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From Tree Trunk to your own branch How do ATLAS students find their direction?

Once upon a time there was this girl in high school who didn’t know what she wanted to study. She was overwhelmed by the amount and diversity of hundreds of bachelors she could choose from. She had the feeling that she should know by now what her favorite courses were and what her field of expertise was going to be. If she looked around her, she saw her friends making decisions for directions that are immediately quite narrowed down, like physics, psychology and artificial intelligence. However, at the same time, she didn’t see the wood for the trees: she just couldn’t figure out yet what her main interest was. This was all very frustrating because she felt like the odd one out. Why did she still not know what she wanted to do? If everyone just knows which subject they love the most, why is it so hard for her to figure that out?

Then, she asked help from a very wise man (long live study choice coaches) who helped her with finding the right bachelor. He reassured her that she had nothing to worry about. First of all, he said that it is completely fine to have a broad interest. It is okay if you don’t love a certain subject or hate half of them, but somewhat like most of them. Secondly, he emphasized the fact that there are bachelors out there who don’t require you to focus on one subject. Some bachelors even require you to be open-minded or not willing to settle down with a certain subject yet.

These reassuring words helped her regain confidence and she started looking for broad bachelors. Eventually, she found ATLAS and she was immediately fascinated by the idea behind ATLAS’s bachelor program. Every ATLAS student starts of with the same basis, which you can compare to a tree trunk. This consists of the domains engineering as well as social and natural science, that the program directors of ATLAS decided to be essential for a new engineer. So the first semester is the same for everyone with the same courses like Newtonian mechanics, calculus and introduction to social science.

Over the course of the bachelor program, every ATLAS student grows their own tree branch. This happens by gradually having more freedom in choosing which courses you want to follow, these are called electives. In the beginning all the courses are set like mentioned before, and in the last semester it is completely up to you. Every ATLAS student has their own process in finding the right direction, some people know that they want to get into mechanical engineering after one semester and others realize which path they want to take in their second year. It’s also completely fine to realize after a course that this wasn’t the right fit for you after all and that’s okay. Because of the importance of self-directed learning, everyone is consciously busy with the development of their academic development and that’s why it works.

You end up with a beautiful tree where every ATLAS student has their own branch, originated from the tree trunk. The diversity after ATLAS stays if you look at the amount of different masters. ATLAS students spread out to the fields of environmental science, civil engineering, quantum mechanics, econometrics, computer science, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and the list goes on! Don’t be afraid to stand out with your diverse interest, you will find your direction at some point! Let ATLAS be the perfect place to help you find that.

University College Twente offers a unique bachelor’s programme, Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences, to top students. Visit the University College Twente website for more information about the college and Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences website for more information about the bachelor program. Or visit us during the open day, a student-for-a-day or an insight-day.


Lieke van de Donk
Writer, class of 2021
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