Applying for a Study Programme in NL: My Experience

Posted by Aditi
From India

It is often believed that the process of studying abroad actually begins when you land in a new country on your own. However, with nothing but my whole life wrapped in a few suitcases, immense courage and determination, and an insatiable hunger to gather new experiences, it started long before that.

If you also find yourself in the same boat that I found myself in two years ago, never fear!

In five simple steps, I am going to describe the meticulous planning and preparation I executed throughout the whole experience, from selecting my degree programme to getting unconditionally admitted!

Step 1: Doing extensive research

When I expressed my interest to study in the Netherlands, I received an overwhelming response from my high school counsellor, fellow teachers and the career counselling consulting agencies, sponsored by my high school. Although I accepted their guidance wholeheartedly, I made sure that I didn’t leave the whole responsibility into their hands and conducted my own research on the universities I wished to target for my bachelor’s. It was incredibly important to ensure that I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into and the associated outcomes of my decisions.

Step 2: When, where and how?

I began the process of registration in November 2021, giving myself enough time until the applications were meant to be closed in March-April 2022. I created my student credentials on the Studielink portal for four Dutch universities, namely, Leiden University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Groningen and Maastricht University. Then, I applied for suitable degree programmes resembling my field of interest, ‘International Relations’.

Step 3: Academic transcripts, CV & SOP

As soon as I was granted access to the personalised application forms for each university, I began collecting my academic transcripts, corresponding to the four years of senior high school, ranging from the 9th-12th grade. I worked incredibly hard throughout these formative years to make sure that my overall performance was equivalent to the Dutch grade of 7.0, as an effort to increase my chances of admission. Then, I took the English language proficiency test IELTS in December 2021 and proceeded to write my CV and motivation letter, stating my work experience, achievements and the reasons for choosing to study my particular degree programme at the aforementioned universities.

Step 4: Numerus Fixus programmes & financial means

Due to a large number of applications for IRIO (International Relations and International Organisation) at the University of Groningen, I had to meet additional admission criteria in January 2022, to secure a place among the 260 students that would get selected for the programme. As the application process was reaching its end, I began extracting financial statements to show that I possessed enough family savings, education loans or grants to sustain my foreign education for the upcoming three years.


Fortunately, I got accepted to all the universities I applied to by May 2022, and eventually, I made a conscious choice to become an Erasmian, as part of the topmost third ‘International Public Administration’ schools globally in terms of the incredibly resourceful degree programme ‘Management of International Social Challenges’. Finally, I was focused on the last step during June-July 2022, in the form of completing the immigration procedure, as described by the IND, in terms of getting my MVV study visa, submitting proofs of health and vaccination, and transferring the tuition fees.

Evidently, I arrived in the Netherlands on 8th August 2022, following which I received my residence permit and proof of enrolment and became admitted unconditionally, thus, making my biggest dream come true!

This is not to say that it was without its considerable tests of patience, perseverance and consistency. Nevertheless, a 17 year old girl from an unrecognisable suburban town in India made it happen due to sheer force of will and unwavering faith in her abilities!

If I could do it, you can too! The Netherlands is waiting for you!

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