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Be Better Prepared for university!

The transition to university is fun, but it can also be a bit stressful because there is so much to do to prepare for it.

If you are from the Netherlands and your parents have not studied at university, then good preparation is especially important. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the Better Prepared programme for ‘first-generation students’.

Note: this programme is only offered in Dutch. Make sure your level of Dutch is sufficient before applying.

  • What will you do?
    Over four days, you will participate in activities that prepare you for studying at university and will learn to find your way around VU Amsterdam. You will also attend workshops and lectures (in Dutch) on topics such as research and academic skills. This will help you gain better insights into your own motivation, study choice, talents, strengths and—so you can be honest with yourself—weaknesses. You will be guided by student coaches and will meet some fellow students. Start your studies off on the right foot, start Better Prepared!
    Watch the VIDEO
  • What is on the agenda?
    For four days, you will follow two interesting workshops a day. On the last day, there will be a closing celebration and you will give a short presentation. The following workshops and lectures are on the agenda:
      • College Research Skills
        You will conduct real research based on the ‘empirical cycle’. You will then write an essay for which you could win a prize!
      • Storytelling & Empowerment Workshop
        You will gain insights into your life story. What are your academic strengths that will help you be successful at university? What are the stories of others? And what will enable you to be successful in your academic career?
      • Mind Mapping Self-Management Workshop
        You will gain insights into your current skills and the skills you will develop. You will also work on goal-setting and self-management. You will be ‘learning to study’.
      • Academic Skills College
        You will work on academic writing and presentation skills, looking at questions such as: What is the difference between citing, paraphrasing and plagiarising? And how do you get from research data (qualitative and quantitative) to written text, a report or even your first academic essay?
      • Social Innovation Battle Workshop
        You will work with student coaches on developing solutions to an actual problem faced by VU Amsterdam. The best solution will be officially presented to the VU Executive Board. Are you socially engaged and committed to innovation? Then this is your chance to make a direct contribution based on your knowledge and vision.
      • Student Life Workshop
        Senior students will familiarise you with the social and very diverse VU Student Life Community through campus tours, taking a look inside your faculty and speaking to other students in your bachelor’s programme. The student coaches help with this and also make it fun!!        
        Experiences of past participants and student coaches.
  • Dates and costs:
      • Better Prepared will be held on 12, 13, 14 and 17 August 2020. You will be welcomed every day at the booth in the central hall of the VU main building.
      • Participation costs €30.00, which includes drinks and lunch during all four days. Do you want a certificate at the end of the programme? Then you have to participate every day and hand in the essay.


For more information, contact the VU Pre-University College via