groningen had over 30 programmes in English with subjects ranging from arts and law to science, engineering and AI with everything in between.

I decided to do a bit more research and ended up applying to a total of three universities in the Netherlands. Although most universities offer mostly Dutch bachelor degree programmes, there are many universities which offer high quality bachelor degree and master degree programmes in English. This, in general, is a guide to bachelor programmes though it somewhat applies to master degree programmes as well.

One of the great things about Dutch universities is that their admission requirements are relatively low alongside a high quality university education. For ISC, you need a percentage of 75 across 5 subjects and for CBSE(Grade 12), you need a minimum of B1 in 5 subjects. Unfortunately, they don’t see Indian state boards as equivalent to the Dutch examinations. Certain programmes have tougher requirements but it’s mentioned wherever it is so. Also, certain programmes are classified as Numerus Fixus(fixed number) programmes. These programmes have only a certain number of seats and hence have an additional selection procedure such as an online examination or essay writing.

Dutch(European in general) bachelor degrees are generally only 3 years long but are increasingly being accepted for post-graduate programmes in the United States and other countries. It’s a lot more affordable(often twenty to thirty lakh rupees cheaper) than other study destinations like the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and Australia.

Click here for some reasons to study in the Netherlands.

To start off my guide, here are the universities which offer a good number of programmes in English:

  1. University of Groningen
  2. Maastricht University
  3. Radboud University
  4. University of Amsterdam(very well known for its media and communication studies)
  5. TU Delft(top 50) and TU Eindhoven don’t have very many programmes in English but their Computer Science Engineering and a few other programmes are in English.

To apply, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Create an account on Studielink. Studielink is the common application system which all universities in the Netherlands use. The process is fairly simple and filling out your home address is the only hassle due to limited character spaces.

Step 2: You can apply to a total of four programmes(across multiple universities). Decide which four programmes you would like to apply for. Applications for September of the next year begin in October of the current year and close by April/May.

Step 3: After applying for a particular programme on Studielink, you will receive an email with details for the university’s admission portal. You will have to upload all your various documents here.

Step 4: Begin preparing your documents. Here is a list of what most universities ask for. Your admission is based on your predicted grade list(your school probably knows what this is) and your motivation letter(you write why you want to study a particular subject and why at that particular university). If your school keeps predicted grade lists confidential, you can ask your school to email it to the admissions office of the university. In general, their instructions are crystal clear and you won’t be faced with any confusion. The University of Groningen and Maastricht University do not have any application fees as such, whereas TU Eindhoven does. I am unsure about the others.

Step 5: Once you have uploaded all the required documents, submit your application. The university will contact you should anything be missing. Once you have sent everything, they will begin processing your application. In all probability, within six weeks, you will get your offer letter from the university and all that’s left to do is to accept the offer.

As far as the housing goes, it is a lot more challenging. Unlike the U.K. and the US, universities do not have any on-campus housing as such. It is the job of the student to look for accommodation themselves. As long as you start early, it shouldn’t be a problem. Here is a guide to looking for housing in the Netherlands.

I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll be writing a guide to applying to universities in Hong Kong soon so check it out.

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