This post has been co-written by Yana Immis. She is the Founder of her own educational consultancy based in Munich, helping international students to gain admission into German language schools and private universities. Check out her website and services here.

With its trendy cities and low tuition fees, and plenty of Bachelor programs in English, it’s easy to see why Germany remains a top choice for international students.

If you want to study abroad in Germany, you’re in the right place.

This will save you from the confusing and overwhelming amount of information available on the internet. Simply follow these steps and you should have a timely admission to a university and a stress-free relocation.

The 14 Steps to Study Abroad in Germany as an International Student

Step 1: Budget Evaluation

When considering being an international student in Germany, the first and the most important step is to realistically evaluate your budget, as well as considering the possibility of whether you could obtain a scholarship or a loan.

It’s worth noting that many study programs will require you to open a Blocked Account: (link to company on Finanzads who offers this).

This is a special kind of bank account for foreign students in Germany, separate from your other finances. It serves as proof of your financial resources when applying for a German student visa.

The majority of universities in Germany do not provide accommodation, hence you need to calculate accommodation costs separately from the budget you allocate to studies.

Applying to State Universities

If you are aiming to study in Germany for free or very low tuition fee courses at state universities, the easiest way to do this is through the Uni Assist website, which offers a complete start-to-finish platform for managing your application. Uni Assist is a non-profit organisation assisting foreign applicants to enter the German university system.

If you want the details around how to apply to a specific university or for a specific course, all of this can be found on their website. We don’t have this level of info ourselves, so we can’t answer your questions on this topic!

Applying to Private Universities

Private universities accept applications directly from the students, and typically respond way faster than the public institutions (because hey, they’re run as businesses).

Yana’s services specialise in this process, although there is also nothing stopping you from doing this yourself either.

Step 2: Program Choice

This step is dedicated to deciding which course you’re interested in, according to your budget, language knowledge and preferences. It is highly recommended that you start this process at least 3 months before making a decision.

According to your budget, you can aim for different programs.

Note that these figures are for the tuition cost only. Your living expenses will be on top.

You’re looking at around €1,000 a month additionally for basic living expenses and housing in Germany.

Note that all of these costs are based on private institutions.

€1,000 – €3,000 annual budget

This is a sufficient budget for short- and mid-term German language lessons in Germany. The majority of the University programs in Germany are taught in German language, hence if you know the language, you’re much more likely to secure yourself admission onto a course without tuition fees, after completion of intensive language lessons.

€3,000 – €6,000 annual budget

This is a sufficient budget for long-term German language lessons. It would also cover the 1-year university foundation course (in German only) known as the Studienkolleg, for students whose secondary school leaving certificates are not recognised as being sufficient for entrance to the German higher education system. The Studienkolleg can’t be taken in English language. By passing the Feststellungsprüfung (exam after 1 year of Studienkolleg) guarantees your admission to a free university.

€6,000 – €9,000 annual budget

This is a minimum budget for the Private University Foundation, many of which offer English Bachelor programs in Germany (B.A. / B.Sc.) as well as Master (M.A. / M.Sc).

€9,000 – €12,000 annual budget

This is a good budget for Private University or Business School Foundation, Bachelor (BBA / B.A. / B.Sc.) Master (M.A. / M.Sc) programs in the English or German languages. It is also a minimum budget for English language MBA programs.

€12,000 and above

This is a good budget for high ranked Private University or Business School Foundation, Bachelor (BBA / B.A. / B.Sc.) Master (M.A. / M.Sc) programs in English or German language. It is also a good annual budget for English language MBA programs.

Step 3: Prepare your Documents

According to your budget and selected direction, you then need to evaluate the level of your education and language capabilities.

Once you know what level of study you’re going to apply for, follow these steps to have your documents recognised.

Postgraduate Studies

To study in Germany you need to have a recognised Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) – a confirmation that your degree is accredited. You can see if you qualify to study in Germany as an international student by checking your qualifications on the Anabin (KMK) website. If you are allowed to take up higher education studies at a state-recognized university in your country, there’s a high possibility that your foreign diploma will be recognised. However, you need to confirm this first.

Undergraduate Studies

If your school leaving certificate allows you to study in your home country, you should be able to secure a place to study in Germany as well. Make sure to check if your secondary school leaving certificate (High School Diploma, Matura, A-Levels, IB, American Diploma with or without SAT, Bachilerato, etc) is equivalent to the German Abitur. A-Level and IB have strict subject requirements.

In cases where a diploma from your home country is not equivalent to a German diploma you will also learn on the Anabin website if you need to take further examinations to be granted access to German Higher Education i.e. to enrol in the Studienkolleg.

Studienkolleg