In the Netherlands, university programs increasingly use the binding study advice (BSA) to select students after the first year. Students with insufficient progress after the first year and who therefore do not conform to pre-defined BSA norms have to quit their program. This study investigated whether the introduction of the BSA is associated with differences in first-year study behaviors and students' pre-university education qualifications when entering university, which has to date been unexplored. Cohorts to which the BSA did (BSA group) or did not apply (pre-BSA group) in a problem-based psychology bachelor program were compared. Results showed that students' observed learning activities were rated higher by tutors after the BSA introduction than before. The BSA group did not spend more time on self-study and obtained lower course test scores than the pre-BSA group. At enrolment, differences were found in students' level of prior education but not with respect to their pre-university grades. © 2013 Society for Research into Higher Education.