Admission requirements

It is difficult to compare the American grading system with the Dutch equivalent. American universities employ a holistic admission policy, which means that your institution will look beyond your grades and admission exam scores and also focus on your interests and activities. American universities value people who developed themselves on a personal level and appreciate social engagement through volunteering, extracurricular activities, and the development of your talents.

All universities differ in terms of admission guidelines, deadlines and application forms. Because admission can be highly selective, it can be beneficial to apply to more than one university. You can find an overview of the admission requirements and all necessary documents on the website of your institution. Check “admissions of prospective students” and look for information about graduate programs.

Most schools consider a number of criteria when determining whether someone is eligible for admission.


Educational background

International students applying to a graduate program need to have obtained the equivalent of an American Bachelor’s degree. Dutch students need to have obtained a degree at a university of applied science (hbo) or university (wo). Some programs also require you to have a previous education in a certain discipline or field.


Academic skills

More selective universities also want to assess your academic knowledge and skills through your grades and admission exam scores. You can find an overview of the average test and exam scores of admitted students on your university’s website. The stronger your own academic profile is compared to these averages, the higher your chances of admission and scholarships.


Study goals

Graduate schools want to see that you have given thought to your study or research goals, and that you have prior knowledge of and an affinity for the subject. The university also wants to know how you believe the program will help you in your future goals. You can use your personal statement to discuss these points. Some universities also require you to write a separate research statement. For more information and tips on these essays, see the page about writing a personal statement.


Extracurricular activities

American universities value students who show social commitments and actively participate in campus life. Certain universities offer a short description of the type of students they look for and the values they promote as an institution. The admissions committee looks at your application to see whether you and the university are a good match. Your recommendation letters can give the university more information about your personality, qualities and experience. Your resume will further prove what kind background and activities you will be taking with you to your college. Remember to make sure that you emphasize these activities.

Relevant experiences you can discuss in your resume:

  • Work experience
  • Volunteer activities
  • Conferences, publications, and research projects
  • Care for family members
  • Sports
  • Memberships of university clubs
  • Interest in the arts