Fifteen percent more preliminary registrations.
Students want to start before loan system is introduced.
Other universities are also seeing a big jump in preliminary registrations. A spokesperson for the Association of Universities says this is due to the expected introduction of the loan system in 2014. Many young people have decided to drop the idea of a gap year because of this and start on their degree studies at once.
There are big differences between the degree subjects at Wageningen UR. One of the outliers is the BSc in Health and Society. The 60 enrolments to date already exceed the total of 49 for last year. These figures would mean an eventual increase of 87 percent. 'It's quite an explosion,' agrees Gerry van Nieuwenhoven, the programme director, 'especially given that we didn't do anything special besides our usual PR activities. But we have been a "top degree" for years in the Guide to Higher Education. That attracts people who would not normally be interested in Wageningen but are now taking a look. Our programme also involves a theme that is relevant to society. Perhaps people these days would rather be working on that than in banking, for instance?'
It will certainly be busy in the Leeuwenborch building: With 117 preliminary registrations, Management, Economics and Consumer Studies looks likely to attract the most first years in Wageningen UR, beating the traditional leaders Biology and Nutrition and Health.
Molecular Life Sciences is also doing well with 49 enrolments, 81 percent more than this time last year. Landscape Architecture and Planning, on the other hand, has seen a drop of 46 percent while the joint Tourism degree has recorded 41 percent fewer preliminary registrations. However the programme director Jan Philipsen is quick to put these figures in perspective. 'We are already seeing a recovery in the most recent figures for Landscape Architecture. There was a good turnout for the open days and the visitors got a very positive impression of the programme, so we're not expecting a big decrease. It's always very difficult to predict the figures for Tourism as there are so many enrolments from abroad. Other figures are a lot more promising so I am confident we will end up with about the same number of first years as last year.'