We’ve all heard of universities and colleges, but have you heard of “university colleges”? I’m particularly excited about this blog post because I spent many a year working at a university college and had a wonderful experience there. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Backing up now…
In the Netherlands there exists a relatively new concept in higher education – university colleges. These are small, selective, liberal arts and sciences colleges started in association with much larger, established research universities. The language of instruction is English and the student bodies are highly diverse, with students enrolling from a myriad of countries and coming from many different cultures and backgrounds. The faculty are just as diverse (I used to share an office with two Dutch nationals, a Belgian, an Israeli, a Venezuelan, and an Ethiopian, and just down the hall were colleagues from England, Canada, Russia, and Germany, to name just a few examples), so students truly enjoy an environment wherein they can learn as much from the people around them as from their books and assignments! Furthermore, most students attending a university college will earn their bachelor’s degree in three years (instead of four, as is the case in the United States) and the cost of attending, relatively speaking, is a great deal. For instance, at Amsterdam University College the cost of tuition per year is 4,076 euro ($4,507) for Dutch and EU students, and 11,666 euro ($12,902) for non-EU students.
Now, there are a number of university colleges in the Netherlands, and each is unique in its own way. Here is a list for you to browse, if you’re curious to learn more about each one:
- Amsterdam University College, located in Amsterdam and associated with both the University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam.
- Erasmus University College, located in Rotterdam and associated with Erasmus University.
- Leiden University College, located in The Hague and associated with the University of Leiden.
- University College Groningen, located in Groningen and associated with the University of Groningen.
- University College Maastricht, located in Maastricht and associated with the University of Maastricht.
- University College Roosevelt, formerly known as Roosevelt Academy, located in Middelburg, and associated with Utrecht University.
- University College Twente, located in Enschede and associated with the University of Twente.
- University College Utrecht, the first established university college (dating back to 1997), located in Utrecht and associated with Utrecht University.
Also, starting in September 2016, there will be a new university college opening its doors – University College Tilburg. If you’re a trail blazer and interested in being a member of the college’s founding class, leave your name and e-mail address here!
All of this is to say that if you’re a motivated student, value an international environment, and think that earning your bachelor’s degree abroad could be an awesome opportunity, I’d highly recommend these university colleges to you. Keep in mind, however, that they are highly selective, honors programs. For instance, in order to apply to Amsterdam University College you need to have a “secondary school diploma equivalent to the Dutch VWO (the highest level of high school in the Netherlands)” – coming from the United States, this translates to mean that you’ve taken a minimum of four Advanced Placement courses in high school (see this post to read more about the many good reasons to take AP courses) OR that you already have one year of college/university credit completed by the time of enrollment at the university college.
In short, if you’ve got an adventurous spirit, a strong high school record, and the desire for excellence and diversity in your undergraduate classroom, definitely check out these Dutch university colleges – they have a lot to offer and any one of them would be a wonderful place to spend your undergraduate days!