Carolyn Barr is International Relations Advisor at Leiden University. Connect with her on LinkedIn
“Leiden University is a public research university located in Leiden and The Hague in the Netherlands. The university is the original university of the Netherlands, founded in 1575. The university is ranked in the top 100 in prominent international rankings, and has many celebrated alumni and researchers. With almost four and a half centuries of scholarship and research comes a solid reputation, but also great responsibility. The programmes on offer in English reflect the focus of the university on making a social and scientific impact in the world today, and the world of tomorrow. We have a total of 34,000 students across our two locations, offering almost 200 master’s programmes and 50 bachelor’s programmes. Sixteen of those bachelor’s programmes are English-taught, and the international student body ranges between 30-60%. ‘Discover the world at Leiden University’ is what we communicate to students, and for good reason!
Why international schools matter to Leiden University
The Netherlands has welcomed international students for decades (centuries, in fact!) and is a highly international system overall. An integral part of Leiden University’s approach is internationalisation. Simply put, it improves the research being done across the university by having the best scholars from around the world working and studying at Leiden University, and it improves the classroom experience in our programmes.
Having an international classroom enhances each student’s experience and helps them build skills they will need in their future careers: understanding others’ perspectives and developing empathy, critical thinking, cross-cultural learning/sharing, conflict resolution and more. Students from international schools often already have begun building these skills and have an international mindset, a sense of adventure, and often, some independence, which is very important for students coming to the Netherlands. These students transition to Leiden University quite well, and due to the high academic level of many national and international curricula, thrive in the research environment of Leiden University. Thus, the international schools market is an excellent fit for Leiden University and vice versa.
How ISC Research and the ISC Outreach portal help our international team
ISC Outreach is valuable for our international planning and strategy as it gives us access to information about new markets, possible new opportunities within schools where we have existing relationships, and allows us to explore different schools around the world.
Being able to use the ISC Outreach portal provides us with a wealth of information about the curricula that schools offer, which is important in ascertaining if students would be eligible to apply to Leiden University. Diploma diversity is also an important part of Leiden University’s strategy, and we want to look beyond some of the typical international curricula where possible.
The portal also allows us to gather more information about the demographics of a school to assess other aspects of fit. This may include financial fit, as students will need to have the resources for tuition and living expenses in northern Europe, level of English and more. The database also helps us source the best contacts for each type of outreach we may be considering.
Developing our opportunities with ISC Outreach
We began with ISC Outreach at the end of 2020 and haven’t yet maximized all the resources available, but have really appreciated the International School Positioning webinar series hosted by ISC Research and the data intelligence reports. Learning about regional markets, trends and current events in the international school market has helped us envision all the possibilities that ISC Outreach offers, and how Leiden University can best serve the international school population.
The Admissions Office is also piloting using the database to verify emails from international schools around the world for document submission – thus something outside of recruitment and marketing, but something that may serve the international school community in the future if the pilot is successful. Something a little outside the box!
The support from ISC Research
There are two things that are most important from ISC Research – the database itself allows us a very targeted approach, and this is the core reason for working with ISC Research. This allows us to strategize, assess market areas, and reach out to relevant international school staff in support of our recruitment goals. However, the service we’ve received since we started working with ISC Research is excellent and we really appreciate having that support. The staff are always willing to help with additional training, new ideas and reports, and more.”