High school in Germany

International pupils aged between 14 to 16 can join a number of private high schools and boarding schools in Germany to obtain an international or German high school education. Pupils who do not live with their families in Germany and in the vicinity to the school, need a guardian. This is made possible in boarding schools. By enrolling in boarding schools, the dormitory takes over pupil’s custody. By attending a boarding school, non-EU pupils can obtain a study visa. In boarding schools there are a set of educational and recreational amenities to provide international teenagers a home away from home. Most boarding schools in Germany are nonprofit institutions that not only offer a much higher quality of education than public schools but also provide an international setting which has proven very pivotal for global integration of youth. 

Which study programs are available in a high schools in Germany?


Abitur is the regular German high school degree, consisting of two years of study at the end of high school. Abitur usually refers to the degree that you receive after the 11th and 12th grade (sometimes 13th). Abitur enables you to enter any German university provided that you have good grades and right set of course combinations.

  • Teaching language: German
  • Offered in Private and Public high schools

International programs (IB, A-Levels, etc.)

The IB (international baccalaureate) or A-Levels are internationally recognised high school degrees which enable you to enter almost any international university around the world or a German university. Upon receiving your IB or A-Levels Diploma, you can also enter German universities (certain conditions apply).

  • Teaching language: English
  • Offered only in private high schools.


Language Level

Depending on whether you opt for an Abitur or an IB Diploma, a German or English language level of at least B1-B2 is necessary. This is the least required level, but a higher German or English level is usually recommended.

Tuition fees

Public high schools usually have no tuition fees. However, entering a public high school in Germany requires a very high level of German and also very good academic background.

The tuition fee of private high schools in Germany is between 12.000 € – 25.000 € per year. The boarding fees (accommodation, food, etc.) usually costs an additional 12.000 – 25.000 € per year.

Thus, attending a private school including the boarding facilities costs around 25.000-50.000 € a year.

Academic Background

Academic results and your personality traits are taken into account by the schools during the application process. This is usually done over an online video interview for international applicants.


If you are an EU/EEA citizen you do not need a study visa. You can attend both public and private schools to receive the Abitur degree. For that you need to attend the last 2 years of high school and successfully pass the Abitur exams. Afterwards you are allowed to apply for Bachelor programs in Germany. You are also able to enrol in a private school to receive your IB diploma.

If you are a non-EU pupil and would like to enter a high school in Germany, you need a study visa. Attending a public high school does not entitle you to a study visa. You will only receive a study visa if you join a private high school.

Take a look at some of the best international schools in Germany

Berlin-Brandenburg International School

Salem School

Black Forest Academy