How to 'get accepted'. All you need to know about numerus fixus programs (numero chiuso)

Are you considering applying for medicine, physiotherapy, psychology, game design or international business in the Netherlands? In about 1 month (15.01.2020) all numerus fixus programs (numero chiuso) will close their registrations. Find out how to make the deadlines and get through selections!


Every year, more and more programs choose for a 'numerus fixus' (closed number of students). Besides Medicine and most Physiotherapy courses, now also many Psychology courses, Creative Media & Game Design and some International Business courses have a closed number.

The most important reason for this increase is that Universities cannot handle the large number of students anymore. Accepting all would mean that they cannot offer the quality of education that they promise so they feel that they have no other choice.

Another reason is being able to select the best students for their programs. The general philosophy of the Dutch education system is that education should be accessible for all so closed number programs where not and are still not that loved by the government. Universities though, in some cases, would prefer to be able to select their students and the only way to do so is making your course a 'fixus program'.


If you've chosen a program with a closed number, be ready for a tough admission process. A stressful time in a year that's already full of exam stress! What to expect from the selection process and how to enhance your changes? Each University is different of course but I will try to explain the main steps and possible hick-ups you can expect.

So how to get through the selection?


1. Make sure that you compete your registration on time. Meaning: send all the documents are asked for in the correct way before the deadline! If a University has 1400 students for 600 places the first that will be removed from the selection process are the ones with incomplete registrations The biggest issue usually is to get the documents from your Liceo (about your grades in the past year(s) and the expected grades on your exam topics) on time, translated in English and validated by your school (meaning printed on official school paper, signed and stamped). Then of course in Italy the final exam topics are decided up on in February whereas most Universities ask you for the fill list before 15.01. Also, the date of the English test could be a critical issue.

2. Of course good grades in the last years help you being more interesting for a University, but Dutch Universities also tend to look carefully at your motivation. So quite always some kind of motivation letter is part of the admission process. Through this letter the Universities will try to understand why you choose their course and their University.


3. Check beforehand what the amount of applications are that you are allowed to do for fixus programs. Medicine for example forbids you to do 2. If you try it anyway, they will remove you from the process immediately. Some other fixus programs allow more then 1 application


4. The in some cases you will be asked to study a case and do an online test and/or come to selection days. It is difficult to prepare for these, other than to understand really well how the program is build and prepare for the kind of courses you will do in the first year. Because Universities sometimes ask you to do a test or create a product related to the content of the course, something you might never have studied before. Just to see how you handle this situation. So, don't get demotivated, try to find a way to do the assignment by collecting all the information you can find.

It always helps in this case to have visited an open day or have been a 'student for a day'. This also allows you to ask current students about the admission process they already went through.


It might seem open doors, but I've sadly seen many cases where through relatively small things the admission process went wrong. Then usually it is too late for me to assist in anyway. So, if you are going to apply or doing so already and you need help with your registration & admission process (like collecting documents, writing a motivation letter, preparing for the test) don't hesitate to contact me. Please don't wait until you reach a bump in the road!

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