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Questions to ask when you're looking for a Bachelor's programme

Date:26 January 2022
Author:Avital
With over 45 Bachelor's programmes, there are plenty of options to choose from at the UG!
With over 45 Bachelor's programmes, there are plenty of options to choose from at the UG!

Going to university is exciting and finding the right Bachelor’s programme is a process that takes some time. The best way to figure out which direction suits you is by visiting universities during Open Days and talking to staff and students. It’s one thing to find a programme that’s interesting, but it’s just as important to find a place where you’ll feel at home during your studies, find like-minded people and be able to develop yourself.

Our Online Bachelor’s Week is right around the corner (taking place 31 January - 4 February) and to help you make the most of it, I’m here to give you some suggestions for questions you can ask during the presentations. As a current Master’s student at the University of Groningen, I have also had to make the choice you’re about to make, so I know that the wide range of options available can be a little overwhelming at times. I hope that by asking these questions, you’ll be able to get a better idea of what each programme offers and whether that’s what you want in your future studies.

What are the best courses according to current students and why?

Current students will be happy to honestly tell you which courses they loved and what made them so memorable. Was it the fact that the topic is currently on the news a lot or that the professor knew how to make everyone excited about a particular subject? Are their stories sparking your enthusiasm and do you find that you’re looking forward to these courses too? Then the programme will probably suit you! If you’re particularly interested in a specific subject within a broader field of study, don’t hesitate to ask whether that’s something that is discussed in the programme. This way you will know what to expect and can make the decision whether this does or doesn’t offer what you are looking for.

What are some challenges during this programme?

Let’s be real for a moment: you’re probably not going to love every single course you’ll take during your Bachelor’s. Every programme has courses that are challenging or that students are less enthusiastic about. It’s like everything else in life; some parts are great and some parts might not be your favourite but they’ll still teach you something useful. In my Linguistics programme, that was definitely Statistics. We linguists usually don’t love numbers that much, I guess… Hearing about the more challenging parts of the programme will allow you to assess whether you think you could manage to take on the challenge. Remember that you’re doing the programme to learn new things so don’t be intimidated, studying together with your fellow students will get you through the more difficult courses. Many many students have survived these courses before you!

How big or small is the programme?

Some of the Bachelor’s programmes at our university are really popular and have hundreds of students. Other programmes are very small in comparison. For example, I did a Bachelor’s programme with 25 students while a friend of mine did a programme with 400 students. I can tell you that both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, the content of your programme should be the main deciding factor when you’re making your choice, but thinking of where you’ll feel more comfortable is also important. If you’re comparing universities with similar programmes, looking at the number of students can be something to help you find the place for you.

What does a typical week look like?

University life is quite different from high school for most students. In high school, you might have had long days that were packed with back-to-back classes followed by sports or other activities and a pile of homework. At university, you’ll get a lot more freedom and with it more responsibility to manage your own time effectively. Some programmes have a lot of contact hours (the hours you’re actually in class) for lectures, seminars or lab work. Other programmes consist of a few contact hours each week and a lot of self-study time. Asking staff and students what a typical week looks like will give you a better idea of what you can expect.

Which forms of assessment are used in the programme?

Something to keep in mind when looking at Bachelor’s programmes is the fact that there are different forms of assessment for courses. For the most part, you’ll come across two kinds of assessments: exams and research papers. Sometimes, you will have a combination of these for your final grade or have some group projects to work on throughout the block. These forms remain fairly standard across faculties and disciplines at the UG, however, some programmes will focus more heavily on essay-writing (for example, the programmes at the Faculty of Arts). You can find the forms of assessment for each course in our course catalogue Ocasys. You can also find detailed information about the course contents, reading material and this year’s time schedule there, so it’s worth checking out if you’re interested.

Is it possible to study abroad for a semester or do an internship?

Depending on the programme, there will most likely be an opportunity to do a Minor during your studies. That is one semester in which you can explore a different field of study and dive into new topics. You can choose courses at your own faculty or a different one. There’s (in most cases) even the option to study at one of our many partner universities across the globe. If you’d like to get practical experience in your own field of studies, you may also choose to do an internship at a company during this one semester. The options that are available differ slightly per faculty and per programme, so if you’re really interested in a particular one, make sure to ask about it. 

Get in touch with us!

When you attend presentations at an Open Day or Online Bachelor’s Week, you will get a lot of information about the structure and content of the study programme. Our staff and students will tell you as much as they can in a short amount of time, but you might still be curious about certain things that haven't been covered. I want to encourage you to really use the opportunity to get all the answers that will help you with your decision. If, after the presentation, you still have some remaining questions, you can also reach out to our Student Ambassadors via email. Just scroll down the list and find your programme to see who to contact. You can also chat with our students via our website. For now, remember to register for our Online Bachelor’s Week and good luck with your decision!

Will I see you at the UG soon?

About the author

Avital
Avital
Hoi hoi! My name is Avital, Israeli by nature, Dutch by nurture and always on the lookout for cute cats! My life motto is "when in doubt, dance it out"! When I'm not dancing around my room, I'm most likely learning yet another language or working on my Linguistics degree.

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