When I graduated from high school, some years ago, I was certain about my future. In the luxury position to have a Dutch state scholarship, I chose to study economics in Maastricht and live there as well. My teachers were very surprised that I went to this small young university, but I never regretted my choice.
Now I support my oldest child in his study choice. Next year after graduation, without state scholarship, we will pay for his university education ourselves. That makes the choice a serious one, as making the wrong choice is not only an unhappy experience for my child but also an expensive mistake. Living in a different city is even more expensive, so I noticed that many of my kid’s friends choose to study closer to home – allowing them to commute at least the first year(s) of their student life.
You would expect that universities in their recruitment therefore not only compete for the global students, but also focus on the local students. The university closest to my home is the Technical University Eindhoven, but Tilburg, Maastricht, Utrecht and Nijmegen are all about an hour travel away. At my child’s school higher education fair, all those universities were present, except for Maastricht. Not just “not that visible”, but entirely absent from information packages and info lectures. Eindhoven, Utrecht, Nijmegen and Tilburg delivered numerous sessions on their various bachelor’s tracks, so I guess that this is where the students will go! When I asked about Maastricht’s absence, no one seemed to have realised it, nor really care. Maastricht recruitment, wake up! There are children out here that need to know we exist! We have good programmes!
My boy is technically quite gifted, so the choice of university was easy. At the well organised open day of TU Eindhoven last year, I dreamt away during the rector’s inspiring opening, thinking of a career as city architect, industrial designer or health innovator. Maybe even joining the solar team Eindhoven, participating in solar energy car races. Lots of options. Too late for me, but I am positive he will find a good match there.
Mindel van de Laar, PhD director of the dual career PhD programme in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC2) of UNU-MERIT / Maastricht Graduate School of Governance