Dutch student unions criticise universities over their unlawful selection process

Dutch student unions criticise universities over their unlawful selection process

Student unions claim that some universities are using unlawful systems when selecting prospective students for future courses. 

Selection criteria

In 2014, the Dutch government decided to abolish the central lottery, which had limited places available, and replace it with a system where universities and colleges could select students themselves.

The aim of this was to make sure that a student is selected, based not only on their intellect but also on other factors such as their motivation letter and personality. This would then ensure that the right students got on to the right programmes.

The issues

According to the student organisations ISO (Intercity Student Association) and LRS (National Student Law Office), however, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Groningen and Leiden University are all amongst the list violating the equal opportunity selection process.  

According to their research, universities test for intellect, but neglect taking into account a prospective student’s motivation or personality.

For example, if a student sat an entrance exam to be able to get onto a Bachelor of Medicine and didn’t do well, then they simply wouldn’t qualify, which the unions claim, is illegal. 

"It is compulsory for prospective students to be selected based on different criteria," Gabriel van Rosmalen, chairman of LSR, said according to ANP.

ISO chairman Jan Sinnige states, "It is a serious matter when universities exploit the local selection in this way and we will certainly raise this with the ministry."

Student unions, ISO and LSR, encourage students who feel they were unfairly assessed, to report their cases. 


Kiri Scully


Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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