Applying at a German University
Studying as an international student can be an enriching and challenging time, offering opportunities for development not available from a domestic course. Germany has a first rate collection of universities and courses, but competition is tough for both full-term and single semester study as places are rare and highly sought after. If the decision is taken to make an application for a German university course, it is therefore important to gather all available information and make an informed decisions as soon as possible to gain the best possibility of success.
The application process for an international student is the same as a native German student would have to follow, meaning that a foreign student will have to prove they are worthy of a place against all other candidates. No central office for higher education exists as it does in some other countries to provide a singular service for applicants. All students must apply directly to a university, whether for a Masters, Bachelors or single-term course of study. This can naturally become a fairly confusing situation, especially for a foreign student, as each university has separate application processes, requirements and procedures. It is important to gain a complete understanding despite the difficulty, as a failure to do so may mean a student is rejected.
An interested student should therefore, in the first instance, check the website or call a member of staff for the potential university. This will give a general outline for the method in which the student is to apply. Information regarding admission requirements, support for international students and other important factors can be obtained in this manner. While this article provides a general outline of the method to apply for a German university course, it cannot cover all potential eventualities due to the varied nature of the system.
The first major division is between courses with graded admission requirements and those without. While some courses will not require any special grades for admission, or particular skill sets, they will still require a formal admission and fulfilment of additional international student requirements, such as visas.
Many universities do however require a certain grade which can differ annually. This is as acceptance is based on the average grades of those applying, known as the “numerous clausus” or NC. If a student's grade is below this average, additional achievements can be considered, such as intern-ships, other educational awards, social work or military service. Universities will have differing regulations regarding the acceptance of these additional considerations, so it is important to check with the university in question.