Studienkollegs in Germany
Normally students whose qualifications are not recognized as an equivalent to German Schooling, must complete a one-year preparatory course at the Studienkolleg. There are almost 29 Studienkollegs in Germany in different states. Some Studienkollegs prepare students for one or two universities while other Studienkollegs (sometimes only one in a single state) prepare students for different universities in that state.
The Studienkollegs for FH and Universities tend to differ slightly in their course structures and some Studienkollegs serves the need of both type of students viz. those wishing to attend FH or University. The normal duration of the preparatory course is one year or two semesters. The entry requirement is B1/B2 level of German language and passing the qualifying examination known as Aufnamheprüfung. The preparatory courses at the Studienkollegs ends with an examination known as Festellungsprüfung or Assessment Test.
What is a Studienkolleg?
Studienkollegs in Germany act as a bridge for integration of international students who want to study Bachelor degree in a German or English taught program at a state/private university in Germany. It provides you a smooth transition from the academic culture in your home country to the academic culture at higher education institutions in Germany. The offered courses at the Studienkollegs are particularly tailored for international students who wish to apply at a German university upon the completion of the foundation course at one of the several Studienkollegs in Germany.
Who can attend the Studienkolleg?
International students whose qualifications are not recognised as an equivalent to German Abitur are required to attend the studienkolleg for a year before they can start their Bachelor degree at university in Germany. Normally the Nepalese university entrance qualification i.e. 10+2 is not recognised as an equivalent to German Abitur and such students must complete a one-year foundation course at the studienkolleg in most of the cases before they can start their studies at a German university.
What are the different kinds of Studienkolleg?
There are two kinds of Studienkolleg. They are either affiliated with a university or a university of applied sciences.
1. Studienkollegs at a university or a university of applied sciences
If you have successfully passed the final exams at a university Studienkolleg, you can study at a university or at a university of applied sciences. If you have passed the exams at a Studienkolleg connected to a university of applied sciences, you are usually not qualified to study at a university, but can only study at a university of applied sciences. Graduates of Studienkollegs can apply to study in all of Germany.
2. State-run and private Studienkollegs
Besides the differentiation between Studienkollegs affiliated with universities or universities of applied sciences, there is also a difference between private and state-run Studienkollegs. State-run Studienkollegs are usually tuition-free and their degree is usually valid to study anywhere in Germany. Private Studienkollegs often charge tuition and it is important that you find out whether the private Studienkolleg you wish to study at even offers a certificate which is valid in all of Germany.
Which specialised courses do the Studienkollegs offer?
The university Studienkollegs offer the following specialised courses as preparation for studying at university:
M-course: for medical, biological and pharmaceutical degrees
T-course: for mathematical, science or technical degrees
W-course: for business, economic and social science degrees
G-course: for humanity degrees or German studies
S-course: for language degrees
The university of applied sciences Studienkollegs offer the following specialised courses as preparation for studying:
TI-course: for technical and engineering degrees
WW-course: for economics and business degrees
GD-course: for design and art degrees
SW-course: for social science degrees
How much does it cost to attend a Studienkolleg?
There is no tuition for attending a state-run Studienkolleg, although there is usually a fee between 100 and 400 Euro per semester, depending on the Studienkolleg. You also need to pay for health insurance and will need to buy books and other class material. Life in Germany is expensive. You should plan approximately €700 per month for rent, clothes, food etc. Usually you are not allowed to work during the semester while you are attending the Studienkolleg. Although it is possible to work during the semester break, it will not be enough to live on! Students do not usually receive grants. You will need to plan to have enough to live on during your time in Germany.
Knowlegde of German
When you apply to study at a Studienkolleg you must already have a knowledge of German at least at the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The entrance exam
Since there are more applicants than places at the Studienkolleg, the available spaces are usually awarded via a ranking. In order to do this, most Studienkolleg have an entrance exam which tests you in German language and mathematics. Whether you qualify to study at a Studienkolleg depends on your results in this exam. Many Studienkolleg have mock exams on their websites. It pays to be well prepared for the entrance exam as this increases your chances of getting a place at a Studienkolleg.
Duration of the Studienkolleg and final exams
The Studienkolleg usually lasts one year and is divided into two semesters. It is possible to shorten your attendance to one semester for excellent achievement. If your performance is not satisfactory, as a rule each semester can be repeated once. Normally the Studienkolleg ends after one year with a final assessment exam (Feststellungsprüfung).