The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is one of the best universities in the world, ranked 62nd best by QS Top and 20th best by US News Best Global Universities. It is also the second largest university in the Netherlands.
The admission rate to the UvA is 4% for foreign students, or approximately 5,000 students. Nevertheless, the university receives 32,000 students per year, which represents an enrollment rate of 26%, which is acceptable for the top 100 universities. The acceptance rate also depends on the program you choose.
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There are many factors that affect the admission rate, as it is not the same as for a Bachelor’s (BA) or Master’s (MA) due to the limited number of places, the specifics of the program, etc. Moreover, most master’s programmes are in English and most bachelor’s programmes are in Dutch, which makes it easier for Dutch students to apply for a bachelor’s degree. If you want to know more about the UvA’s rates, take a look below!
UvA reception percentage
Ranking sites such as Collegedunia and Go to University provide information on admissions and application requirements at the UvA based on their statistics. However, the UvA is not officially concerned with the total number of applications accepted and only informs students of the number of applications accepted each year for each specific programme.
The data from the two ranking sites mentioned above only take into account the admission percentage of foreign students to the UvA, which is 4% of the total admission percentage. This means that if the number of foreign students at the UvA is 5,000 per year and the university has 32,000 students, the admission rate is approximately 25-30%.
An acceptance rate of 25-30% would be relatively acceptable for such a prestigious university in a popular city like Amsterdam. The UvA is considered the second largest school in the country and still ranks among the top 100 schools in the world according to numerous rankings (for more information on the rankings, click here).
Moreover, if we look at the number one university in the Netherlands, the University of Leiden, with an admission rate of 50%, we see that this does not necessarily depend on prestige, but also on the location, the language of the programs, the program itself, the minimum requirements for applicants, etc.
Reception rate: factors
As I mentioned earlier, we can estimate that UvA’s adoption rate is about 25-30%. This figure is based on a 4% admission rate for foreign students. Why is the admission rate for international students so low?
One of the most important aspects to be considered in understanding why the number of foreign students is significantly lower than the number of Dutch students is that Dutch students do not have to meet the many requirements that are imposed on foreign students. After all, it is assumed that Dutch pupils have already reached the level required for a Dutch education. This may or may not be true, but it automatically means they have a leg.
However, to be considered international, every university in the world must have a minimum number of international students and staff in order to be counted among the best. This means 5,000 places for foreign students and a high percentage of foreign professors and doctoral students.
We should not forget that the UvA has more than 15 undergraduate programs in English, and that most graduate programs are taught in English. In total, they offer more than 100 programs. This means that the number of international students applying is very high, given the large number of English language courses.
Here are some factors to consider:
- English skills
- Popularity of the city
- Special features of the programme
Level of proficiency in English UvA
While studying at various Dutch universities, including the UvA, I learned that the required level of English is much higher than at English-speaking universities in Ireland, the United States and the United Kingdom. This may be surprising, but for the most part it is the case.
While the US and Ireland, for example, require a TOEFL score of at least 75-80 or an IELTS score of at least 5, the UvA and all Dutch universities aim for a higher score. If you are not planning to study in Dutch (for which you also need a special language certificate), tests such as IELTS (average 6.0), TOEFL (around 85 for the bachelor and around 90-100 for the master) or Cambridge certificates (C1 or C2) are accepted. In addition, depending on the chosen program, there are other specific language requirements.
For more information, please refer to your chosen program. If your mother tongue is English or if you have attended English-speaking schools all your life, you don’t have to prove it either.
Location and prestige
Another factor to consider in admission is the number of students admitted to the university. For example, if we’re talking about a university that
- Offers many programs in English (over 100!).
- Prestigious, at the top of all the rankings.
- The hotel is located in one of the most popular cities in the world.
- Located in one of the richest countries in Europe with a large economy.
- It’s a multicultural environment
According to the Top University Rankings, the city of Amsterdam is the 24th best city in the world to study (and possibly live). Although it is a very expensive city (for more information click here), there are many reasons why it is one of the best choices for students from all over the world:
- The language: English is not only spoken at university, but everywhere else, so you can communicate, work alongside your studies and build your career. For more information, click here.
- Quality of life: one of the highest in Europe, including scholarships for all EU students.
- Employment: in many renowned Dutch and foreign companies.
- International student community and academic staff
- Location: ideal for visiting any other country in Europe and easy to reach from the airport, train, etc. Moreover, the location of the university, on the same spot where it was founded 400 years ago.
This means that the UvA is likely to receive thousands and thousands of applications, and with a limited number of places for each program, it’s not necessarily hard to get in, but it is too popular. For more information, go to Difficulty getting into an Amsterdam university?
Moreover, popularity goes hand in hand with prestige, as evidenced by the large number of publications, the large number of international staff, the location, the amazing facilities, and so on.
Looking again at the world ranking of universities, the universities of Amsterdam score 91.2 out of 100 in terms of citations and cited publications in international journals and scientific publications of all kinds.
There are two aspects to the programme: the learner’s programme, who that person is and what they have done and what they are good at, and the programme’s programme, what they will do and the profile they need to achieve that goal.
Both aspects are relevant when it comes to adoption rates: It’s important to think not only about who you are, but also what they want for a particular program.
On the one hand, the UvA accepts more Dutch than foreign students. This is partly due to the fact that some programmes are taught in Dutch, but also to the education of these students.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say how much smarter or better they are than students from other parts of the world, but having studied according to the Dutch system, most of them already meet the requirements of most programs, which is not so easy to achieve with foreign students who have followed other programs, in a different country, and most likely in a different language.
This section concerns the student’s learning plan. However, this is closely related to the curriculum of the programme : In other words, for some programs, especially master’s programs, they are looking for a very specific type of student, with characteristics, results, etc. This doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it just means they’re looking for a very specific student profile.
This is closely related to the above section, curriculum. Each program has its own curriculum and application process. It is extremely important to meet these requirements because they demand it.
You may not fit into a program you like at the UvA, but you fit perfectly into two other programs you haven’t considered yet. I saw it myself.
Is it difficult to get into the UvA?
Is it difficult to be admitted to the UvA? As I mentioned, I wrote a long article on this topic, including my personal experience.
Overall I would say not, mainly because you don’t have to do personal interviews, no family member has to study or work and in that sense there is no favouritism, all students in the EU get government support and so on.
I don’t think the admission rate is the highest, but this is mainly due to the large number of applicants and not the difficulty in getting admitted. The number of students in each program is dropping and there needs to be a filter.
frequently asked questions
Is it difficult to get into the University of Amsterdam?
The UvA is one of the most accessible universities in the Netherlands, with the exception of the law and medicine programmes, due to the high demand. Other than that, the requirements are about the same across the country, at least as far as the driver’s license is concerned.
Is it difficult to be admitted to a Dutch university?
In general, it’s not that hard to get recognition compared to American and British universities (it depends a lot on the program – it can be quite selective if there’s a lot of demand for it).
Is the University of Amsterdam prestigious?
The UvA has a pretty good reputation, it’s one of the best universities in the country, and the Dutch university system is pretty well regarded worldwide.
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