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Better Prepared 2024

You’ll start university in September! Are you nervous about that? You’re not the only one!

There are many reasons why going to university can feel like such a big transition. Maybe you’re the first one in your family to go to a (Dutch) university, it might be difficult to imagine what this new phase in your life is going to be like. Better Prepared will help you with just that!

NOTE: this programme is only accessible for Dutch speaking students. This means you’ll need to be able to communicate sufficiently in Dutch to follow the program, we don’t expect students to have a certain level of Dutch.

Start this exciting new chapter together with a group of motivated students who all want to start their studies prepared. Better Prepared offers a safe environment to get to know other students and VU Amsterdam. Will we see you in August?

Start your studies off on the right foot, start Better Prepared!

  • Interesting workshops focused on academic and personal development
  • Involved senior students who will answer your questions about studying at VU Amsterdam
  • Writing your first academic essay: the best essays win great prizes!
  • Finding you way and getting to know VU Amsterdam campus
  • Getting to know fellow students of the same faculty, sometimes even the same programme. Many participants become friends during Better Prepared! 

What does the programme Better Prepared consist of?

  • Feel at home at VU Amsterdam

    In order to feel comfortable at VU Amsterdam it’s important to know where all the facilities are, especially those that are important to you, for instance the Islamic prayer room or the sport facilities. The programme will take place at different locations at the VU Amsterdam campus, such as the roof terrace. There will be a fun exploration called ‘Discover VU’, where you’ll see different campus highlights. 

    The programme includes information about relevant VU services, such as the Honours Programme, the Diversity Office, Studentwellbeing, and studying abroad. Information about student organisations will also be provided, for instance about F.A.M., a student community especially for firstgeneration students. You’ll also get the opportunity to extend your network with VU-alumni. This way, you’ll already know where the relevant facilities are and what VU Amsterdam has to offer before you start your studies!

  • Personal development

    Knowing yourself is another important element to experience success during your studies. When you know what drives you, you’ll probably also be able to get through the classes and subjects you’re less interested in, because you know why you’re studying in the first place!

    The theme of Better Prepared is ‘setting your own course’, which is also the core of your academic essay. You will start with a mood board about the journey which led you to the VU and the journey ahead. You probably have dreams or goals what you would like to achieve with your studies! Of course you can also dive into events or happenings that are not related to your studies but shaped who you are now. You will be part of a smaller group in which you’ll discuss the mood boards: an excellent way to already get to know each other! Throughout the programme, there will be different speakers to tell you about their journey and what they learnt from them.

    Another important element of the programme is the Socratic method, which you will apply and really dive into the theme. Another element is the ‘note to self’, which is a letter you will write to your future self. A couple of months into your studies, this note will be sent to you be post and you will read back on your thoughts during Better Prepared. For instance, participants have told us that they feel more secure after Better Prepared: they are also competent to study at university, despite that they were nervous before starting. This way you will be looking back at the personal growth you accomplished and hopefully continue to do so during your studies and beyond!

  • Academic skills

    The programme includes different workshops aimed at developing academic skills. Why? Because every student needs them in order to start their studies prepared!

    During the first day we’ll go through the assignment and explain the academic essay. For your essay, you will develop a research question and find the right research methods to answer your question. Throughout the programme, different tools are provided that are needed to carry out the research and finish the assignment.

    The deadline for the academic essay is the fourth day, after the weekend. The next step is to practice presenting. Don’t worry, you won’t present for the whole group! It will be in the small group with students you got to know the last couple of days. The last day, parents, family and/or friends are invited to join and see how hard you’ve worked during the presentations. At the end of the day, the best academic essays will be rewarded with great prizes.

  • Dates and costs

    Better Prepared is a multi-day programme that takes place on the VU campus on 14, 15, 16, 19 and 20 augustus 2024. 

    Participation costs are €20, which include drinks and lunch.

    When you participate in all the workshops and hand in your academic essay on time, you'll receive a certificate.


Do you have any questions or want more information about Better Prepared?

Feel free to contact VU Pre-University College (PUC)

Send an email to

Pre-University College
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam