Universiteit Leiden

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Wisselstroom funding for Leiden University and University of Applied Sciences Leiden

Leiden University has received Wisselstroom funding for three projects to improve the information provision for prospective students and help them choose and transfer between study programmes.

These are a project between University of Applied Sciences Leiden and the Computer Science and Data Science & Artificial Intelligence programmes; a collaboration with the Public Administration programmes at The Hague University of Applied Sciences; and ICLON participation in a larger consortium of institutions to improve the information provision in the province of South Holland.

Choosing what to study is a challenging process for secondary-school students. For pre-university education (VWO) students, an academic (research universities or WO) programme seems the obvious choice. But the dropout rate of VWO students from WO programmes is high because the programmes on offer do not match more practically focused VWO students. At the same time, some higher professional education (applied science universities or HBO) students would prefer to switch to a WO programme after completing their propedeuse (first-year curriculum).

Quicker and easier

‘Unfortunately, there are still misconceptions about the nature and value of WO and HBO programmes’, says Hanneke Wegman, Head of Education and Research Policy at Leiden University. ‘By offering joint information activities, we hope to dispel these. We also want to make it easier for students who want to switch by limiting the extra study time where possible. Our joint efforts should make it quicker and easier for students to end up in the place that suits them best.’

Happy in HBO or WO

‘The dropout rate is high in both HBO and WO, a sign that many students are not in the right place’, says Lynn Epping, Programme Manager of the Computer Science programme at University of Applied Sciences Leiden. ‘A mismatch isn’t in the interests of the student, the educational institution and certainly not the labour market, where a balance of both practically and more theoretically oriented academic young professionals is needed. We want to use this award to lead present and prospective students to the right place, regardless of whether that is HBO or WO. This means that a practical-minded VWO student may fit better at a university of applied sciences and an ‘academic’ HBO student may be better off continuing their studies at a research university after completing their propedeuse.’

More than information

The activities that the Wisselstroom grant will be used for are not limited to joint information provision. In Public Administration, for instance, they will also involve giving study advisers more time to guide students who are unsure and making some first-year courses available to each other’s students. ICLON is also going to work with institutions from the South Holland area to develop and improve teaching materials that give secondary school students a better idea of how to choose what to study and the differences between studying at an applied-science or research university.

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