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Issue 7 Study Abroad

German college admissions

đź•’ 3 min

You’re thinking about studying in Germany? Great, because in this article we’ll go over the whole admissions process for German universities and colleges.

In this post I’ll be writing from the experience of Bjorn Rambi, an international student from Albania who’s now studying at LMU Munich.

This article is focused on bachelor’s (undergraduate) studies, and will approach admissions from an academics-focused student’s perspective.

Intro

It’s relatively simple to apply to German colleges. Some colleges use the Uni-Assist system, which is in English, to handle international admissions. If the college you’re applying to doesn’t use Uni-Assist, you’ll probably need to know German. As German colleges don’t follow a common application system, you should treat this guide as an introduction to the subject, and follow up by doing your own research and contacting the colleges you’re interested in.

There are more than a hundred English undergraduate programs in Germany, but it’s almost impossible to study as an undergrad in Germany without some knowledge of German (and a diploma to prove it), even if you’re applying to an English program.

I’ll use the word college to refer to academic institutions that provide bachelor’s programs, including “Universität”, “Hochschule”, and “Fachhochschule”.

Standardized tests

The most common test is TestAS (Test for Academic Studies), composed of the Core Test and one Subject-Specific Test Module. The Core Test is basically an IQ test, including basic math problems, inferring relationships, completing patterns, and continuing numerical series. This part takes 110 minutes.

There are four different Subject-Specific Test Modules:

  • Engineering
  • Economics
  • Humanities, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences
  • Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences

These last between 145 and 150 minutes.

The TestAS takes place on specific test dates, and in specific testing centers. You can take it in English or in German. You can register for only one Subject-Specific Test Module, and you take it 30 minutes after the Core Test. They’re all pen and paper tests.

The TestAS is rarely required but can be a positive addition to your application (if you get a good score, that is).

The scoring system includes both your actual score and your percentile rank, which means that you’ll know how you did compared to other test takers. For instance, a percentile rank of 94 means your score is better than or equal to the score of 94% of test takers.

For the German language, the most popular tests are TestDaf, Deutsche SprachprĂĽfung fĂĽr den Hochschulzugang (DSH), and Goethe Zertifikat.

Applications

Applications generally happen near the end of the second semester of your senior year of high school. However, some are even as late as the summer after your senior year, but the deadlines depend on the college.

Colleges typically require the following documents:

  • your CV
  • a copy of every document cited in the CV
  • motivation letter
  • transcripts
  • filled Application form
  • language diploma
  • high school diploma
  • passport copy

For some universities you send these via post, and for others via online platforms (like Uni-Assist).

Scholarships

There aren’t many scholarship options for undergraduate students that are awarded by specific colleges. Every scholarship has its own application process, and you can find some of them on ScholarshipsAds, DAAD, and The Deutschlandstipendium.

Costs

Applying to German colleges doesn’t have to be expensive, but it requires you to have a high level of financial stability. To get a visa (which is required), you’ll need to have around 10000€ in the bank and provide proof of that. This money isn’t to pay for education, rather it’s for everyday expenses. It’s still your money, you just need to have it in a bank before the start of the academic year, so the government knows you won’t be living under a bridge.

Uni-Assist charges 75€ for the first application, and 30€ for each additional one.

There’s also bureaucratic costs, like postal costs, notarization and similar costs.

A very rough estimate of the total cost of applying is 100€ per college.

The TestAS costs around 80€, but the price can vary depending on where you’re taking it.

The cost of actually studying in Germany varies depending on many things, including your program, accommodation, and location. Living costs can range from 500€ to 1000€, and yearly college costs can range anywhere between 0€ and tens of thousands of Euro. Here’s a website with more information on living costs.

What now?

Here are some resources to go from here:

Good luck!

Huge thanks to Bjorn for helping me put together this guide.

Did I forget something? Do you have different experiences? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.

By Nikola Jurković

Nikola is a futurism, "making", and philosophy enthusiast. He spends most of his time thinking or reading, and is passionate about the popularization of critical thinking and science.

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