'These are encouraging numbers,' says Marlies Overbeek, Director of Marketing & Admissions at Twente Pathway College. 'The drop-out of around five students in the first part of the year was not so much due to academic reasons. Our students quit mainly for personal reasons such as homesickness or a change in their parents' financial situation. Of the group that remained in June, 92 percent managed to obtain their certificate.'
Overbeek finds it difficult to draw too many conclusions from the figures, also because of the crisis. 'It was our first year - and because of the corona crisis it was very different than anyone could have imagined. I don't think that, in a normal situation, study success would have been higher. In any case, we can see that study motivation is high among students and that this year is being taken seriously by students and their parents. They are not going to let a global crisis loose their spirits.'
The number of successful candidates is in line with the agreements that Twente Pathway College has with the UT, says Overbeek. 'For students who didn't make it, we'll see whether they can find their place at higher education institutions such as Saxion and The Hague University of Applied Sciences; Navitas also works with the latter.' But, she emphasises: 'Our foundation year is not a selection mechanism, but a way of ensuring that students reach the starting level of a UT bachelor's degree. In the end, it's in everyone's interest that a student ends up in the right place.'
Connection to UT studies
Some 95% of Pathway students who received their certificates this summer appear to have started their UT bachelor's degree this month. 'After 1 October it will be possible to report on this with more certainty, but this is in any case well in line with the guidelines we laid down with the UT,' says Overbeek. 'With the uncertainty surrounding the influx of students during the crisis, we know that the influx of our students is certainly welcome at the UT.'
In her opinion, it is far too early to say how well this foundation year prepared the students for a UT bachelor's study. 'We will be looking at this together with the programmes in the course of this year. Though I think it's generally all right, because our programme has been tailor-made together with a delegation from the bachelor's programmes. We noticed that our students were mostly at bachelor's level in terms of English language skills. In addition, we offer project education, in line with the Twente Education Model. And, of course, we provide education here on campus. These are all factors that will hopefully make the transition to the UT bachelors as seamless as possible'.
In the meantime, a new group of foundation year students will start this week. Even though administratively the finishing touches still need to be made, Overbeek knows that there are at least 250 of them. 'Most of them have already arrived in the Netherlands to start on campus. For a few, the crisis is causing problems, they have to deal with closed embassies or exit bans. They follow the first trimester online. Furthermore, this year our programme is comparable to the hybrid education of the UT: about forty percent physical, the rest digital. Unfortunately, that's how it is right now.'