Chocolates to keep future students interested

Chocolates to keep future students interested

Every selected FPN-student gets a welcome package


In a few weeks time, on 15 April, the thousands of school-leavers who followed a selection procedure will find out whether they have been accepted for an intake-restricted study programme in Maastricht. But not everyone will accept the place, some will choose a different programme after all. This makes it difficult for the university to know how many students will actually show up. At the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, they have come up with something: cards and small packages to keep the student ‘interested’.

A selected student has two weeks to accept the place. “If that person refuses, we invite the next one on the list,” says Alicia Walkowiak, co-head of the selection committee. “That person also has two weeks to react, so this process takes rather a long time. When the academic year is about to begin, we stop the process. Not all places are taken at that time.”

That is why we have the so-called ‘keeping them interested actions’. Those start even before the selection procedure. Anyone who shows an interest in the bachelor’s of Psychology receives a card from the faculty at Christmas. In addition to best wishes, the potential student is also informed about the online ambassadors. These are students who answer questions and show on Instagram what being a Maastricht Psychology student entails. A second card follows in January, wishing them a successful selection procedure. All this is to strengthen the community feeling as well as to inform the students, said Claudia Spierings, head of FPN’s marketing and communication department.

It really takes off in April, which is when selected students receive chocolates (in de shape of a star) and another card. “The star is the symbol of Maastricht, but we also want to say to the student: ‘You are a star’,” says Spierings. Another small package follows just before summer, this time with summer greetings, an invitation to the introduction week and a card game that you can play in order to get to know someone better. “We are really involved with our students and want to let them know that in this way, by introducing them to our community even before they come to Maastricht,” says Spierings.

Does this make students pick Maastricht over other universities? That is difficult to say, Spierings admits. “After all, there are always several reasons why someone chooses a particular study programme. But every year, we ask whether it helped them to make a choice and most students answered yes.”

Other study programmes with intake restrictions

Most programmes issue more places than they actually have because of the number of those who pull out. That poses a certain risk. In the first year of the intake restrictions at FPM, more students than expected accepted their places and a quick solution had to be found for a lecture hall that was too full. The faculty can now base itself on past experience and thus make a better estimate.

Past experience is also important for the School of Business and Economics. “We issue 875 places for International Business, but we actually aim for 720 students,” says Mark Vluggen, programme director of the bachelor’s. “We know that we don’t run the risk of recruiting more than the desired number of students.”

At Medicine we have fast decision makers, says Mirjam Oude Egbrink, vice dean of education at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life sciences. “Practically all the selected students inform within a week whether they will accept the place. Approximately fifty of them drop out later on for a variety of reasons (for example, they didn’t get their diplomas). Those places are given to the next person on the list, this process works well and is fast.”

Author: Cleo Freriks

Photo: MArketing and Communication of FPN

Tags: FPN,students,freshmen,marketing,welcome,introduction,selection,bachelor

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