I'm currently writing an objection to a decision to reject my Master application.

The decision is made by Admission office, not by Admission Board or Committee. All members of the Admission office are not members of the academic staff, so there is no at least one professor from the programme who participated in making this decision to reject my application. I checked this because in the email I received, there are the names of the members.

As they use the word "reject" it might lead someone to think that my application was not complete, but this was not true. According to this decision, my application was carefully examined and, in addition, I was not informed that there is some document missing as it is stated in the FAQ on there website, i.e. they will inform me in the case of missing document or delay caused by more time they need to check my educational background.

In the email that I received there is no a reason why my application is rejected. Now I have to state clearly the grounds on which I object there decision.

I applied with not only BSc that meets the requirements but also with two year Master degree in the same field, successfully finished without redoubling the year, high marks. Before applying I informed the admission office for this and I did not have any remarks for my previous educational beckground as I saw that all requirements are referring to previous Bsc. I was even waved out from GRE/GMAT requirements.

I need the help especially from those who have expericence in the European (EU) Education Law or Dutch Higer Education and Research Act (WHW) to clearly state the Articles that are violated concerning:

  1. The composition of the Admission office (I know that it is a practice everywhere in the world to have at least one professor, but I need an official document, I cannot only refer to the ethics)
  2. The right of a student to have at least some information to know why the application was rejected as it has to state clearly the grounds of his objection
  3. Is there any convention or document that clearly defines what is non-selected and rejected document (this document must be official)
  4. Regarding the level of my previous education which fully satisfies the requirement, is there any ground for discrimination based on the fact that maybe I'm overqualified or overeducated, taking into considereation also the fact they told me previously that I can apply?

Thank you for your understanding

  • 7
    Firstly, I think interpreting "Reject" as "Incomplete" is incorrect. "Reject" is "Not accepted". Secondly, have you emailed them to ask for a reason? Apr 28, 2014 at 11:49
  • 5
    is europe that different than america? in the states, even if you pass the online minimum, you can still be rejected if there are better candidates Apr 28, 2014 at 11:53
  • 11
    Forgive my ignorance, but do you have reason to think that the laws you mention (imposing requirements on how the university considers applications) actually exist? In the US I'm quite certain there are no such laws, and frankly I'd be a bit surprised if the Netherlands has them. Apr 28, 2014 at 13:06
  • 2
    I think the core of the misunderstanding here is that most commenters come from an US background, where it is quite usual to reject suitable students if better people apply, while in Europe admission is often unrestricted as long as formal minimal criteria (e.g., a valid bachelor) are fulfilled. It sounds to me like the OP was applying to such an institution, was under the impression that he fulfills all necessary criteria, and was still rejected. OP, can you please confirm this? The most important info is whether there is a numeric cap on the student number for the master you applied for.
    – xLeitix
    Apr 28, 2014 at 13:47
  • 6
    @mak Schools that practice selective admission (i.e. there are a limited number of spots and not all qualified students are admitted) don't usually tell you the reason for rejection. Under selective admission policies, the reason can be assumed to be "all the spots were filled by better students." So it's very relevant to know whether this school offers unrestricted admission or selective admission.
    – ff524
    Apr 28, 2014 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


In my (central European) university, candidates for admission to a master's program who are coming from an outside university go through either an "admissions committee" (Zulassungsausschuss) or an "examination committee" (Prüfungsausschuss). Although the decisions are in fact made by those committees, the decisions are usually reported through assistants to those committees, who would constitute the "admissions office." It would represent a huge time commitment for the chair of the committee to individually respond to the different applications, and therefore that work is passed on to the intermediaries.

Thus, I wouldn't read too much into the fact the letter came from the "admissions office" instead of the "admissions committee."

However, if you were in fact rejected on the basis of having an "incomplete" application, even though you were explicitly told that you would be notified of missing documents, that would give you the right to request a review, since they didn't follow their explicit policies.

  • It is clearly stated in the email (decision) that "the Admission office carefully examined the application", "We decided to rejecte your application", and at the end there are the five memebers of the Admission office. No examination or admission board, no graduate school director as it should be according to the univeristy regulations. I have always had in my previous educational experience an answers with the reason as well as signature of the programme director. This is first time I encounter such thing. To apply cost 130$.
    – mak_ec
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:18
  • 9
    Making a big deal over who read your application isn't going to get you very far. You're much better off focusing on verifiable facts.
    – aeismail
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:29
  • i fully agree, and beleive me I have a lot to write as I have already Master degree in the same field. Even on their website they address applicants with BSc or Master degree in the same field. But, if I don't have a reason, even if it is the number cap, It's hard to state clearly the grounds of objection as they ask.
    – mak_ec
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:32
  • 3
    I have already Master degree in the same field — That fact alone would lead to an immediate administrative rejection at my university. Does your target university award duplicate degrees?
    – JeffE
    Apr 28, 2014 at 22:32
  • 1
    @mak_ec "They invite international applicants with Bsc or Msc..." could this statement be for the next degree? That is, BSc for applicants applying for a MSc and MSc for a PhD?
    – mkennedy
    Apr 29, 2014 at 18:52

As the bachelor-master subdivision in the Netherlands is fairly recent, most master's programs are so-called "Connecting Master's". These are designed for students graduating from one specific bachelor's program at that same university. All students who graduated from that bachelor's program (and sometimes hand-picked similar programs at other Dutch universities) are accepted into the Masters automatically. If by a "BSc that meets the requirements", you mean that you completed one of these bachelor's program that should qualify you for automatic admission, you should be able to build a much stronger case than worrying about who was on the committe.

On the other hand, students who did not graduate from one of these selected bachelor's programs have to apply to the university for a certificate of admission (bewijs van toelating). The application procedure is left up to the individual universities to define and implement. The conditions for acceptance will depend on the specific program you applied for. This means that (assuming you fall into this category) you should base your appeal on the university policies for the application procedure, and the program's requirements.

The admission requirements should be detailed in the "onderwijs- en examenregeling" of the program you're applying for, and should match the education goals of the preceding bachelor's program.

Source: Wet op het hoger onderwijs en wetenschappelijk onderzoek, Artikel 7.30a.

  • Thanks, I have MSc in the field, but not Dutch. I analysed the WHW (the Dutch law on higher education and research), nothing about those who apply with a Master degree, only for applicants for Msc with Bsc. However, on the website of Uv, for the Inter.applicants, the student with Master degree are also mentioned as potential applicant. In the programme requirements, for every subject that is considered as key for the programme (statistics, probability or mathematics), I can provide with my previous education background at least 4 subjects that I followed with high marks of course.
    – mak_ec
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:19
  • The problem is that I can not find the WHW (the Dutch law on higher education and research) in the english version, so that I can clearly state the Articles.
    – mak_ec
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:20
  • 2
    There is no official English translation of Dutch law, but my answer is essentially a summary of the relevant articles of the WHW. Of course, IANAL, so take all this with a grain of salt. That said, I don't think national law will help you here. You clearly fall into the category where the university gets to decide whether you meet the criteria or not, and apparently they think you don't. Dutch law doesn't dictate anything about the application or appeals processes.
    – Mangara
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .