Binding Study Advice and the Mentorate

The Binding Study Advice (BSA) relates to the student’s progress during the propaedeutic year, while the Mentorate provides support during their studies

Binding Study Advice (BSA)

The Binding Study Advice relates to the student’s progress during the propaedeutic year. Three times a year, students receive written advice about how their study is progressing.
This advice is officially issued by the Examination Committee (authorised to do so by the Executive Board). The study advisor and study coordinator are responsible for implementing this advice, based on a pre-advice from the mentors.

Students receive interim advice at the end of January. If the student does not have enough credits and is advised against continuing his/her studies, he/she can cancel the study financing before 1 February, so that any grants already received are not converted into a loan.
The definitive, binding advice is given by 1 September.

The advice is based on progress made during the study. (Combinations of) different skills are assessed:

  1. knowledge and insight (exam grades)
  2. writing skills (essays)
  3. verbal skills and input (reports)

Students receive positive advice if they have obtained at least 40 ects on 31 August (end of academic year). If special or personal circumstances have prevented a student from achieving the required credits, he/she may still be given positive advice.
Such circumstances are known to the mentorate and recorded in the student’s dossier. The Examination Committee (and Executive Board) must also be familiar with these circumstances. Special circumstances may relate to older students, refugees and students doing two programmes. Personal circumstances include:

  • illness / physical, sensory or other function impairment / pregnancy / special family circumstances
  • membership in certain university organisations
  • membership in a student organisation, etc.
Leiden University modifies BSA regulation for the first year and ends experiment with second year as of 23 May 2016. More information

The Mentorate

The aim of the Mentorate is to closely follow and support the progress of students during their propaedeutic year to ensure that they pass the propaedeutic exam within a year. This means that any negative factors affecting the study are recognised and if possible resolved.

The reasons for problems relating to studies may lie with the student (study skills, motivation, personal situation, etc.) or with the programme (timetable, presentation, degree of difficulty, etc.).
The mentorate is thus not only important for providing sound study advice, but also for evaluating and adjusting the study programme.

Mentorate groups

Students are allocated in alphabetical order to mentor groups of around 10 people, each with a mentoring lecturer (one of the propaedeutic lecturers) and perhaps a student mentor.

In the first 3 blocks, each group meets weekly for Academic Skills and study support. One or more times a year, the mentoring lecturer also meets each student for a personal interview. A student or lecturer may also request additional interviews.

Besides addressing Academic Skills, these group and individual sessions also look at certain subjects (you can therefore prepare for the sessions) related to the study programme (problem areas), study skills and your social situation. The details are discussed and filled in on a ‘mentorate form’ for the group and a ‘support form’ for the individual student (the so-called ‘dossier’).

The forms are all incorporated in the student's personal digital portfolio. This portfolio provides a basis for preparing counselling interviews and for monitoring students. Students are themselves the owners of the portfolios and are required to update the portfolio several times a year in preparation for a meeting or interview.


  • 1st week of September: individual introductory session to explore how well prepared the student is for the study and if there are any existing personal circumstances which might have a negative impact on the student’s progress
  • September - December: weekly mentorate sessions for academic skills and study support
  • End of January - personal Binding Study Advice (BSA) interview. The advice is based on progress made so far during the study
  • February - March: weekly mentorate session or excursion for academic skills and study support
  • End of June - personal Binding Study Advice (BSA) interview. The advice is based on progress made during the study

Last Modified: 24-05-2016