‘Universities abuse matching’

Universities are abusing ‘matching’ as a sneaky way of selecting students themselves. They create the impression that they can reject students if they do not meet the ‘admission requirements’, but that is not allowed.

So say the editors of the Keuzegids Universiteiten, which was published on Monday. According to editor-in-chief Frank Steenkamp, some popular programmes think it is clever to create the impression that they can reject students that show less promise either during the matching or the study choice test that all universities have been organising since May 1.

And this is not the only way universities are being dishonest during the orientation stage, says Steenkamp. ‘A lot of programmes that do not have a strong position in the job market are making their job prospects look much better than they are. The same goes for the starting salary of recent graduates. They present it in such a way that even the weakest programme comes off looking all right.’

Few examples

The editors present few concrete examples. The Tilburg programme Global Law claims in its orientation that high school students need a mean grade of seven in order to be accepted into the programme, which is not true, Steenkamp told press agency HOP. ‘We have been hearing a lot of stories’, the editor-in-chief says.

The editors are using the warning in the press release to advertise their own work. ‘This is exactly why we will continue to make an independent Keuzegids.’

The Board of the University is not reacting specifically to the warning issued by the Keuzegids, but agrees with the explanation provided by the association of universities VSNU: ‘Matching can never result in a binding advice concerning a programme. The student can be obligated to participate in matching activities, but the student will ultimately decide him- or herself whether or not to register for the programme. A negative advice should be taken into serious consideration, however. Matching exists not just at our behest, but also at the behest of students and the government. When a student finds their place, everyone benefits. We have to prevent a wrong study choice.’