Information for parents

As a parent, how can you help with the process of choosing a programme?

Your child is currently involved in choosing a degree programme and that can be a daunting process. For many young people, the transition from secondary school to university is a major life event involving academic, social and personal changes. As a parent, you have a significant role in this. You are often your child’s most important adviser. How can you help your child choose a programme? Given the staggering number of degree programmes available in higher education, your child might be unsure about what he or she wants to do.

Ask questions, remain objective and get your child to make an effort

By asking questions, outlining situations and refraining from making judgements, you can help your child to start the process of choosing a programme. And that is very important. It has to be your child’s decision and the more time and attention they spend on it, the greater the chance of their choosing a programme that really suits them and that they can complete successfully.

Which questions could you ask?

It’s important to keep the conversation with your child as informal as possible and ask probing questions.

  • Which subjects interest you? What makes them so interesting?
  • What are you good at and less good at? What’s the evidence for that? What do you get compliments for?
  • What do you enjoy doing? Can you say what energises you?
  • Which degree programmes correspond to your interests and qualities?
  • Which job or profession interests you? What exactly appeals to you about it?
  • Would you like to do this programme at a university of applied sciences (HBO) or at a more academic university?
  • Which school subjects do you like best/least and why? What do you find easy to do?
  • How much time do you think you will need to spend on these degree programmes? Which other things do you want to continue doing (such as sports/hobbies/part-time job)?
  • What’s stopping you from making a final decision? Which information are you missing?

What else can parents do?

  • You could engage with the secondary school by speaking at a careers guidance evening, for instance.
  • You could have a pupil shadow you at work.
  • Talk about your own programme choice and what your pitfalls and qualities were.
  • Go with your child to informational activities.
  • Before you go, think of the questions you both want answers to.

Interesting websites (only in Dutch):

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