Guide to Applying to Study in The Netherlands

If you are interested in studying in Europe this year and you have chosen the Netherlands as your country of destination, you'll need to know everything about the admission process, application process, tuition fees, scholarships and work permit while studying. This post along with other related ones will give you all the help you need to plan your study in the Netherlands.


The Application process


The Dutch and British universities have some similarities in their application process. However there are also major differences.
 
When to Begin Your Application
Admissions application calendar usually opens between September or October for the following academic year. This means for the September 2015 intake, the application process opens on October 2014.
 
The deadline for submitting a admission application varies with respect to the type of university you make an application for and any entry restrictions including Numerus Fixus. This deadlines also differ for EU and non-EU applicants. In 2014 the deadline for most courses was May 2014. However, even here you'll find exceptions it's the same worth checking directly with the university you have interest in. There are also provisions for late applications but this is on a case by case bases. Some universities have their particular selection processes and you have got to adhere to their conditions and terms. In all circumstances, however, you really need set up your account on Studielink before 1st May 2015.
 
For University Colleges the entry process is completely different as prospective students might have to attend an interview in person. This has a large impact on some sort of student’s likely probability of gaining a university placement. University Colleges usually are much smaller institutions with much more clear limits to student numbers. As all students have to live on campus there is a physical limit to the amount of students they can recruit. Typically students should apply to University Colleges early enough for a January deadline. Applicants will then be invited to interview in February.
 
Your Academic Credentials
Universities in the Netherlands usually do not make offers according to your achieving selected grades at A-levels. There are a few exceptions however. For example, if you want to study engineering in all probability you'll need to possess A' level with C or above in maths and physics. Nevertheless, for most courses it will be important simply to possess A' levels. All courses require you to have studied six different subjects. Sometimes this can consist of  3 A-levels along with 3 GCSEs. In other cases it could be 2 A-levels along with 4 GCSEs. The International Baccalaureate is well understood by Universities in the Netherlands, other qualifications like national diplomas much less so. Therefore, if you are not taking A-levels it is important you check whether your qualifications is going to be recognized. In some situations BTEC qualifications might actually be better preparation for courses at Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences. The single most important subject that you might need at A' levels is maths; certain subjects like economics or business can't be studied at a Research University unless you've got maths A' levels.

 
General English Requirements

If your study program or course is in English, you will need to prove sufficient mastery of English by presenting the results you received from any of the following tests:

TOEFL, (minimum 550 paper based, 213 computer based, 78-90 Internet based).
IELTS, (minimum average of 6).
other tests may be accepted apart from the above to. You will need to check with your university if any other tests of English you have is accepted.
 
What you need to know if you get a University Placement
Universities in the Netherlands usually give unconditional offers similar to British universities. These offers will probably be conditional on you passing the A' levels you say you happen to be taking, or at the very least passing enough of your A' levels to fulfill the minimum entry requirement. You will need to produce originals of your certificates sooner or later during your very first term but most Dutch universities understand that there is a time lag involved with your receiving this kind of official documentation.
 
Should you be applying to a course without Numerus Fixus it is possible that you may receive an offer within one month of applying. If your course is subject to Numerus Fixus you might have to wait until the application deadline before the lottery process can even start.

If you do not meet the lowest A’ level standard required for your course you will not be able to enroll but in all other circumstances when you have your offer you happen to be guaranteed a place on the university of your choosing. It is quite common for universities to issue offers that you will find classed as unconditional in the United Kingdom (EEE). However, when you receive notification of your offer through Studielink it's going to describe your offer as conditional. Passing your A' levels will be the only condition. Dutch universities are not able to withdraw an offer after it is made.
 
How to Apply to a University in the Netherlands
First, you have to make contact with the international office of the university you what to study in to check whether or not your degree (obtained in your home country) is recognized in the Netherlands. Contacting the university's admissions staff is always helpful. They are usually the best people to advise you on when and how to go about your application. An education consultancy agency can also be very helpful in helping you pick the best school for you if you do not have a particular university in mind and you are looking for an affordable choice.
 
Although there is a centralized admissions service in the Netherlands; Studielink, it is not always necessary to apply through it in the first instance.
See the Studielink page of this website for a lengthy explanation of the application process.
 
If you'll like to work while studying in the Netherlands, read our Guide to Work and Study in the Netherlands