Student for a Day: what the visitors had to say
Thousands of school leavers came to Leiden between 29 March and 1 April to experience what it's like to study at university. Students at the Criminology and Psychology departments share their experiences. 'I know the subject I want to study, but I'm not sure about the university. That's why I'm here today: to get a feel for the atmosphere.'
Full concentration during a mini-lecture on Criminology in the Lorentz Hall, the most attractive lecture hall in the Faculty of Law. This is where Nobel Prize winner Hendrik Lorentz gave his lectures, when the building was still a laboratory. An inspiring idea for future students but their tight schedule meant they had to make their way quickly to the next part of the programme: the tutorials.
The prospective students had been asked to bring a newspaper article with them that featured the police. The articles were divided into three main activities for the Dutch police: detection, law enforcement and assistance. There was a lot to be learned from the articles: on closer reading, some of them that seemed to be about assistance were actually about detection or law enforcement. The assistanc activities of the police apparently attract less media attention.
The second part of the tutorial involved a quiz: how much do the budding students know about the police? Different aspects of law enforcement were discussed, with questions like: how many different police forces are there? (Trick question: there is only 1 national police force). And: how many people work in the police force? (Around 63,000). The prize: an enormous bag of Easter eggs, that the lucky winner shared with the rest of the group.
Criminology or Law?
One of the winners was Piet van Duin (20), a student of Civil Engineering at a university of applied sciences. 'Before I went to study Civil Engineering, I was already interested in Criminology. For me the applied sciences university is too much like school; I had different expectations, which is why I am here today. I now need to choose between Criminology and Law.'
Psychology: Information Fair
The potential students also had the chance to be a student for a day at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Besides lectures and tutorials, there was also plenty to discover at the Information Fair, where lecturers and students were able to tell the visitors all about the programme. Several lecturers gave a short demonstration of their research, such as a study on social anxiety in which the researchers were able to track where the test subjects were looking, by using a special set of glasses. Some of the budding students were keen to give it a try.
Job Market Café
On the floor below, the Job Market Café was in full swing, with three former students talking about their current jobs.'These kinds of things are really useful,' commented Sophie van den Bos (18, year 6). ‘It gives me the chance to find out what I can do with Psychology. But the lectures and tutorials are also interesting. You get a real feel of what it's like to be a student here.'
Francien van Steijn has already studied Sociology in Amsterdam for a year, so a university is nothing new for her. 'I have always been interested in Psychology, but I abandoned that idea a year ago because so many people were going into Psychology. But now, I'm not so bothered by it. And Leiden is a great city. I can easily switch cities, and I really like Leiden.'
Tasting the atmosphere
Sophie is not so sure of her choice. 'I am sure about Psychology, but not about which university. I've come today to taste the atmosphere, see what kind of people study here, what the lecturers are like and what the university buildings are like. At an Open Day you're generally in buildings that can take large crowds of people, but that's not where you will be studying. That's why Student for Day opportunities are so useful.'