Do you want to learn how to successfully start your studies in your favorite Studienkolleg in Germany?
By taking this online course you will learn:
- What is a Studienkolleg? Do I need to attend it?
- How can I prepare myself for getting accepted to a Studienkolleg?
- What are the application steps?
- How can I obtain a visa?
- What is the minimum amount of money I need?
- How should I find a student room or apartment?
- How can I pass the entry test of Studienkolleg?
- Tutorial for application to Studienkollegs: Munich, Berlin, Hannover, Leipzig, Hamburg, Marburg, Frankfurt, and many more
Studienkolleg in Germany refers to a preparatory course that is tailored for international applicants whose school-leaving-certificate does not suffice for direct admission to universities in Germany. A publicly-funded Studienkolleg usually consists of an entry exam (Aufnahmeprüfung), a preparatory course (a study year consisting of 28-32 hours per week of lessons), and a final exam (Feststellungsprüfung- FSP). Depending on your previous track of records and also your target choice of study, attending specific preparatory courses might be necessary. In this case, the preparatory course serves as a bridge between your high school studies in your home country and your prospective higher education in Germany. Before getting too technical about Studienkollegs in Germany, it is very important that you figure out whether you need to attend a Studienkolleg or not:
Pursue Your Education in Germany
StuWoLi’s Academic Pathfinder helps you find and get connected to the most suited academic possibilities in Germany, taking into account your educational and personal interests, language level, budget, and academic background.
Do I need to attend Studienkolleg?
If you have finished your high school studies outside Germany, you might have a university entrance qualification (HZB) which entitles you to obtain direct admission to German universities. However, the school-leaving-certificates from some of the countries are not considered equal to the German high school diploma (Hochschulreife/Fachhochschulreife) and thus, international students sometimes need to attend a preparatory course prior to entering higher education in Germany. This is called an indirect university entrance qualification.
How to check your HZB Status
This is a very important piece of information you need to obtain before planning your study path in Germany! The German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) in cooperation with uni-assist offers a page that can serve you with an initial guideline:
1.To access this page please click here.
2.Select the country from which you have received your school-leaving-certificates or your higher education degree
3.select the degree type, grades, etc.
If you have a university entrance qualification, then 4 Scenarios are possible:
Scenario 1 : direct and general university entrance qualification
1.With your educational background, you qualify for direct general admission. This allows you to apply directly to a German higher education institution for academic studies in any subject area. In this case, you should not attend a Studienkolleg. Please continue to the bachelor program’s guide here.
Scenario 2: direct but subject-oriented university entrance qualification
2.With your educational background, you qualify for direct subject-restricted admission. This allows you to apply directly to a German higher education institution for academic studies in the subject area of your previous academic studies or a related subject. In this case, you should not attend a Studienkolleg if you want to study at a study program related to your high school field of studies. In this case, please continue to the bachelor program’s guide here.
But if you like to switch your field of studies, then you need to attend Studienkolleg. In this case, please keep on reading.
Scenario 3: indirect but general university entrance qualification
3.With your educational background, you qualify for general admission to a preparatory course/the assessment examination for all higher education institutions including free choice of the key area. This means you have the freedom to enter any field of study in a university in Germany, but you first need to attend a Studienkolleg (optional) and pass the final test – FSP (mandatory).
Scenario 4: indirect and subject-oriented university entrance qualification
4.With your educational background, you qualify for subject-restricted admission to a preparatory course/the assessment examination for the key areas corresponding to the previous education (key areas in your secondary school final degree and the pre-university course). This means you can only enter study fields related to your previous studies and for that, you first need to attend a Studienkolleg (optional) and pass the final test – FSP (mandatory).
Direct vs. Indirect Entrance Qualification
Your educational background entitles you to one of the following three categories:
1. Direct entrance qualification to German Higher Education Institutes, also known as Direkte HZB. In this case, you are directly accepted to a university without the need to attend Studienkolleg.
2. Indirect entrance qualification, which requires attending the Studienkolleg prior to entering the Universities in Germany, also known as Indirekte HZB. Admission to Studienkollegs implies an indirect admission to the university.
3. No entrance qualification, known as Keine HZB. In this case, you can neither enter a university in Germany nor attend a Studienkolleg. This is the case when your previous academic degree is significantly different from the school leaving certificate in Germany (Abitur).
General vs. Subject-Restricted Entrance Qualification
There are 5 general study directions in Germany:
T-Kurse: Technical studies (Technik)
M-Kurse: Medical studies (Medicine)
W-Kurs: Managerial/economic studies (Wirtschaft)
G-Kurs: Humanities sciences (Geisteswissenschaften)
S-Kurs: Linguistics or (Sprachwissenschaften)
Your non-German academic degree either allows you to select any field of study in any of the above study directions, in which case you have a general university entrance qualification or it only allows you to select one or a few of the above-mentioned study directions, in which case you have a subject-restricted university entrance qualification.
From Studienkolleg to University
If your qualifications require you to enroll in Studienkolleg, you have 5 steps ahead to enter the university:
1. Receive an invitation to a Studienkolleg entrance exam (Aufnahmeprüfung)
2. Pass the entrance test and get admitted to the Studienkolleg
3. Attend the Studienkolleg curricula (usually 1 study year)
4. Pass the final exam, Feststellungsprüfung (FSP)
5. Apply for admission to your desired study programs and universities
A few hints for Studienkolleg applicants:
1. With the successful completion of the 5 steps above, you are allowed to start your higher education at a university in Germany within the study field which relates to your field of study in the Studienkolleg and its FSP. For example, if you have completed a T-course, you can start a degree in engineering or if you study the M-course, you can enter medical and experimental fields.
2. If you need to switch to another field of study after receiving an FSP, then you need to attend a supplementary exam called “Ergänzungsprüfung“
3. Under some conditions, candidates are also allowed to take the FSP exam without attending the Studienkolleg. This is known as Extern-FSP.
4. There are usually a few public Studienkollegs in each state in Germany. These Studienkollegs are an entity within a public university.
5. There are a few private Studienkollegs within public universities. In this case, you usually need to pay a higher tuition fee as compared to public Studienkollegs.
What are other requirements to consider?
There are three main requirements for attending the Studienkolleg in Germany:
1.Your school leaving certificate would not suffice for a direct entry to German universities in your desired field of study, but it would allow you to bridge the gap by attending a preparatory Studienkolleg year and passing the final FSP exam. This has been explained above.
2.German language proficiency of B1-B2 level. Some of the universities/Studienkollegs in Germany offer German preparatory courses prior to admission to the entrance exam of the Studienkollegs. Such language courses usually incur an extra fee.
3. passing the entrance exam
2.Study & Living Costs
Public Studienkollegs are usually free of charge. However, a small contribution fee is to be paid at the beginning of each semester. This fee is usually the same as the semester fee, paid by regular students who are enrolled at the university. While most of the Studienkollegs in Germany are publicly-funded, there are also a growing number of private Studienkollegs in Germany. Private Studienkollegs cost between 3.000€ to 10.000€ for the whole study program with various features and amenities.
The German Ministry of Migration has made an estimation of the annual living costs for international students in Germany. At the moment, this estimate amounts to 10.236 € per year (853€ per month). Please note that your costs are a factor of the city in which you will study as well as your spending habits. In a nutshell, you need at least around 800€ -1000 € per month for your study and living costs in Germany. The study costs at a private institute (if applicable) need to get added to this amount.
3.Possible fields of Study
The fields of study in the Studienkollegs are divided into five general categories: technical & engineering (T-Kurs), life science (M-Kurs), human science (G-Kurs), economics and management (W-Kurs), and language studies (S -Kurs). In a similar manner, Studienkollegs for entering technical and vocational schools (Hochschule) and universities of applied sciences are divided into four categories of technical & engineering (TI-Kurs), economics, and management (WW-Kurs), arts (GD-Kurs), and social studies (SW-Kurs). Your field of study at the Studienkolleg will be chosen based on the course of study you would like to study at the university. However, you can only enter the Studienkolleg in the desired field of study if your previous academic degree entitles you to that course of study. Please note that you can enter both university and Fachhochschule if you hold an FSP in M-,T-,G-,S-,W-Kurs. But if you hold an FSP in TI-,WW-,GD-, or SW-Kurs, then you can only enter Hochschule or universities of applied sciences.
How can I choose the right Studienkolleg?
The orientation of your Studienkolleg studies will determine your prospective education and to some extent your future career. Thus, deciding about your field of study, your university, and the destination city in which you will study are among the most important parts of your application process. While very subjective, choosing the right city affects your quality of life as well as your accommodation costs. Choosing a discipline, city and university is not only important but also requires a complete familiarity with the admission criteria as well as the facts and figures about these cities.
