me, myself & andrei

20 Apr 2008
Studera.nu - Petition

UPDATE: This petition is on standby (114 signatures have been archived)

If you support the action of the following petition, please sign it.
Your e-mail address will act as a unique signature.

A strong statement is needed for a change!
YOU are needed to make a strong statement!

In order to show the diversity of nationalities, you are kindly asked to
attach your country name to your full name in brackets
e.g. “Andrei Neculau (Romania)”.

The date when this petition will be sent out is yet to be decided.

Comments are much appreciated and you are welcome to have your say,
but the content of the petition will not change whatsoever.
In case a strong argument will be highlighted through comments, there are other ways to raise awareness about it as well, without changing the content.

Please bare in mind that a petition can be signed
even if you agree with less than 100% of its content.

NOTA BENE!

  • Pay attention since the confirmation e-mail
    might end up in your SPAM/BULK folder.
  • Your e-mail address will not be given away to third parties, but only used for the support of this petition. Upon delivery of the petition, all e-mail addresses will be deleted from the database.
  • This petition is not and does not even try to be comprehensive, thus the phrase “Bellow, BRIEFLY stated, are SOME of the reasons…”. A petition only tries to gather support and to highlight problems and solutions/requests.
</p>
What you sign for? One thing only!
To make the students part of the improving process
by analyzing, discussing & reaching a common resolution.
It is the best way to prioritize and to go forward!

Petition Body

  • To Mr. Lars Leijonborg
    Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research;
  • To The Swedish Ministry of Education and Research;
  • To Verket för högskoleservice (The VHS Admissions Office).

VHS Admissions

We, the undersigned of this document, prospective international students to Higher Studies in Sweden, prospective Swedish students or former applicants, altogether simply concerned and active individuals call for the improvement of the centralized admission system.

We do so not because we have the right for a better system and demand one forcefully, but because it is in the benefit of all - both Swedish and international students, both employees of the VHS Admissions Office and university reviewers, both involved individuals and organizational groups.

But above all, we do it in the interest of fellow colleagues, future prospective students, who might be part of the admission system in the time to come and we would like their experience to be smoother.

Below, briefly stated, are some of the reasons we consider the current system to be leaving space for improvements. Its implementation for December 2007 international applicants was welcomed and embraced, but we feel empowered to share our understanding in the effort of changing the things that went for the worse or that have made a stressful period for both students, on one hand, and Admissions Offices, on the other hand, whether national or university based.

  1. Improper Contact Options <ol type="a">
  2. The online contact form residing at "studera.nu" was generally producing only template-based responses no matter if the questions were specific or general, of low or high importance, with an available response already online or not.
  3. Phone calls, leaving aside the international call costs, were putting an enormous strain on the VHS Admissions Office operators and putting the callers on long queues, even more than one hour long.
  4. Some university based Admissions Offices have been hard or impossible to reach supposedly due to a high overloading or transferred questions from the VHS Admissions Office to their office.
  5. </ol>

  6. Issues with Application Filling and Documentation <ol type="a">
  7. The provided mail address was not appropriate for courier/express services. The new address was only given through individual talks with the admissions offices or through unofficial blog pages.
  8. Searching for programmes was more like a beautifying option than a useful tool. Programme codes have been mostly taken by students from individual university pages and used directly in the centralized system.
  9. Some types of documents, like reference letters, which are usually university or programme focused, became obsolete without notification since students were asked to attach only 2 reference letters for all the programmes part of one application.
  10. </ol>

  11. Low -quality Communication Techniques <ol type="a">
  12. "studera.nu" lacked an up-to-date Frequently Asked Questions section.
  13. Some students received E-mail confirmation of documents' arrival, while others did not and thus putting them to uncertainties.
  14. Students' Application Pages were showing virtual messages, while messages were simply status changes, again putting students to doubts.
  15. Nothing mentioned an assigned Admission Officer from the top priority application alternative's university. Thus questions and concerns were primarily targeted at the VHS Admissions Office and awaited a reply, only to be redirected several days after to an Admission Officer.
  16. Full names of the Selection Groups were only available on the Swedish version of the application page.
  17. Nothing stated that the Selection Groups and Merit Ratings were decided by each university at will and that they cannot be treated as a compelling situation summary.
  18. </ol>

  19. Confusing Planning and Situation Management <ol type="a">
  20. The extended application period (March 15 - April 15) has not been announced on the centralized system, but only on individual university pages which were only stating descriptions of their master programmes, highlighting specific requirements and linking to "studera.nu" for application procedures before and during the normal application period (December 1 - February 1).
  21. The extended application period was not complementary to the normal application period and created some unexpected situations:
    1. Applications made during the extended application period were to be considered with full priority, while February 15 - March 15 were to be considered late and with low priority.
    2. European Union/European Economic Area students were requested to change their application and incorporate new programme codes. These codes were not made available before or during the normal application period.
    3. European Union/European Economic Area students applying to some of the programmes included in the extended application period have been treated as international students (putting in place the requirement of finished bachelor studies) and they would be disqualified if they weren't going to switch to the new programme code.
    4. Universities have treated the extended application period differently. Some have implemented new programme codes in the centralized admission system, with a new application deadline (April 15/18), while the old codes couldn't be added to application. Other universities allowed the old codes to be added to post-February 1 applications, thus making no demand on changing to new programme codes.
  22. Application statuses have been switching back and forth without any reason whatsoever. Students have seen their application alternative going from Application in process to Unqualified and back, or from a given Selection Group and Merit Rating back to Application in process and back.
  23. End of the Admission Round was postponed twice without a stated official reason. First from April 15 to April 29, and then to May 8. Supposedly, if it was indeed due to overload, we feel that an extended application period should not have taken place. This delay could create problems for students who need to go under visa procedures.
  24. </ol>

We, the undersigned, respectfully petition
Verket för högskoleservice and
the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research

  • to establish a better management for admissions
  • to implement a more transparent and assisting centralized admission system

This would be thoroughly enacted

  • by analyzing the encountered issues
  • by discussing the possible solutions and actions with all the involved parties
  • by reaching a unilateral resolution
  • by implementing the required changes to the system in a timely manner

Andrei