Applying to IGAD: introduction
Applying to IGAD: Introduction
I love a good informational blog post like the next teenager trying to figure out which caffeinated drink to buy at Starbucks.
As a short intro: International Game Architecture and Design (or, IGAD for short) is a university programme at NHTV in Breda. When I started my applying process in February, I had no idea how little information directly related to IGAD was available on the internet. If I were to exclude all Sudan-related “IGAD” topics from Google search results, I’d be left with a handful of articles of varying quality.
Initially, I attended NHTV’s open evening in February just to get a general idea of what the programme was about. This open evening was surprisingly nice, and the while the building could have been a tad bit newer and had working air conditioning, what I heard and saw in the introductions for the different specializations blew my mind. As starry-eyed as I was when we drove home that evening, I had no idea just how much work is needed when applying to IGAD. Disclaimer; some of these steps are only applicable for “foreign students” (anyone with a non-Dutch diploma), and more specifically for those who have completed vocational school instead of higher education. Also, I applied for the Visual Arts specialization, but beyond the intake assignments, the steps shouldn’t differ. For urgent questions about the application process, please contact NHTV’s international student office – but I will do my best to answer any questions you might have. 🙂
The following posts are merely meant to serve as a guidepost of sorts. I’m also going to post links to all the sources that helped me with my intake assignments as well as see if I can help you with finding the supplies, software and hardware you need should you be selected.
Application process, and how not to panic
- Check the NHTV admission requirements page for IGAD to see if you qualify before you start running around gathering your paperwork! I almost made a mistake with this one and started the application process before I knew I needed to take an English test. Now is also a good time to review your finances: can you actually afford this course? Do you have a laptop or need to buy one? What about study financing from the government? Tuition fees? Do you need to move to Breda (and “rent a room” like the Dutchies would say) or do you intend to travel back and forth (between another Dutch city and Breda)? There are many things to think about, and you have to make sure that you’re not going into this process and realizing halfway that because of x or y something is not possible for you.
- Read the NHTV page for applying to IGAD carefully. This page contains the first few steps you need to take in order to apply, and is a kind of a portal to the rest of the pages related to this procedure, unfortunately some of them being in Dutch. Google translate is your friend. Also, the self-assessment test has never seemingly worked, so don’t bother with it. You’ll have to trust your gut instinct here.
- Assuming you want more detailed explanations of the upcoming steps, there is another thorough step-by-step page available in English. Do pay attention to the deadlines of assignments, and once you have applied via the Studielink service, you should soon receive your intake assignments. If you apply early enough, you can get “a second chance” in delivering your intake assignments, should the first batch be unsatisfactory to NHTV, so I urge you to apply before December!
- Carefully make sure that you are preparing everything they ask for in the digital application package. Especially if you need to deliver English test results – keep in mind, that should you take the TOEFL test as I did, receiving your test results will take 4 to 6 weeks, or even longer.
- It’s probably a good idea to make an Excel file with the steps that you need to take, and before when. Mine looked like this:
It’s so very important that YOU know exactly what you need to do, and before when you need to do it. This Google Docs sheet kept me sane throughout the process. It’s not pretty, but it did a decent job. I even kept an applying journal for future reference!
- When thinking of making official copies of your diplomas, know that you also need official translations. I circled back to a Finnish translator to have my documents officially translated into English (she did an excellent job!), and then took those official translations to a notary office to have official copies made.
- The hole the needed documents and hardware can blow in your wallet is not to be underestimated! I think I spent around 600 euros only on applying (copies, translations, English test, and an application fee that only foreign students have to pay). Meanwhile, I still have to cash out 1000 euros on a new laptop, more on software and books, art supplies and even such trivial thing as a travel card. This number climbs up very quickly!
This is what my estimation of study-related costs for the next 4 years looks like…It makes me want to sob a little.
- Take your time, but don’t let yourself slip when making the intake assignments. You might have to restart several times (like I did) if you’re not familiar with one or more of the subjects, or dislike them with the glowing passion of a hundred suns.
Give yourself time to practice, and avoid stressing yourself out.
Well, these would probably be my main tips for applying to IGAD so far. In my next post I will talk about the different intake assignments, and point to some resources that saved me from hitting myself repeatedly with a blunt object.