The Pre-University Academy of the University of Groningen has been awarded € 640,000 by the University. The Academy provides education that challenges pre-university (VWO) school pupils to examine extra learning material in greater depth and thus make the transfer from VWO to university easier. The new funds will enable the Pre-University Academy to continue its activities in the coming years.
The grant marks an important moment in the development of the Academy. At the end of last year, the Board of the Pre-University Academy drew up an evaluation of the previous four years, as well as a plan for the next four years. That long-term plan gained wide-spread approved across the University. Once a promising initiative on a limited scale, the Pre-University Academy has now grown into a crucial element in the continuous talent development policy of the University of Groningen.
‘The Pre-University Academy is very important for the University’, says Rector Magnificus Prof. Elmer Sterken. ‘It is a window on the future, a means of coming into contact with talented new students. The University wants to welcome prospective students and set them on the right track as quickly as possible.’
Through its activities, the Pre-University Academy wants to make talented, motivated VWO pupils enthusiastic about following a university degree. Choosing the right degree programme is extremely important. That’s why the Pre-University Academy asks the following questions:
Do you know exactly what you want to do and what you are capable of?
Are you getting the best out of yourself?
Is your picture of our degree programmes accurate?
Are you the type of student in whom the University of Groningen will want to invest?
The Pre-University Academy organizes many kinds of activity together with the Humanities, Science and Social Sciences Support Desks, where students can ask for support with their profile assignments, and the Communication Office. They include lectures for school pupils, as well as mini symposia, profile assignment prizes, web classes and Master Classes. There is a Junior Honours College for particularly talented school pupils, or tailored courses.
How the step from VWO to university will go is difficult to predict for many prospective students. ‘If you want to know what studying means, contact the Pre-University Academy’, says Dr Arjen Dijkstra, executive coordinator of the Academy. ‘The web classes, for example, contain lots of assignments that are also used in the first year at university.’
Younger schoolchildren are not forgotten by the Pre-University Academy either. With the help of external funding, the Pre-University Academy can become involved with primary school children via the Northern Netherlands Knowledge Hub [Wetenschapsknooppunt Noord-Nederland]. Astronomer Prof. Peter Barthel, rector of the Pre-University Academy: ‘We use the Children’s University to develop an interest in science in primary school children, and then we offer talented VWO students a deepening of that knowledge and introduce them to fantastic University of Groningen degree programmes. Talent is everywhere!’
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