Universiteit Leiden

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College or university? Computer science students in the right place

The right student in the right place. That is what LIACS program director Frank Takes and education coordinator Joyce Glerum are aiming to do with the ‘Wisselstroom’ project. By next year, they hope to have a standardized protocol that will make it easier for computer science students to transfer from university to college and vice versa.

Students who want to study computer science can choose between college or university. ‘We saw that transfers already took place, but there wasn't a standard framework for this yet,’ Takes says. The Ministry of Education Culture and Science provided a subsidy to support the flow of students between educational institutions. Takes: ‘This is a great opportunity to give this a boost.’

Theory versus practice

‘A big difference is that at university, you focus more on the bigger picture of certain techniques,’ Takes explains. Whereas academic education highlights the theoretical issues behind an algorithm, the university of applied sciences focuses on which algorithm you apply in practice. The teaching system is also different: lectures and seminars make up university education while students at the university of applied sciences work primarily within projects.  ‘College is more concerned with a smooth transition to work. At the university, the focus is on research,’ Glerum says.

Transferring instead of 'dropping out'

‘It is very important not to talk in terms of university being more difficult than college,’ Takes emphasizes. 'We do not want to keep students here at all costs. We want students to be in the right place. If that means at another institution, that does not matter. We are colleagues who both want to reach students, only we do so in a slightly different way. Glerum adds, ‘It is important to use the word ‘transfer’. It is not dropping out; we do not see it that way at all.’

The first cases

At the moment, the first interviews are held with students who might benefit from the transfer project. Glerum coordinates the cooperation between examination boards of the university and the university of applied sciences to see which exemptions can be granted. That way, it is made easier for students to move on while also keeping study delay to a minimum. ‘A few students have indicated that they would like to move on to college. Together with the study advisers and the examination committee, we will discuss what we can do for them,’ Glerum explains. The analysis of these cases will result in a manual to facilitate a smoother transition from university to college.

University and college join forces

‘From the university, it is a ‘LIACS effort’,’ Takes shares. At the joint experience day, prospective students can get acquainted with the Computer Science programme at both the university of applied sciences and the university. During this open day, lecturers from LIACS and the college will give presentations on the study and lecturers, study advisers and coordinators from both programmes will talk with students.

By August 2025, Leiden University and the Leiden University of Applied Sciences hope to have a standardised protocol ready to make transfer between educational institutions more accessible. Takes: ‘The idea is to figure out now how to do it later on.’

Experience day

Sign up for the experience day on Friday March 15th 2024.

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