Anyone who wishes to follow a study at the Maastricht Faculties of Law or Arts and Social Sciences next year, will first have to complete a questionnaire. Based on that, an interview may take place.
All students who use Studielink to register for a study of Dutch law, tax law, European Law School, arts and social sciences, or European Studies, will have to complete an electronic questionnaire. The questions regard former education, command of languages, expected time necessary to complete the study and motivation.
A pre-selection in disguise? “No, this is purely to provide the student with a better picture,” says Rina Vaatstra, education expert at the law faculty. The faculties also benefit from it because they can minimise the number of first-year dropouts considerably. The system was copied from the University of Amsterdam, where it has been used for a few years now, with positive results.
“We compare the students’ answers with our criteria and see if they match,” says Aalt Willem Heringa, law faculty dean, at the last faculty council meeting. The answers may result in any of three codes: orange, red or green. Green means that we have “a fantastic student that we definitely want”. Those with an orange code will be monitored in the first year. Red means an interview. “We will not and cannot refuse them, but we will express our concern,” says Heringa. Vaatstra expects that about 10 to 20 per cent of the registrations will be in the red category.
It is common knowledge that many secondary school leavers choose law because they do not know what they want. Sometimes it works out all right, sometimes it does not, because the study and in particular the PBL system does not suit everyone. Vaatstra: “It is hard work, you have to be analytical, be able to work independently, et cetera.” Arts and Social Sciences have the same problem. For example, the bachelor's programme of European Studies is completely in English, the exams as well as the tutorial groups. This is something that not everyone is aware of, says director of studies Patrick Bijsmans in the faculty magazine.