After graduating from college, what's next

Studying in Germany with a “high school” degree - is it that easy?

Studying in Germany with a “high school” degree - is it that easy?


Who can pay that, who has that much money? Tuition fees rise steeply at American colleges; even the cost of public universities is now approaching the $ 30,000 mark. At private colleges, studying often costs twice as much or more. No wonder that studying for free in Germany is so appealing. But is that even possible - studying at a German university with an American "high school" degree?

Planning ahead ensures opportunities

Even if your studies still seem a long way off, it is a good idea to get your first information before the end of middle school. In this way, the course can be set in good time and possible hurdles do not arise later that could otherwise only be cleared with great effort - or not at all. The Federal Foreign Office has a helpful website with a lot of interesting information on the subject of “Studying in Germany”, the pages study-in.de, kmk.org and uni-assist.de as well as the websites of the respective universities offer a lot of information.

If you and your child are considering studying in Germany, it is advisable to know before the “Freshman Year” (the first year of high school) what the requirements of the respective courses are and what level of performance they are in Must have high school attended classes. In principle, an American “high school” qualification is sufficient for a direct application to a German university, but the certificate must meet certain conditions.

To give you an approximate idea of ​​the profile currently required for an application at a German university, here is a list of what the graduate must bring with him: A total of 16 so-called "Academic Units" must be proven, four of which are English units with a minimum grade of C, three units of social studies, two units in a foreign language, two to three units of science, and two to three units of mathematics (also both with a minimum grade of C). In addition, there is a minimum result of 1,360 points in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which all students write in the eleventh grade, and a Grade Point Average (GPA, the grade point average calculated according to a certain formula) of at least 3.0. For certain degree programs such as mathematics, some natural sciences, medicine or pharmacy, higher requirements apply. You can find more information on this at www.uni-assist.de/tools/check-hochschulzugang/.

My child speaks the language of the course fluently. Is that sufficient as a prerequisite for an application to a public German university?

Anyone who has an International Baccalaureate (IB) or who has taken the central upper level examination at the Goethe Institute does not need to worry about language exams. For all other international applicants, there is usually no getting around one of three possible language certificates: the German language test for university admission for foreign applicants (DSH), the test German as a foreign language (TestDaF), or the language diploma of the Standing Conference Level II (DSD) . These exams are anything but self-sufficient, even if your child speaks fluent German. Vocabulary, grammar, written and oral expression are assessed as universities want to ensure that first-year students can follow lectures without any problems. The Goethe Institute and the Central Office for Foreign Education at the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs have put together a lot of interesting information about all these tests and the preparation for the exams. The admission database of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is also a helpful point of contact. Free preparation courses for language exams are also available at www.dsh-germany.com/info/#vorpreparunskurse.

What to do if my child is not proficient in German in language and / or writing?

In 2016, almost 400,000 international students successfully enrolled in Germany, including many who did not grow up bilingually. Even those who do not have a perfect command of the language have a number of options to still make it to enrollment.

It is important to obtain information on language requirements from the universities in good time: Which language certificates are recognized? What level of language proficiency is required? If your children don't spend years sitting in dusty classrooms on weekends and want to learn German, there is an opportunity to improve their German in the preparatory college. The one-year preparatory college, which ends with a so-called assessment test, imparts subject-specific vocabulary, basic knowledge of the chosen course and individual learning strategies. You can also find more about this at www.uni-assist.de.

How many English-language courses are there in Germany?

English-language study programs are steadily increasing in Germany, but so far German is still the common language at universities. Private universities offer a little more choice here; There are currently around 200 courses that are still quite budget-friendly compared to American colleges with their manageable tuition fees. And applicants don't have to worry about their knowledge of German here.

Which German public universities are particularly popular with international students?

Germany is a popular study destination for students from all over the world. It is possible that the library in German universities is more simply furnished and the gardens less manicured than in many American colleges, but the training costs for the master’s degree are secured and the graduate can look forward to starting a professional life without the overwhelming burden of debt. But not only that: Many universities also offer first-class support for international students; there are also some institutions that have an excellent reputation around the world. Among the hundreds of universities in Germany there are quite a number that are among the top 200 in the world, led by the Free University and the Humboldt University in Berlin and the Technical University and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich; the universities in Heidelberg, Furtwangen and Freiburg are also among the top universities. And even the universities that do not belong to this elite club offer your child a good education. Here, too, it is important to find out about the range of courses and possible priorities in advance.