Applying to IGAD: introduction

By Tiia van Lokven|July 19, 2014IGAD|7 comments

Applying to IGAD: Intro

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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:Step-by-step
    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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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…costsIt makes me want to sob a little.
  8. 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.

See Applying to IGAD: Intake Assignments here!

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  1. Hello Tiia! Thank you so much for writing about your intake process, it helped me a lot in preparing myself for applying to the school! And now I found out that I got in, so I am trying to figure out how to proceed. One of the things I am trying to find out is which laptop would be the best buy. You write in this post that your laptop cost 1000 euros, but which laptop is it that you have? I have been looking at the spec requirements of the school and every laptop I saw so far which meets these requirements is at least double the price that your laptop cost! O_O
    Would you have any recommendation regarding which laptop to buy? Do you know by any chance which laptops the teachers recommend?

    1. Hey Maia! 🙂

      My laptop is the Lenovo Ideapad Y50-70 which is unfortunately not being sold anymore. The specs have hold up pretty well, except for the heaviest 3D work which mostly requires a little patience.


      I asked my husband, who is a HUGE computer nut and who was responsible for finding me a laptop, and he compiled a list of budget-friendly suggestions for you. Keep in mind that not meeting all and every requirement the IGAD website list is not a huge problem. Not wasting money on stuff you might not need, especially since laptops don’t age gracefully and you will need to upgrade in 3-5 years anyway, is the way to go – in my opinion, anyway. 🙂

      * Lenovo y520 – basically the newer version of my laptop, with a better screen than the original. In the original IdeaPad the screen was absolutely terrible so I ended up swapping it out with another one.
      * Dell Inspiron 15 7000 – even more budget friendly laptop.
      * Dell XPS 15 – if more money is available, but still under the 2000 euros!

      Hope this helps. Good luck, and welcome to IGAD! 🙂

  2. Hey, I hope it’s okay if I ask you. I was accepted to the programming course and I’m starting this year, so I need a new laptop. My question is, how long does it have to last? Would 2-3 hours (under normal use) be enough, or should I go for 4-6? Also, since I assume these would be too big to carry to class, should I get a smaller (like 11 inch) notebook, or would pen and paper suffice?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Dorothy!

      Welcome to IGAD! 😀

      A lot of people drag very big and bulky laptops to class – Alienware and the like. You will need a laptop all day during class hours, so going for the most expensive option, within your financial means, is much recommended. 🙂

      1. Thank you! So basically, since they say a 15 or 17-inch is recommended (and I wouldn’t go below either), I need two laptops. In which case, do I need to carry both every day, or can I leave the heavier one at home on certain days? I mean, I have no clue how close I’ll live to the uni and even though it seems like a great exercise, I’d rather not carry a 5 pound laptop back and forth on a daily basis 😀

        1. With a good backpack (or if you have back problems, buying a trolley with wheels so you can pull it along – I’ve seen a few students do this), bringing a heavy laptop along is very doable. 😉 I would advise against dividing your money for two laptops and just have one very good one, as you need all the processing power you can get your hands on. Unreal Engine projects tend to get frustrating to work with unless you have a decent laptop. 🙂

          You could reach out in the This Is IGAD Facebook group and ask for what kind of setups your fellow students are going to have to see what would work for you the best. 🙂

          1. I was thinking of some cheap 200 euro notebook so I don’t have to hide behind a 15 inch screen during lectures, but you’re probably right. Problem is, I need one with a Hungarian keyboard (since it’s really different from an English one) and the one with the longest battery life (6 hours), is said to have a bad keyboard…which I’ll have to use a lot 😀
            But I’ll ask in the group, thanks again 🙂

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