In the orientation phase, you search for information about studying in general and about the kinds of programmes you could follow. But to determine whether, what and where to study, before you start, you need to know the motives that are important to you.

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 Other important aspects to consider:

What factors influence your doubts about your study choice?

The list below indicates various factors that may influence your level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction/doubt regarding your study choice. Indicate whether these factors apply to you.




I find the programme too theoretical 



I find the programme too vague 



I find my prior education insufficient 



I think there are too few lectures 



I don’t know what this programme will enable me to do later 



I have difficulty concentrating during lectures 



I think this programme is too difficult for me 



I hardly have any contact with co-students 



I don’t really like my lecturers 



I can’t plan very well 



I’m easily distracted 



I don’t have a good study method 



I don’t study efficiently 



I can’t motivate myself enough 



I don’t have much perseverance 



I had a different expectation of the programme 



I’m not interested in this programme 



I’m doubting my capacities 



I’m very nervous about an examination 



I feel lonely within this programme 



I tire easily 



My mood is influencing my study 



I don’t have good housing 



I feel under pressure because of the study financing 



I feel under pressure because of others’ high expectations 



I’m not interested in the profession for which this programme trains 

Are there other factors influencing your opinion about your current programme?
Also mention some positive factors about your current programme.
Discuss the outcomes of the above assignment with your parents and friends and/or the counsellor/careers’ advisor.




What do you find important about your study choice?

Are you mainly looking for an enjoyable study or are you also taking into account that you’ll need to use it to find work? Do you look for a city first and a study later?

There are many reasons for choosing a certain study. These are different for everyone.

For each statement, indicate how important this point is for you: 1 = very unimportant, 2 = unimportant, 3 = neutral, 4 = important, 5 = very important.


The city in which you’ll be studying 

1 2 3 4 5


Limited likelihood of unemployment after your study 

1 2 3 4 5


Choosing a difficult study 

1 2 3 4 5


The advice of your mentor, lecturer, study advisor or counsellor 

1 2 3 4 5


Obtaining work after your study that matches your interests 

1 2 3 4 5


The place in which the educational institution is located 

1 2 3 4 5


Your parents’ opinion 

1 2 3 4 5


Interesting courses during your study 

1 2 3 4 5


The distance between where you will be studying and your current home 

1 2 3 4 5


Good career opportunities 

1 2 3 4 5


Choosing a study that is a challenge for you 

1 2 3 4 5


Obtaining a job that pays well 

1 2 3 4 5


Choosing a study that’s close to your heart 

1 2 3 4 5


Following the highest achievable programme 

1 2 3 4 5


Your friends’ opinions 

1 2 3 4 5


The region in which you’ll be studying 

1 2 3 4 5


Your family’s expectations 

1 2 3 4 5


The study enables you to branch out in many directions 

1 2 3 4 5


Choosing a study that’s the best match for your capabilities 

1 2 3 4 5


Especially doing something that you enjoy 

1 2 3 4 5

Now complete the following table. The numbers in the ‘question number’ column correspond to the numbers in bold next to the statements above. In the ‘awarded scores’ column, enter the numbers that you selected for the statements. After you’ve added the scores, make a note of these in the ‘total’ column. Then make a ranking: the highest score is given a 1 and the lowest a 5.

Reason for your choice

Question number

Awarded scores













Future perspective





Influence of others










If you’ve indicated 1 for ‘interest’, you should base your study choice mainly on your interests. You find the content of the study interesting and the associated professional practice also attracts your interest.

If you’ve indicated 1 for ‘capacities’, you want to get the best out of yourself and you should choose a study that offers you the most opportunities for this.

Future perspective
If you’ve indicated 1 for ‘future perspective’, you prefer a study with good prospects. You see a study mainly as a good investment in the future.

Influence of others
If you’ve indicated 1 for ‘influence of others’, the opinion of others plays a very important role for you. You listen to the suggestions of others and allow yourself to be influenced by these.

If you’ve indicated 1 for ‘location’, the place you’re going to study is very important to you. In the first instance, decide where you’re going to study and then see what’s available there.


Most important factors you should take into account

State the three most important factors you should take into account when choosing a new programme (include the results of previous tests and assignments).




Higher professional education (HBO) or academic education?

Does academic education suit you? Or is a higher professional education programme/university of applied sciences more appropriate? The list below indicates the most important differences between the two forms of higher education.

Higher Professional Education

Academic Education



Practice-oriented (with practical assignments, including at organisations)

Theory-oriented (abstract assignments in which you undertake research)

Internship is mandatory

Internship is an option

You apply theory directly in practice

You generate new knowledge

Competency-focused learning

Discipline-focused learning

Many different courses

Fewer courses (but in more depth)

Average study speed

High study speed

Lots of group work

Lots of independent work

Personal approach

Less personal approach

More checks on homework

Fewer/no checks on homework

You are trained for an operational profession

You are trained for a higher position with faster promotion options

Clear professional perspective

No clear professional perspective

(source: http://keuzesprong.nl/hbo/hbo-of-wo-wat-is-het-verschil/)

Who am I?

It is also important that you reflect on yourself. Who are you? What can you do? What do you want?
Fill in this test to find out more about yourself.

Personality test
What motivates you to deliver good academic achievement
What determines your study choice

What study to choose? 
You can only search for a programme when you know yourself well. Which programmes are available? Take a look at the EUR bachelor degrees,studiekeuze123 or on kiesjestudie.nl for higher professional education and academic education studies in the Netherlands. Which programme suits you? What seems interesting to you? To find out which bachelor or master programme fits your interest, fill out the choice of study test.

Watch out for the 3 S pitfall
One of the biggest pitfalls in selecting a study is an irrelevant reason - also known as the 3 S pitfall (Site, Salary and Status). This includes the image of a study or profession (status), close to home or student association (site/city) or being able to earn a lot of money at a later stage (salary). Other pitfalls include: choosing a study because a friend is/will be doing it, family pressure, having no other idea. The more reasons you can find for your study choice the better.

If you’ve completed the orientation phase, move on to the exploration phase.

Occupations interest test

and Choice of Study Test

More information

Study switch


Study switch Workshop