CEL Innovation Room #11: Becoming a college student: Considering cognitive development, interests and study behaviours of young adults in HE

Friday June 29th 2018
Erasmus University College, Rotterdam

An  important task of higher education institutes is offering sufficient and effective support to young adults in the transition from secondary education into higher education and guide them into study success. Do the curriculum and study guidance that is offered meet the needs of students? How are students’ performance and study experiences influenced? Could this be improved? In this Innovation Room a number of issues related to the cognitive development of young adults, their interests study behaviors and how we can support and guide them have been addressed.


After Martine Baars’ introduction our keynote speakers shared their experiences and knowledge, after that researchers and other experts presented posters representing a broad view on cognitive development of adolescents related to learning.


Laura van der Aar MSc. is a PhD candidate at the Brain and Development Lab of the Leiden University. Her research is focused on the relation of adolescent self-concept and academic decision making. More and more is discovered about the development of the human brain. In adolescence people develop self-exploration and an own identity, influenced by a lot of parameters (parents, peers, school, etc). To get to know more about the above mentioned relation, she studied two  groups of adolescents who had to make maybe the most important decision of their life: what am I going to study? One group was doing a ‘Breekjaar’, a gap year filled with support, workshops and training to get to  know yourself better; the control group did get any additional support. Conclusion of the study is that positive academic self-evaluations and healthy levels of self-esteem could be important conditions for the ability to make future oriented academic choices.

Dr. Brian Godor, Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He did several studies on reducing stress among students. He’s convinced of the fact that every student that starts at university has the capacity to be successful. Having doubts about choices made are necessary and natural in the process of growing up and maturing. Moreover there are a lot of factors causing stress. How can we help students handling stress better? Brain showed the results of studies where expressive writing exercises were offered to students. In the attached presentation these results are shown.

After a short break participants visited a poster market, where several students, researchers and student counsellors presented their work on enhancing student support.

List of presenters:

  • Sven Cammeraat
  • Jean-Marie Molina
  • Gertjan Rop
  • Lorenzo Duchi
  • Kathy Barry
  • Martine Baars for Jacqueline Wong

All posters are attached.