Planning to Study in Germany? Follow these steps to study in Germany
Step 1 - Decide on the University and the course
In order to apply to universities or colleges in Germany you need to know the courses they have to offer. When choosing a university, make sure to check for its accreditation as well as its ranking.
If you would like to study in Germany in English language, the opportunities at undergraduate level are very limited, though you might find some courses taught in both English and German but usually they start with English for first couple of semesters later changing to German. This gives you the opportunity to study in English while improving your grasp over German language. Some universities offer German language classes that you can enroll in.
For more helpful tips on deciding the university, check out this article:Top 11 things to consider when choosing a foreign university
Step 2 - Check the requirements
Make sure to check that you have the required qualifications as asked by the university you will be applying to. To purse education in Germany you need to have a recognized education qualification.
For students who wish to pursue undergraduate programs, documents like a high-school diploma, school-leaving certificate or transcripts are enough.
Coming to language requirements, as most courses are taught in German language, you will need to submit a proof of proficiency in German. You can choose to take either the standardized tests which is TestDAF or the university level DSH exams. Similarly, if your course is taught in English, you will need to submit a proof of proficiency in English unless you are a native English speaker. Tests for English include the IELTS or TOEFL exams. You should be able to find the language score requirements on the university website. As requirements vary by state and universities, spend good amount of time in doing the research.
Step 3 - Manage your Finances
While cost of tuition in Germany is free at public universities, you will need to pay a small fee each semester for enrollment, confirmation and administration as well as manage the living expenses yourself.
On an average, a foreign student spends about €853 per month hence you should show a balance of around €10,236 in a German blocked bank account before applying for a German student visa. This will help increase your chances of getting the visa.
If finances are a concern for you, do not worry as there are a lot of scholarships available out there. You just need to apply to the right ones. Check out our All you need to know about Scholarships article to get you started!
Step 4 - Apply to Universities
Shortlist the universities you are interested in. Usually students apply to about 7-10 universities with a few being backups. You can directly apply through the university website. Each university has an application fee so be mindful of the colleges you are applying for. In general, most universities are open for admissions twice a year, either in winter or summer. Winter enrollment usually ends by mid-July while summer enrollment ends by mid-January. Also keep in mind that different courses in the same university can have different deadlines. Fill in the application form diligently with the required documents.
For exact application dates and documents required, always check the official university website so you don’t miss any deadlines.
Ideally you should submit the application at least six weeks prior to the deadline should there be any need for corrections or additions due to missing information. Double check before submitting and then sit back until you receive a formal communication regarding acceptance or rejection from the university. Ideally you should hear back within a month or two after the deadline.
Step 5 - Health insurance
You will have to purchase health insurance before departing from your home country to cover you during your stay in Germany. This is needed in order to obtain a student visa or residence permit.
If you happen to be a resident of a country within the EU or EEA and have public health insurance in your home country, ideally you should be covered in Germany as well. You might need to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is issued free of cost for this.
If in any case your health insurance is invalid in Germany, it will cost you more somewhere between €80 and €160 per month.
Step 6 - Apply for German Student Visa
If you wish to study in Germany as a student and are coming from a non-EU and non-EEA country, you must obtain a German student visa. Contact the German consulate or embassy in your home country and take a visa appointment. The visa officer will require a proof of sufficient funds around €10,236 in your German blocked bank account and a health insurance policy along with the other documents. The exact requirements for obtaining a German student visa depends on your country of origin.
Step 7 - Search for Accommodation
Now that you have the university address and the student visa, you should start looking for accommodation. Most German universities do not provide accommodation to enrolling students. Rent amount varies by city. Choose what best fits your budget.
Some cities do offer residence halls, which is a cheaper option but it can be hard to find one as most are occupied due to the huge number of international student population in Germany.
Step 8 - Enrollment
Within a week upon arriving in Germany, you must enroll in the course you have been admitted to in order to become a registered student and start your course and use various facilities provided by the university such as the library etc.
You will have to pay a registration fee at the start of every semester which falls between €150 and €250 depending on the university. In addition, you will also be required to pay something called as a Semester ticket which allows you to use public transportation for the next six months free of cost.
You will need to go to the university’s administration office in person to submit the following generally asked documents for enrollment-
- Your valid passport with visa or residence permit
- Couple of passport sized photographs
- Completed and signed Application/Registration Form
- Degree qualifications/certificates (original documents or officially certified copies)
- Admission Letter
- German or English language proficiency proof (as applicable)
- Proof of health insurance in Germany
- Semester fee payment receipt
After the enrollment procedure is completed, you will be issued a registration document (student ID card) which can be used for registration and attendance of classes and in future to apply for residence permit.
I hope this article cleared your confusion on how to approach the application process for Germany. Have you started applying for universities yet? What step are you in? Let me know in the comments below.
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