You would like to study in Germany, and have stumbled upon the term "Studienkolleg" and are wondering what this actually means? We have compiled the most important information here and explain what a Studienkolleg is, what you do there, who has to complete it, how to apply and what it costs.
Studying in Germany: Preparation at the Studienkolleg
A Studienkolleg is an educational institution where potential international students are prepared linguistically and professionally for the so-called "Feststellungsprüfung". All international students must take this examination if the degree they obtained in their home country is not sufficient to apply for undergraduate studies in Germany. To see if this also applies to you, you can check the DAAD database. If this is the case, you can take courses at a Studienkolleg in Germany and take the exam. The preparation usually takes about two semesters, i.e. almost a year. Some colleges also offer an examination without previous courses. In this case, you have to prepare for the exam on your own. An overview of most Studienkollegs in Germany can be found online.
Many Studienkollegs are affiliated with universities and universities of applied sciences and are therefore oriented towards a general university or a university of applied sciences. You can read about the difference between these two institutions here. However, graduating from a Studienkolleg, even if it is affiliated with a university, does not guarantee you a place at university. You have to apply separately for this. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a Studienkolleg or a corresponding course that is recognized by more than one of your favorite universities. This will increase your chances of getting a place to study. By the way, you will have to attend German courses at all Studienkollegs, even if you already have a certificate of German language skills. The rest of the learning content is divided into the following courses:
At the Studienkollegs of applied sciences:
- TI course for technical and engineering degrees: mathematics and computer science, natural sciences, technical drawing
- WW course for economics degrees: mathematics and computer science, economics, English
- GD course for design and art degrees: mathematics, design, physics
- SW course for social science degrees: mathematics, pedagogy
At general Studienkollegs:
- G-course for humanities degrees and German studies: social sciences, history, German literature
- M course for medical, biological and pharmaceutical degrees: biology, chemistry, physics
- T-course for mathematical, technical or scientific degrees: mathematics, chemistry, physics
- W-course for economic and social science degrees: mathematics, macroeconomics, English
- S-course for linguistic degrees: history, literature, social sciences
Many Studienkollegs, which are affiliated with state universities, offer basically free tuition like the universities themselves. Usually, a kind of administration fee of about 100 to 400€ per semester has to be paid. In the case of private Studienkollegs, the prices can vary considerably and can sometimes amount to a few thousand euros. If you are willing to pay the costs and have determined that your school-leaving certificate requires you to attend a Studienkolleg before you can apply to a university in Germany, you can start the application process.
For your application, you should first check which documents are required by your chosen Studienkolleg. In most cases, these documents include a notarized copy of your school-leaving certificate as well as proof of previous study experience, if you have any. You should also enclose notarized translations if your documents are not already in German or English. You will also need a copy of your passport and a detailed curriculum vitae. The other documents vary from college to college. Since the certification and translation of documents takes time, you should start as early as possible and preferably have several copies made. The probability that you will need them again, for example for your university application, is relatively high. You can then submit your application. Some Studienkollegs assign their places centrally via the uni-assist portal, others require you to apply directly. The application fees are usually around 75€. Application deadlines for the summer semester usually end between the end of October and mid-January. For the winter semester the deadline is usually between the end of April and mid-July. Once you have received your admission to the Studienkolleg, you should apply for a student visa. You can find out how this works from us. Finally you have to write an entrance test. You will receive detailed information from the Studienkolleg you have been admitted to. There are also sample tests that you can look at for preparation.
So you see, the Studienkollegs are a kind of preparation for studying in Germany. They can help you to get along with the local system and language. Furthermore, you can get used to living in Germany and make first contacts. If you are unclear about anything in the application process, it is best to ask the respective college itself. They will certainly be happy to help you.