1.Select Your Prospective Field of Study
Your study field in Studienkolleg determines your general orientation in your future studies at German universities. As a result, the most important factor to consider is to decide which discipline to study at a German university after graduating from the Studienkolleg. The fields of study at the Studienkollegs include five general categories of technical/engineering (T-Kurs), experimental/life sciences (M-Kurs), human sciences (G-Kurs), economics, and management (W-Kurs), and language (S -Kurs). The study disciplines in Studienkollegs for entering technical and vocational schools (Fachhochschule) are divided into four categories of technical/engineering (TI-Kurs), economics, and management (WW-Kurs), art (GD-Kurs), and social sciences (SW-Kurs).
Note: your academic background may or may not allow you to be fully flexible in terms of selecting your desired study orientations. Please read above about general vs- subject-restricted admission.
Note: All public Studienkollegs and most private Studienkollegs in Germany have entrance examinations. This means that you must pass the Studienkolleg entrance exam prior to entering one and starting your studies.
2.Select Your Destination Studienkolleg
Once you make sure you have the required qualifications for Studienkollegs admission in your chosen field of study, it’s time to choose your destination Studienkollegs. To choose a Studienkolleg, you need to bear in mind the following points:
1. Which Studienkollegs offer my desired field of study?
2. Is there a particular geographic area in my mind?
3. Which level of German proficiency is required to receive admission to Studienkollegs?
Most German Studienkollegs will ask you for at least a B1 certificate. However, a German certificate for the level B2 level is sometimes necessary.
But regardless of the admission process, knowledge of the German language at the level of B2 is usually required for succeeding at the entry exam of almost any Studienkolleg and also for your successful start of studies at any given Studienkolleg.
3.Select your destination University
Studienkollegs serve as a bridge between higher education in foreign countries and higher education in German universities. As a result, choosing the right Studienkollegs and the right field of study in the Studienkollegs can help to optimize the university entrance in the future. With the successful completion of Studienkolleg, you can usually apply to other universities and opt for other cities, however, this means you have to leave the city in which you attended the Studienkolleg and move to a new city, which implies that you need to build up your social network and circle of friends from scratch. Thus, you might want to select your Studienkolleg with respect to your destination university so that you settle down in the same environment and at the onset of your university studies you do not need to go through the process of moving to another city.
How is the application process?
Correct timing plays a significant role in your application process and its outcome. Never underestimate the planning and timing phase and try to be meticulous about it. There are generally four stages ahead of you:
1. Collecting your study certificates
Depending on what the highest level of your education is, it is necessary to provide a number of different educational certificates for admission to Studienkollegs in Germany. Our recommendation is to collect and translate (if necessary) all your degrees (high school and higher education) before coming to Germany. Depending on your country of origin, required documents can vary widely.
Please note that if your previous education entitles you to direct entry to the universities at the undergraduate level, you will no longer have the right to enter Studienkolleg. You generally are responsible for the correct and complete provision of all of your study background and its relevant documents.
2. Language Certificate
To receive an invitation letter to attend the entry test at almost any given Studienkolleg you need to prove German language proficiency at the B1-B2 level. The amount of time that it takes you to master German towards B1-B2 is a factor of the number of hours per day/week that you invest and also your talent and persistence. Please note that some Studienkollegs only accept specific German language certificates like the Goethe Zertifikat B1 (ZD) or Goethe Zertifikat B2 or telc B1. You can figure this out by writing an email to the university/studienkolleg of choice or checking their website. It is necessary to consider the required amount of time for registration and successful completion of your targeted language exam so that you do not pass the application deadline.
3. Application for Admission
The evaluation of your application usually takes between 1 to 3 months. Please note that most Studienkollegs follow the application deadlines set by the cooperating universities. Thus, you must first check if you need to send your application documents to the selected Studienkolleg, to the uni-assist, or directly to a cooperating university. In each of these cases, the application deadline may vary.
Provided that you need a visa for studying in Germany, you might need to obtain a study applicant visa at your country of residence prior to moving to Germany. In some countries, the waiting time for receiving an appointment at the German embassy can be very long. In such cases, it is very important that you consider the required amount of time from the moment you request an appointment until the date of handing in your documents at the German embassy and until the date of receiving your visa.