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Practicing top-class sports and studying: it is possible at Tio

Top-class athletes Caresse Kolkman and Sanne van der Pols are both students at Tio Business School. Sanne studies Real Estate and Property Management at Tio Amsterdam and Caresse is studying Law in Hengelo. The riders have busy lives, with full training schedules, international competitions and important deadlines and exams. Yet they keep a firm grip on the reins. At school, in their private lives and on their horses.  

When Sanne turned one, there was a very special birthday present in the living room: a pony! "Yes, it was really literally ín the house," laughs Sanne. "My parents had a boarding stable at home, so for us this was not that strange. I grew up with horses and always loved them. When I was six years old, I started riding. And when I was nine, I became Dutch dressage champion in the B-ponies. From then on I knew: I want to be the best!"  

For Caresse, too, the passion for horses was instilled at an early age. "My parents used to run a horse breeding farm. When they were working in the stables, I would lie next to them in the pram. Not surprisingly, a few years later I climbed on a horse myself. In addition, my father was a hunting rider and concluded every season with the 'hunter trials': an event in which horses complete challenging courses. Sometimes I was allowed to ride along and I loved it. That's how I got into eventing horse competitions."  


Sanne and Caresse trained and trained, as a result of which they both now proudly hold NOC*NSF top athlete status. Sanne in dressage, Caresse in eventing. To maintain that level, you have to keep training, performing and winning. And you need a school that understands that. "I have always studied at special top sport schools," Caresse explains. "But not all of them were nearly as flexible as Tio. If I missed a classdue to an international competition, it was difficult to catch up. As a result, I missed a lot of important classes and I found that annoying. Rider friends tipped me Tio because they had good experiences with it themselves."  

Sanne agrees: "At my previous school, I got the idea that they were not really happy with me and my top sports schedule. It was difficult to catch up on classes and it was impossible to reschedule exams. Once I decided to quit, I read that Tio was highly regarded when it came to top-level sports students. After one conversation with Tio, I was sold."  

Custom education  

Both amazons have not regretted their choice for a day. "At Tio, they do what they promise," states Sanne. "If I miss a class because of my sport, lecturers always send the subjects by e-mail. The next class, they make time for me to catch up on the previous class in person. That's tailor-made work." Caresse nods approvingly: "During my exam week, I was racing in France, so I couldn't take a single test. Tio arranged for me to take all my exams two weeks later!"  

Plan B  

Sanne and Caresse believe that every young top athlete should have a plan B. "It could be that I make a lot of money riding later," Sanne outlines. "But it could also be that I break my leg and lose my top athlete status as a result. Then I will always have my Tio diploma! If I had to take a step back in top-class sport for my career, it would be a shame. But then I remain grateful for everything I have experienced so far. They won't take that away from me anymore."   

Caresse benefited a lot from our student for a day experience: "They gave me a good idea of what to expect. I advise every top athlete looking for a study programme to go along for a day and see what the possibilities are. And proactively discuss your needs, then you will find out what you can gain from each other, and you can come to the best agreements."