Getting into a German university: what a prospective university student needs to know
Every year thousands of high school leavers from all over the world come to Germany to get the European diploma. Foreign students can enter a university in this country after high school graduation only if the school leaving certificate they have received corresponds to the German Abitur (Higher School Certificate). It takes between 12 and 13 years to study here, so extended education or a preparation course will be necessary for admission to higher institution.
Applicants are entitled to apply to a university in Germany if they:
- have completed two courses of university (or four courses by correspondence) before 2015 (for Ukraine – before 2012) in their native country;
- received their Higher School Certificate in 2015 and later (for Ukraine – in 2012) and studied for one year at a university in the country of their birth or at a preparatory college in Germany – Studienkolleg.
- received their Higher School Certificate before 2015 (for Ukraine – before 2012) and completed their first year at a university or preparatory college in Germany.
Pre-university training for foreign applicants: peculiarities of studying at Studienkolleg
Studienkolleg in Germany is a special educational institution that prepares prospective students for entry into German universities. Studying at such a college allows you to level out the difference between the education systems of the two countries. Among the nuances of enrollment and studying at the college we can distinguish the following:
- For admission, you need a B1 or B2 language certificate (depending on the educational institution) in addition to your Higher School Certificate.
- Usually the documents are not submitted to the college itself, but to the institute of higher education in the federal land where it is located.
- Studying is free of charge, only a small semester fee of €100 – 150 is collected.
- All costs for accommodation, meals, insurance etc. are paid by the student himself/herself, so a bank account statement confirming that there is €10,236 in the account will be needed to open a student visa.
- The duration of training is one year. Lessons take about 30 hours a week, students study 5-7 subjects closely resembling the future specialty. Regular attendance at the lectures is compulsory, as well as almost every week turning in students’ papers. Each semester of study results with an examination period.
- There are several fields of education at the Studienkolleg. You should decide on your profession before you begin your course, so that you can choose the appropriate field of study.
Humanities Course (G-Kurs).
Prepares for earning a degree in psychology, history, art, law.
Economics Course (W-Kurs).
This course is suitable for applicants who plan to connect their life with management, sociology, sports economics, applied mathematics, computer skills, pedagogy, geography, etc.
Medical (Biology) course (M-Kurs).
Those who plan to become dentists, pharmacy technicians, veterinarians, chemists, biologists, ecologists, agronomists, etc., choose this course.
Language Course (S-Kurs).
Prepares you to study for a degree in philology. You will need two other languages (English and Russian, for example) for admission.
Technical Course (T-Kurs).
It is suitable for future specialists in the field of natural and technical sciences. To take this course you will need to pass an exam in mathematics or physics, but a high level of language proficiency is not required.
Studying in Germany: German Academic Exchange Service Grants
To improve your German language skills before entering a German university or a preparatory college, the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutsche: Gesellschaft für Arbeit), a social organization for the exchange of academics and students, offers an annual educational grant.
Grant programs are provided for all categories related to science, from second-year students and up to doctors habilitated. Every candidate has a chance to receive an educational grant – the main thing is to fill out and submit all the documents correctly.
Language Courses Grant
The program is an 18-day cross-cultural or language course at a German state university. The grant amounts to €850 plus travel allowance. This amount usually covers the full cost of meals, accommodation, travel and the course itself.
The following persons can apply for the grant:
- students who has completed their first year and is over 18 years old.
- teachers of German (up to 32 years old).
Applicants must have a language certificate level B1, technical and natural science students of regional universities – level A2.
The duration of the program can be from 10 to 24 months. The financial value of the grant is €850 per month, as well as partial allowance of travel expenses, health insurance cover, rental expenses, and an additional payment for accompanying family members (spouses and children).
The following persons can apply for the grant:
- graduates who finished their degree no more than six years ago;
- students in the graduating class of university;
- foreign students in the first year of a German Master’s program. In this case, the grant will cover the second year of study.
Among other documents, submitted with the application for a grant, the student must also provide an appropriate language certificate (in accordance with the requirements of the host institution), a curriculum vitae from an academic and a motivational letter (no more than three pages) with a story about himself or herself and an explanation of the reasons for choosing these particular Master’s programs.
For young learned persons DAAD offers short-term (up to 6 months) and annual (from 7 to 10 months) grant programs. The amount of the grant ranges from €750 to €1000 and assumes partial allowance of lodging and travel expenses. If necessary, the DAAD can also pay for language courses and the TestDaF, DSH or Goethe-Zertifikat certification examinations before the start of the project.
Candidates who may apply for a grant:
• students who received their degree no more than 6 years ago;
• Candidates of Sciences who defended their dissertations no more than 4 years ago;
• PhD students who started work on their dissertations or entered a PD program no more than 3 years ago.
Applicants who have been in Germany for more than 15 months at the time of application filing, cannot go in for the competition.
In addition to the standard application package, candidates must also:
• find a supervisor for their work who agrees to give guidance on their project even before the program begins;
• get a recommendation from a former supervisor or academic;
• draw up a project description and a schedule for the project before submitting the application.
The comprehensive list of documents for all DAAD grant programs includes:
• a completed questionnaire:
• a translated and certified copy of the diploma and its supplement;
• language certificate;
• motivational letter;
• curricula vitae from the previous place of study;
• certificates of attendance at conferences and completed internships.
In any of the above options, the applicant will also need to arrange a student visa, collecting and submitting all the necessary documents to the embassy.
The huge amount of paperwork to be prepared, the drafting of the motivational letter and other nuances of application filing and applying for a visa can be very difficult to understand on your own. Moreover, these processes need to be optimally coordinated to minimize the time to prepare for your departure and not to miss the application deadlines for the chosen semester. That is why you can entrust any of the stages to our agency managers, who, among other things:
• will help you to choose a university, an appropriate Studienkolleg and a suitable area of study;
• will determine the deadlines for submitting the documents for timely admission;
• will draw up and translate the necessary documents;
• will help you to put together a motivational letter in the right manner;
• will provide help and support with obtaining insurance and starting a bank account;
• will help you with finding and renting accommodation.