Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Better Prepared 2024

Is studying new to you? Did your parents not study at a (Dutch) university? Do you want to start your studies well prepared? Do you want to learn more about research, academic reading and writing and studying effectively? And would you like to get in touch with your fellow students already?

Making a successful start at university is something all students want. As a ‘first-generation student’, you will be the first in your generation or in your family to study at a (Dutch) university. A new phase in your life has begun and we know that you are highly motivated to get the best out of yourself and your studies.

Do you want to start your studies well prepared? The Better Prepared programme will help you do just that! You will get to know VU Amsterdam, meet fellow students, get the chance to improve your academic and study skills and gain insight into your own motivation, choice of study, talents, competences and pitfalls.

Senior students and well-known (VU) guest speakers will share their experiences and talk about their successful (study) choice moments, their academic career, but also the struggles, (mis)steps and decisive moments that shaped their academic course. With a group of involved VU lecturers and students, we will do interesting and effective workshops, all focusing on your successful start at university. All workshops will be given partly online and partly on campus, alternating between lectures and active seminars, so that you can get started yourself!

Note: this programme is only offered in Dutch and aimed specifically at students who are familiar with and/or attended the Dutch secondary educational system.
Make sure your level of Dutch is sufficient before applying.

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

• Meet fellow students and senior students

• Take interesting and informative workshops

• Write your first academic essay

• Learn from well-known and inspiring VU lecturers & alumni

• Explore your own study motivation and study choice

• Discover your talents, competences and pitfalls

What will you do during the Better Prepared programme?

  • What does the programme include?

    Over five days, you will participate in activities that prepare you for studying at university and you will learn to find your way around VU Amsterdam. You will also attend workshops and lectures (both in Dutch) on topics such as research, academic skills and studying. This will help you gain better insights into your own motivation, study choice, talents, strengths and - let's be honest - 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!

  • Workshop - Academic skills

    In this workshop, you will gain rapid insight into the most important academic skills, such as effective communication with your lecturer, collaborative strategies with your fellow students, essential differences between high school and university, the importance and use of academic writing and presentation skills and the difference between citing, paraphrasing and plagiarising. Please note that you will not only be listening, but also doing a lot to practise these skills!

  • Workshop - Storytelling

    In this workshop, you will gain insight into your life story: Who are you and what are your academic strengths that will help you be successful at university? What will enable you to have a good academic career? And what are the stories of others?

  • Workshop - Mind mapping self-management

    This workshop will give you insight into your already existing skills and the new skills that you want to develop before you start at university. Senior students and study counsellors lead this workshop and share their (mis)steps and experiences in using their available skills and practicing needed skills like goal setting, self-determination and self-direction. At the end of the workshop you will have a blueprint of your pitfalls and qualities!

  • Workshop - Research skills and writing an academic essay

    In this workshop, based on the life stories brought up in from the other workshops, we will do some real research using the steps of the ‘empirical cycle’. You will become an expert on your life story or the shared stories of others with an emphasis on the theme of 'taking an academic course'.

    We practice going through the steps of the empirical cycle:

    1. All shared stories are inventoried for usability;
    2. A question is formulated that you think you can answer with the help of this data;
    3. You are going to analyse the research material;
    4. You will formulate conclusions and any follow-up questions.

    You then write an essay of no more than 2000 words. At the end of the programme, the winning essay will be announced and the winner of the 2024 incentive prize will be announced.

  • Workshop - Student life

    During this workshop, senior students will familiarise you with the social VU Student Life Community, which consists of numerous study and student associations. On the one hand, the workshop offers the stage to a well-known and successful guest speaker who will tell you how he/she has walked the social path within his/her academic study career. On the other hand, we will talk to guest speakers about their involvement in the VU Student Life Community. They represent the whole spectrum of study and student associations and share their experiences, prejudices, resistances and successes during the Online Student Life Meet & Greet.

  • Faculty elective workshops

    In addition to the general workshops, there are also various faculty workshops to follow. These workshops are organised by the various faculties of VU Amsterdam and focus, for example, on the questions: How can you best manage yourself? Who are you and where do you want to go professionally? How do you create a network and work together?

  • Closing Better Prepared

    As a festive closing, each student presents his or her essay. The winner of the best essay will also be announced.

    PLEASE NOTE: submitting your essay is mandatory to obtain your certificate of participation!

  • 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. 

    You will be welcomed every day at the booth in the central hall of the VU main building.

    Participation costs are €20, which includes drinks and lunch.
    Do you want a certificate at the end of the programme? Then you will have to participate at all workshops every day and hand in the essay on time. You will succeed!

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