The essentials you need to know before taking up a course at Studienkolleg
”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” this quote by Benjamin Franklin applies to the different aspects of life and university studies are no exception. In fact, German universities often demand that prospective students attend Studienkolleg to make them ready for the demands of their degree. So, what are these Studienkollegs all about, and why they are required? In this article, we’ll deal with the basics, so that readers know how to optimize their preparation for academic life in Germany.
Germany is a magnet for international students. As of 2019, about 2.9 million international students were enrolled at German higher education institutions, and most of them have passed preparatory qualifications to be admitted.
Studienkollegs are schools that offer introductory courses to German life and culture and are approved to do so by the German state. They provide comprehensive information about German life, including literature, geography, and history. Importantly, they also include German language assessment. Students often take extra language classes alongside their Studienkolleg courses to enable them to pass the test. This test is known as “Feststellungsprüfung”, and it is usually tailored to specific subject areas. For instance, if you are intending to study medicine, you will need to take an “M” course, while humanities students will take “G” courses. All of this should be explained by your higher education institution, which will also probably be the institution that sets and assesses the final test. Feststellungsprüfungs are also different at standard Universities and the Universities of Applied Sciences. If you take the test at an Applied Science University, it will only qualify you to study at similar Universities. Tests taken at standard Universities are more portable and provide access to almost all institutions.
Not everyone who applies to German universities will need to take a Feststellungsprüfung. If your high school leaving certificate meets certain requirements, it will qualify as an Abitur and further tests aren’t required. However, this may not be the end of the story. Many universities demand proof of German proficiency, and additional language qualifications may be needed, so it would be best if you check the specific requirements of the university you are planning to apply to.
But how do Studienkolleg certificates fit into the broader application process? Studienkolleg courses are made to help students meet university requirements, but other actions are required to receive a student visa. This includes obtaining German health insurance and a blocked account, which proves to the German authorities that students can support themselves during the period of their studies.
Sorting out banking and health insurance may seem daunting for foreign applicants, but they are actually fairly simple. If applicants choose the right partners to help them through the process, they can pass visa requirements in a matter of days. After that, they can start preparing properly for life as an international student in Germany.