First year student guide: Tilburg University
Being a first year student at a university is an exciting experience, but also a completely new experience. Therefore, I (an experienced first year student) would like to share some tips with you. These tips definitely helped me during my first year as an IBA student. They vary from public transport to study associations, so be prepared to take notes!
#1 TOP week
TOP stands for Tilburg Orientation Program. TOP week is an introduction week for first year students, where you can meet other students and explore the city of Tilburg. There are also lots of activities where you can explore the sport and study associations. You can have drinks, play games, but you also get information about your study. Therefore, I would advise you to participate in the TOP week. It is the perfect kick-off for your first year!
#2 Study and student associations
Study and student associations are the perfect place to meet with students, also from other years, and to improve some of your skills. These associations organize lots of informal activities (pub quizzes, parties, bowling, etc.) where you can get to know other students. There is Asset | Tilburg, Olof, I*ESN, and many more. You can learn more about them during the TOP week or on their websites.
If you are also looking for something that can help you to improve some work and study related skills, you should consider joining a committee! For example, the study association Asset | Tilburg is split up in Asset | Accounting & Finance, Asset | International Business & Management, etc. Varying which study you do or interest you have, you can join one of the departments. Within these departments you can choose to join a committee. All committees of Asset | International Business & Management are available on the website. For example, if you want to improve your writing, designing, and planning skills, you can choose to join the Go-Business committee. If you want to join a committee, be sure to register on time: in some cases you have to prepare a small motivation letter!
#3 Facebook pages and WhatsApp group chats
Most studies at Tilburg University have their own Facebook page. Here you can find information about (formal) activities, you can find students who sell books or summaries and services such as tutorships to help you during your study. Often there are links to WhatsApp group chats with fellow students. In these chats you can ask questions about lectures, group projects, etc. It is a nice way to find out if other students share your experiences.
#4 To buy or to not buy books
This one really depends on what kind of student you are: do you prefer to read from paper or from your laptop? Study association Asset | Tilburg has a bookstore that provides you with a list of the books you will need, and offers a discount! Another way to collect your books is to buy them second-hand. You can find people who offer second-hand books on the Facebook page, ask around in the group chat or look at websites such as Marktplaats.nl. If you are also okay with reading from your laptop, you can ask people for the PDF-files. Pay attention to the fact that the PDF-files are often from an older version of the book. This can make a difference in the numbering of chapters or exercises. The differences are small, but I just wanted to make you aware of this.
#5 Public transport
Dealing with public transport does not have to be difficult (if the NS does their job right). Luckily, Tilburg University has its own railway station. From there, it is only a 5 to 10 minute walk to the university, depending on the building you need to be in. Therefore, I would advise you to look at the map (available at the Tilburg University website) to find out where on campus you need to be. Additionally, I would say that it is better to be half an hour too early than half an hour too late, especially if you have exams. Because if your train or bus is delayed and you are only one minute late, it could be possible that you are not able to enter the exam anymore…
#6 Practice exams = life savers
During your semester you have two weeks of midterms and two/three weeks of exams. The midterms mostly account for around 30% of your final grade, while the final exam accounts for around 70%. Your result from the midterm will show if you should learn more next time or if your understanding of the material is good. Pay attention to the fact that if you do not do well on your midterm, you will need a pretty high grade on the final exam and this might lead to a lot of (unnecessary) stress.
If you want to prepare for your midterms or exams, I would strongly advise you to do the practice exams that teachers make available. I know I sound like a teacher right now, but it helps me a lot. By practicing these exams you get familiar with the structure of the exam, the kind of questions they ask, how to answer them, etc. And, if you are lucky, you get rewarded with a question on the exam that was taken from a practice exam. And who does not like a ‘free’ point?
#7 Other ways to study
Next to making practice exams, I use three other methods to prepare for my exams. Making summaries is one of them, but because you have to learn a lot of chapters, this might take up a lot of time. That is why I also find it useful to make flashcards. It will take up less time, and because you have to learn many concepts flashcards will help you to memorize them better. Another thing I find useful is watching videos about certain topics. They can be very helpful when you do not completely understand a certain topic.
Written by: Daphne Gommans