Faculty of Social Sciences
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Binding Study Advice (1st year)

BINDING STUDY RECOMMENDATION (BSA)

(Please click here for a more comprehensive explanation of BSA which applies to the entire university)

The BSA was introduced at our university in the academic year of 2011-2012.
At the end of a Bachelor’s programme's first year, it is compulsory for universities to advise students regarding the continuation of their studies. A positive recommendation means that the student will be admitted to the next part of the Bachelor's programme. It also indicates that, with continued commitment, the student is expected to be able to successfully complete an academic programme.

A negative recommendation is given when it is considered unlikely that the student will be able to complete the Bachelor’s programme within a reasonable period of time. This recommendation is based on the amount of credits (EC) that a student earns in the first year. Legally, in accordance with article 7.8b of the Dutch Higher Education and Academic Research Act (WHW), it is possible that a negative recommendation leads to expulsion. The recommendation then becomes a binding recommendation. The consequences for a student who has been expelled on the grounds of a BSA is that the student is banned from enrolling in the same Bachelor’s programme at Radboud University for the next three years.

Why?

The first year of a Bachelor's programme serves both a preliminary and selective purpose for the student and the programme. The student is given the opportunity to determine whether the programme's content and level is suitable for him or her. In turn, the amount of ECs earned by the student allows the programme to determine whether the student is compatible with the study.
A non-binding, negative recommendation was often not followed up in the past, while it nevertheless turned out that the amount of ECs earned in the first year was fairly accurate in predicting how academically successful students would be if they continued the Bachelor's phase of their study. The underlying principle of the BSA is therefore that this binding recommendation prevents both the student and the programme from investing any further time or money in a programme which appears to have little chance of success. By combining this with full educational support, the mentoring system and academic progress talks we also hope to create a positive and stimulating approach to studying!

To whom does it apply?

The BSA applies to all first-year students who are enrolled for the first time in the first year of the Artificial Intelligence Bachelor's programme. In this first year, students must earn a minimum of 42 EC in order to be considered worthy of receiving a positive recommendation at the end of the first year. In addition, the only ECs that count are those associated with satisfactory final results gained in components (courses) of the first year of the programme (B1), as set out in the Education and Examination Regulations (EER). If the student does not meet the minimum required standard of 42 EC, then he/she will receive a negative recommendation together with a binding rejection, unless it has been proven that exceptional personal circumstances exist (or have existed) which have made it impossible for the student to pursue the normal course of study (see the relevant Implementation Decision of the WHW). The university's Commission for First-Year Study Recommendations (CSEJ) evaluates these exceptional cases. For more information, please see the section below on Postponed Study Recommendations.
The BSA does not apply to students who officially withdraw from the first year of the study programme before 1 March. Students who drop out of the programme and wish to join the same study programme in the following academic year, must complete a total of the 60 EC required for the first year of the programme in order to still be considered worthy of receiving a positive recommendation at the end of their second year of study.

Preliminary recommendation

The student will receive a preliminary recommendation in February at the end of the first semester. This recommendation primarily represents an extra evaluative moment for the student who has, to date, shown insufficient academic progress. Within the context of the BSA, you can basically evaluate your own academic progress at any time: have you, to date, already earned two-thirds of the total number of required credits? Is it still realistic to expect that this academic year will see you earn 42 EC if you carry on studying in the same way? If you answer “no” to either of these questions, then it is advisable that you talk to the student advisor and possibly make a joint plan of action in order to effectuate the necessary changes.

Issuing the BSA

At the end of the second semester a positive recommendation will be given to any student who has met the required BSA standard. Students who have not met this standard, will be given a provisional negative BSA. Before receiving his/her final negative BSA, the student will be granted the opportunity to be heard by the Commission for First-Year Study Recommendations (CSEJ). Students who do not wish to make use of this opportunity will have their provisional negative BSA converted to a definite negative BSA. Students who appeal and subsequently have their case heard by the CSEJ, will be informed of the Commission's final decision as soon as possible after the hearing and no later than 31 August. 
Any student may lodge an appeal against a binding expulsion with the Examination Appeals Board (COBEX) within six weeks.

Postponed study recommendations

The Commission for First-Year Study Recommendations (CSEJ) can postpone issuing the BSA in cases where exceptional personal circumstances have impeded the student's academic progress. The Commission can postpone the decision regarding the BSA and even issue it a year later. We call this a “postponed study recommendation”. If the student receives a postponed recommendation, then this means that a study recommendation will not be issued at all during the first year and that the student may proceed with his/her study, but that a BSA will still need to be given at the end of the second year. By the end of the second year the student will at least need to have successfully completed the first year's courses if he/she is  to receive a positive BSA. The CSEJ can decide to postpone issuing the recommendation if so advised by the student advisor/student dean or on account of a hearing at the end of the academic year. Students who have appealed against a provisional negative BSA because they believe they are entitled to a postponed study recommendation on the grounds of special circumstances, are invited to attend the hearing with the commission. If extreme personal circumstances are already affecting your progress and studies in the first year, it is advisable to contact the student advisor as soon as possible and not to wait until the hearing at the end of the academic year.