Ana Caterina grew up at Avenor and we watched her with joy every year, evolving towards what she is today – an extraordinary young woman, confident in her strength, educated and willing to help, who inspires others through all her actions. Cate is a born leader who always assumes the coordination of complex projects, guiding teams naturally.
We are very happy to see that the first step in fulfilling her dream of saving the world continues with admission to the University of Amsterdam, PPLE section – a unique specialization through the exceptional combination of subjects, which gives future graduates access to a career in the highest level of influence and leadership in the world.
What are your reasons for applying to the University of Amsterdam and choosing Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE)?
PPLE is a unique course and I believe that this interdisciplinary approach can give me the perfect foundation I need to pursue my dream.
The fact that I could choose Law as a major, while studying a blend of inspiring and useful subjects, resonated with me. I believe that not one major problem facing the world today can be addressed without drawing on the subjects of politics, psychology, law and economics.
I admit that my competitive nature has led me to faculties recognized asselective”, known”as hard to get” where I have the opportunity to meet teachers – mentors and ambitious students, who will constantly challenge me.
While preparing for university, when I found this section at UvA and started reading about it, I knew it was the perfect option for me.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” and what do you hope to find at UvA to reach your goal?
For many years, my answer to this question was, “I want to be a lawyer”. However, because I grew up and I talked to people around me who inspire me, I realized that I want to discover more during my university years.
I hope that UvA will help me find the ideal career for me and be the first gateway to my place in the world. I am sure that choosing this course that combines LAW with several subjects of interest to me will help me to better understand the world, it will help me have a fresh, and open-minded perspective on the world.
How is the admission process at UvA?
The admission process was a complex one because PPLE is a very selective course. There are ‘numerus fixus’ faculties in the Netherlands – this means that the number of places is limited by the government. But PPLE is a ‘selective’ courseselective’that accepts only 200 students each year, because it is the only program that offers interdisciplinary education and because it offers students the chance to participate in small, interactive seminars.
The admission process began with a portfolio with documents related to my academic performance, as well as a CV and a motivation letter. In the motivation letter I had to ‘tell my story’, to prove that I am suitable for this study program, that I can cope with its intensity, and to explain what determined me to follow this path.
After analyzing my portfolio, I reached the second stage, which consisted of a ‘Study Plan’ and a ‘Financial Plan’, followed by the admission exam. This ‘Study Plan’ was a good exercise for me because it made me realize what my daily life in Amsterdam will look like, being an indicator of how intense everything will be.
And the admission exam was a challenge. I had a week to analyze two academic articles and a course delivered by a UvA professor.. The exam consisted of questions related to the articles and the course, followed by an essay on site. The second stage is the most selective, which is why I was very nervous at the exam.
The third stage of the admission process was an interview with someone from the PPLE admissions office.
What do you think were your strengths in getting into UvA?
I really wanted to go to PPLE because I realized it was perfect for me. So, I was very determined and decided and I think this was the differentiator. I knew from the beginning that it was a complex process and that PPLE was selective, but I set out to do everything I could to succeed.
I think it is also important that I started preparing for each stage in time and took the process seriously. For example, knowing that the motivation letter is very important, as it reflects who I am, in the summer before the beginning of the 12th grade I took the time to think about what makes me who I am and where my motivation comes from. It took me about 3 months to complete my motivation letter because I considered every word carefully and tried to tell my story in an authentic way.
How do you think Avenor helped you in the admission to a prestigious university in Europe? Do you think that a student who follows the British curriculum has more advantages? If so, how?
Avenor has helped me a lot as a community. I’ve always had someone to turn to. When I wasn’t sure how to structure my essay, when I had a problem with the documents I had to send, when I couldn’t understand some aspects of the articles I was reading, when I was emotional before the interview and when I was waiting to find out if I was accepted, the people at Avenor – teachers, counselors, colleagues – were always by my side and helped me.
The fact that Avenor believed in me and supported me throughout the process helped me a lot, it gave me confidence to complete my application.
I am sure that a student following the British curriculum has several advantages due to its structure. Preparing for A-levels invites us to discover what we are good at, what are your interests and to discover your passions. Moreover, universities know how difficult these exams are, as well as the fact that passing them requires a set of skills such as critical thinking, organization and a deep understanding of difficult concepts. Therefore, a student who follows the British curriculum has an advantage because since high school you get familiar with the way of teaching at the university and especially with the critical thinking process that is encouraged in this system.
More than my teachers’ academic guidance, an experience which had a wonderful impact on me was when I coordinated the most important project led entirely by students – Avenor Christmas Charity Fair. I learned how to build a team, how to delegate tasks, how to manage the complex challenges raised by an event with hundreds of children. I remember the year in which we aspired to have the biggest choir created in a school in Bucharest and we brought together 500 children who sang carols. Or the year in which we organized the Christmas fair outside the school and we had invited parents and students not only from Avenor but from several international schools. These unique opportunities created by Avenor help us to develop, to find out from real life experiences how we can contribute to what is happening around us and why not, constantly learning something new about ourselves.
What advice do you have for a 9th grader who is considering applying to UvA in 12th grade to successfully pass the admissions process?
My advice is to discover yourself. Get involved in internships, carry out projects, participate and organize events!
Being involved in extracurricular activities will lead you towards discovering what you like, to meeting people who could have a positive impact on your life and will allow you to figure out what path you want to follow after graduating high school.
Also, don’t stress about where you will end up. I think life has a way of leading you to the place where you are supposed to be.