Private Studienkollegs are private university preparatory courses in Germany. They differ from the public ones by lower admission requirements and a smaller competition among candidates. Private Studienkollegs can be either part of private and public universities or separate educational institutions.
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Price. The cost of studying in private Studienkollegs is higher than in public ones. On average it’s 5,878 USD/year. At the same time, a high price does not always guarantee a high quality of education.
Requirements. It is easier to enroll in a private Studienkolleg than in a public one. As a rule, the requirements for language proficiency are lower there. Public Studienkollegs require B2-C1, but for private ones, you will only need B1-B2sometimes even A2.
Limited choice of universities. After graduating from some private Studienkollegs, you can only enroll in universities in the same federal state, or even only in one specific university. Private Studienkollegs with programs in English allow you to enter German universities exclusively for English-language programs. The number of such programs, especially at the undergraduate level, is very limited — most often they are in private educational institutions.
Focus on technical courses. In private Studienkollegs, there are very few courses in Humanities and Linguistics. They mainly offer the more popular technical and economic programs (T- and W-Kurs).
Passing exams. FSP final exams cannot be taken at private Studienkollegs. Usually, students take them at universities or at state Studienkollegs.
Tuition fees in private Studienkollegs
Unlike state Studienkollegs, in private institutions tuition is paid. The price per year starts from 2,939 USD and can go up to 10,777 USD. Some programs include accommodation, but this is rare. At the same time, student dormitories are not common in Germany, and most of the student's expenses are on accommodation.
In addition to paying for tuition, the student also needs to take into account the costs of accommodation, meals, and health insurance.
Requirements for admission to private Studienkollegs
It is easier to enroll in a private Studienkolleg, because their requirements are not as high as in public ones.
Language. For admission, knowledge of German is required at the B1 level. Some educational institutions even accept candidates with A2, but to take no chances, it is better to have at least B1. You can confirm your language proficiency by passing an exam: Goethe-Zertifikat, TestDaF, or DSH.
Entrance exams. In private Studienkollegs, entrance examinations also exist but are less common, and sometimes the applicants are cut some slack. For example, those who have a B2-C1 language certificate are allowed not to take exams.
For most public Studienkollegs, there are uniform deadlines for filing documents: January 15for summer semester and July 15for winter semester. In private Studienkollegs, these dates are specified on the website of the educational institution. As a rule, they are a month or more longer there than in public ones: until Marchfor summer semester and Septemberfor winter semester. The following table lists the deadlines and requirements for admission to some of the private Studienkollegs.
Finding accommodation for the duration of your studies.
Preparation for private Studienkollegs
Several private Studienkollegs offer pre-entry programs in German and Mathematics. At TUDIAS-Studienkolleg or Europäisches Studienkolleg der Wirtschaft, there are week- and two-week long entrance exam preparation programs. The cost of such courses varies from 882 USD to 1,959 USD. Some private Studienkollegs (for example the Rheinland Privatschule) offer to teach German from scratch. The cost of the courses is 490 USD.
Studying in private Studienkollegs
Studying in Studienkollegs lasts 6-10 months, depending on the chosen path: a full academic year or accelerated courses. The total workload is 28-32 hours per week. It depends on the course type and the number of subjects to be taken on the FSP exam. The duration of each lesson is 45 minutes. The study programs are the same in all Studienkollegs except those in North Rhine-Westphalia. The W-KursEconomics course students at the Rhine Studienkolleg additionally study the history of economics and computer science. The structure of the course is built in such a way that German classes are held every day — up to 10 hours a week.
Studienkollegs have two vacation periods. Winter holidays are always around Christmas, and for summer ones, dates vary by school. Each break lasts one week.
Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) exams at private Studienkollegs
The Feststellungsprüfung (FSP) — literally translated as "control exam" — is a series of exams in the subjects that the student has studied at the Studienkolleg. Graduates of private Studienkollegs take them not in their educational institution itself, but in the Admission Committee of the specific German state. These Committees are situated in state Studienkollegs. So, if the studies took place at the private Rheinisches Studienkolleg in Bonn, then the exam will have to be taken in Cologne. It is important to ensure that the private Studienkolleg offers to pass the FSP, which is recognized throughout Germany.
Exams are conducted in written and oral form. For example, after studying M-KursMedicine course at the Rheinisches Studienkolleg, the three written exams are German, Physics, and Biology, while the two oral exams are Chemistry and Mathematics.
Foundation in Germany
In addition to the traditional Studienkolleg system, there are also paid Foundation programs in Germany. They are hosted by private universities, and the learning process is different from Studienkollegs. It is designed for the student to continue their studies at the same university where the Foundationprogram took place. After the preparatory year, the student is automatically enrolled in the undergraduate program of the same educational institution. For example, at the Karl Graduate School International University, the preparatory year is conducted similarly to a Studienkolleg: the selection of subjects resembles a course in Economics, but at the end of the year, students do not take the FSP exams. And without them, they are not allowed to enter other German universities.
Differences between Foundation programs in Germany and Studienkollegs
Main advantages of the Foundation programare the automatic admission to a German universityusually a private one and a variety of preparatory programs. For example, after studying in English at Freshman Institute in Aachen, the applicant may enroll in two educational institutions: University of Applied Sciences Rhine-Waal and the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciencesall subjects are taught in English there. The disadvantage ofFoundation is that after completing these programs, the students rarely gain access to higher education in German, since they do not pass the FSP exam.
Foundation is a good option if the student has decided in advance on the training plan and will not change it. However, this will not be suitable for those who want to choose a university after the preparatory program.