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5 steps to confidently apply to uni

Date:07 March 2022
Author:Leslie Willis
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If you are reading this right now, you are probably about to apply for a program at the University of Groningen, or more specifically, Campus Fryslân. Glad to see you here! I hope this little guide finds you at a good point in time and will help you prepare for your application, get your plans set and ready to hand everything in on time.

1 Research Programs & Ask People about it

First things first. Apparently, you already know that you’d like to go to university. Good on you, your first milestone is set then! However, the amount of programs available can be very overwhelming. To not lose your mind while looking for a suitable program, I’d advise you to write down your interests. Write as much as you want and anything that could be interesting. There certainly is not a program that will cover all of your interests, so you’ll have to narrow it down. You can choose to color-code your overview. Red for very important, blue for semi-important, gray for not important. Make sure to have 3 red ones (max!). These are the bullet points that you shut throw into your google search or look up at the University’s website

It’s super hard to narrow it down? Well, luckily there are quite a few interdisciplinary programs at Campus Fryslan that allow you to combine different interests and focus on a broader range of topics.

Pro tip: You can always reach out to students that are enrolled in the program of your choice already. Get in touch with the study advisors of the university so they can connect you, visit (online) open days or simply contact people on LinkedIn. Students are happy to help and inform their future fellows!

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2 Make a List, What Do You need?

Now that you know your interests and are about to find the suitable program for you, it can be very helpful to make a list on the way. Preferably an excel sheet even. In that, you list the programs that you are interested in in the very first row. The next row is for the according application deadlines. The next for admissions deadlines, the next for things that you need to apply. Research the program(s) of your interest well. Do you need to write a letter of motivation? If you are applying from abroad: Do you need extra material? How about a letter of recommendation? 

Studielink will be the first address you’ll come across. It’s the Netherlands' online application portal. Want to include a Campus Fryslân bachelor or master programme? Find all information you need via the table below:

3 Be Ahead of Your Time!

You’ve got your beautiful excel up and running? Great! In that case, it’s time now that you get down all the dates. When to apply? When to decide? Yes, you’ll have to make a decision at some point. If you apply for one university only, it’ll be easy because your offer or refusal would reach you at approximately the same time. However, if you apply for other universities too, be aware that the time does not add up. You might have an offer and a deadline to accept it, while you haven’t even heard of another university yet. Best way to tackle this is to make a priority list. What program is the one you really want to get in? Which one is more like a plan B? If you sorted this out before the day comes that you have to decide, your future-you will be grateful. You can easily note down all the important dates in a calendar to keep track of the process. 

Talking about time, the application deadline for RUG (incl Campus Fryslân) is the 1st of May. Better start setting up that excel right now. 

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4 Write a Letter of Motivation - if necessary 

For some programs, you will have to write a letter of motivation. - Does that mean you’ll have to write a lot of different essays for every program you apply to? Not necessarily. Depending on how similar the different programs you apply for are (which is likely to be the case), the less you’ll have to change. Even if writing a letter of motivation is not on your requirements list, it can help you to write one anyway: You’ll reflect on what you want, whether it suits you and if you should go for it.

The letter of motivation is, as said above, indeed a personal essay in which you explain why you are interested in the subject. This can include what parts of your personal life reflect your interest. Are you, for example, part of a book club, an organization? Is it your passion to learn about the subject? Of course, you don’t need to be an expert in your field of interest before you apply - you can’t be that. Or you can and you are some kind of super-genius, but that’s a different story then. Make sure to structure your essay and to adhere to the word count (if there is one). Also: Do not write the whole thing in one day and be happy with it. Write a paragraph, a draft or indeed the whole thing, but then wait a few days. Talk to people who know you, show them what you wrote, take their advice. Then adjust your piece, wait again, and adjust again. It’s a process! Just be sure to start as early as possible so you have time for it to be a process.

5 Don’t forget about the money 

You know your deadlines, you found your subject and you wrote your letter? Good on you. Yet, there is one thing you should include in your planning. It’s all about the money. Studying of course involves costs such as the tuition fee, housing, food, life (= the fun things you’ll do with colleagues from university), health insurance, study materials (laptop, books, etc), the list goes on. It’s crucial to keep this in mind, talk to your parents or check your own finances and see if it’ll work out. You can also look for a student job that you’ll pursue along with your studies. Housing allowance (huurtoeslag) can help you out with financing your flat. 

Also: check and see if there are scholarships available! It seems like a thing only super smart people can apply for, but actually there are quite a few out there that you might be eligible for. Take this step into your time-schedule for your application process.

If you follow these steps and plan your application-process wisely, you’re good to go! Applying for university can get a little bit stressful. Obviously: You are deciding about your future, right? Therefore, taking a little break from applying every now and then, let sit what you have, talk about your plans and wishes with friends and family - all these are points you should definitely see as part of the process. Looking forward to welcoming you at Campus Fryslan

About the author

Leslie Willis
Leslie Willis

I am Leslie, 23 years old and currently studying the MSC Voice Technology at Campus Fryslan. Before I studied in Germany which also is where I am from. I’m a language enthusiast and I love music and coffee ..and ginger beer!