If you come to Germany from abroad to study, you may not be able to enroll directly at a university or a university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule), but must first attend a preparatory college (Studienkolleg).
This is the link between your school abroad and the university you plan to attend in Germany. We have compiled some initial information about preparatory colleges for you here.
You always have to attend a preparatory college when your high school diploma from your home country is not equivalent to the German "Abitur." The German "Abitur" is the degree with which you can start studying at a university or university of applied sciences in Germany.
I f your high school diploma is sufficient for you to start studying in Germany, you can go directly to university. If not, you must attend a preparatory college. You can find out whether your degree will be recognized for studying in Germany on the pages of the Conference of the Ministers of Education (Kultusministerkonferenz, https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/schulabschluesse-mit-hochschulzugang.html#land_gewaehlt)
A distinction is made between public and private preparatory colleges. Public preparatory colleges are usually located at the university or university of applied sciences of the respective city. As a rule, they cost nothing. Only the semester fee, which every student in Germany has to pay, is levied at public preparatory courses. As a rule, private preparatory colleges cost a little to attend.
There is also a difference between university and university of applied sciences preparatory colleges. If you have successfully completed a university preparatory college, you can study at universities and universities of applied sciences. Successful completion of a university of applied sciences preparatory college, on the other hand, only entitles you to study at a university of applied sciences.
Preparatory colleges are the link between school abroad and a university in Germany and usually lasts two semesters or one year. In these colleges you have the chance to improve your German, and you will also be prepared for your future studies. The choice of your future discipline determines the choice of your courses at the preparatory college (the following list applies to university preparatory colleges):
In addition to the German language and the subject-related content, you will also learn so-called key qualifications that you need for your studies in Germany: How do I analyze sources and quote them correctly, for example? Which text forms are there and how do I write them correctly, etc.?
What requirements do I have to fulfill for the preparatory college?
Preparatory colleges do not offer German lessons for beginners. You have to provide proof that you possess language level B1 of the European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Other requirements are often expected as well. The passing of an entrance examination is also necessary to study at preparatory colleges. You can find out the exact admission requirements directly from the preparatory college of your choice.
After one year of learning at the preparatory college, the time has come: it’s time to take the assessment test. After attending the preparatory college it will be determined if you meet the necessary requirements in order to be able to start studying in Germany in your respective discipline.
If you are attending a preparatory college in Germany, you must have health insurance. Our Care College plan is exactly the right solution for you if you attend a preparatory college. The plan safeguards you against medical, hospital and medication costs. Once you have completed your studies at the preparatory college and started your university studies, you will need either public or a private health insurance Care Student. We can offer you our private health insurance coverage for students through our "Care Student" plan or public health insurance coverage through the insurer, DAK. (Health Insurance Provider for German Employees).