Helping your child choose a study

Parents are the most important advisors for students in making their study choices. But what exactly can you do as a parent?


  1. Tip 1: Be involved

    Ask questions

    Try to approach your child in a motivating way when asking questions. For some children, talking at the dinner table or on the couch works best; others talk better during a car ride. Together, you can find out what interests your child. Ask questions such as, "What do you like to do?" "What makes you happy?" "What was a success?" "What do you get compliments on?" and "What are you proud of?" Hold up a mirror to your child by summarizing what they say.

    When talking about your choice of study, try to avoid the question, "How far along in your choice of study are you?" Instead, be specific: "What have you already figured out?" "What do you still want to know?" "Who can you ask?" "What makes you like it so much?"

    Put at ease

    Most young people experience a lot of stress when making a study choice. Among other things, study costs and parents' expectations cause the most stress, according to a poll by Studiekeuze123. So be aware of this when you start the conversation with your child.

    Stressors that your child is probably thinking about are:

    • what they are good at;
    • what suits them;
    • the idea that they should choose right the first time;
    • the choice between a "fun" course of study and one with "future prospects";
    • uncertainty whether they really like the study enough.

    Give your child space to talk about these doubts and explore different options during the study choice process.

  2. Tip 2: Help with information gathering

    Join them for an Open Day

    It can be difficult for your child to keep track of all the information they receive during the study process. As a parent, you can help by going along to an Open Day and help think about important questions. For example, "Will you have lectures, working groups or seminars?" "How many contact hours will you have per week?" "Will you work together a lot?" "How big are the groups?". At the Open Day, gather handouts, compare programmes, and motivate your child to engage in conversation with students. Sit down together afterwards to review all the information.

    Bachelor's Open Day

    Take a study choice test together

    Looking over your shoulder, you may be surprised at the answers your child fills out on a study choice test. It is interesting to explore together how your child arrives at those answers. You can also fill out a study choice test for your child separately and then look together at the differences. Be careful not to push your child in a certain direction.

    Turn on your network

    Your friends, family and colleagues probably practice a whole range of professions and have taken different study programmes. It is useful (and fun!) for your child to spend a day(s) with some of them. In addition, it may be good to see what professions appeal to you and find out what studies match them.

  3. Tip 3: Let your child make their own choice

    As a parent, you know your child best. Still, it is important that your child makes the choice themselves. You can provide guidance, but ultimately your child must do the study, so it is important that they are convinced of the choice.

  4. Tip 4: Take your time and be on time

    The earlier your child starts looking around, the less stressful the study choice will be. For studies with a numerus fixus procedure, your child must apply as early as 15 January, and for the rest of the Bachelor's programmes, your child must apply by 1 May. So start gathering information and visiting open days well in advance, so that you can also take your time in choosing your studies.