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Tips for your Study Start

Whether you are an international student or not, navigating university as a first-year student can prove to be quite tricky. What is the Binding Study Advice everyone receives in their first year? How does the grading system work? Where can I find information about registering for courses and exams? And what support does university provide for students? This page will give you answers to these questions and provide you with much more useful information about your student journey at Radboud University.

Visit this page for practical information and manuals for the ICT-systems university uses.

Understanding how to interact within an academic setting, with students and with professors can be difficult at first. To understand more about (Dutch) communication within an academic setting visit this page.

Fit to Study

As the video above shows, studying in the Netherlands can often provide challenges. The Fit to Study page is designed to help students on their way and contains information about several topics, including the following:

  • insurance;
  • finances;
  • visa and/or a residence permit.

University System and Academic Culture

Binding Study Advice (BSA)

You can earn a total of 60 credits per academic year. You will receive a positive binding study advice (BSA) and be able to continue your studies when you have obtained a minimum of 45 credits. However, you must retake the courses that you did not pass in your first year.

More information about the BSA can be found here.

Study delay

While most programs are divided into 3 years, with 60EC to be completed every year, it is not uncommon for Dutch students to push back their graduation by a year or more. This is most of the time due to extracurriculars that students may involve themselves in, such as doing a board or parcipational year.

Adding an extra year is also common when students have difficulty keeping up with the study. You might therefore find that Dutch students are a bit more laid back when it comes to staying on track to pass all their courses in three years. The Dutch value developing skills that cannot be learned in class. Volunteering and doing work for associations or committees sets them apart when applying for jobs. The skills, network and opportunities that follow from these extracurriculars are ‘worth’ delaying their study for.

Grading system

Grades are awarded on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Grades from 6 upwards are regarded as 'pass'. In order to be awarded a diploma all grades must be at least 6.

Generally, students are satisfied with a 6/6.5. Getting a 7-8.5 is considered to be a good grade. A 9 is exceptional and a 9.5 is rare while a 10 is almost never given unless it is an exam that tests facts only (multiple-choice for instance). Thus keep in mind that in Dutch universities, ‘perfect’ does not exist, which reflects on how teachers give grades. Do not be too let down when you expected higher grades!

For specific grade conversion, visit this page on the RU-website. More rules and guidelines concerning your study programme can be found in the Education and Examination Regulations (EER).

Well-Being of Students

Student support

Your first contact point for support is the study advisor. They are a confidential advisor who can give you information about the study programme, help you make difficult decisions during your studies, or refer you to the right person.

Furthermore, Radboud University offers numerous forms of support to students whom, for whatever reason, need help to successfully complete their studies. Get advice from a member of the student support team, join a course or training, or take advantage of a regulation.

Tip: The flow chart on the right will help you find the right counsellor for your problem.

Student Participation

Giving and receiving feedback

At university, it is appropriate to constructively talk to your professor about your doubts or give feedback. Usually, at the end of the period, you will receive an email about course evaluations. You are invited to fill these in honestly yet constructively. Your answers are anonymous so you should not feel afraid to speak your mind.

  • Feedback is often open and direct. When other students proofread your essay, they tend to be to the point and expect you to do the same.
  • Usually, the work is seperated from the person, which permits people to be direct. Know that they do not intend to be rude or offensive, it is just their way of trying to help you.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, try to have a conversation with the person you will need to give feedback and explain how you are used to giving feedback and how you would like to prefer receiving it. That way both parties can manage their expectations and find a balance.

Participational bodies

Sometimes an issue, problem, or question is more structural. In that case, you have student participational bodies in place to engage with your feedback. Take a look at the following pages to learn more about participational bodies.