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How to Decide on a University Course

Expatrio 2024-02-15
How to Decide on a University Course


Tips for International Students

It's that time of year again – university application season! With so many universities and courses available, it can be hard to know where to start. Choosing the right study program can be challenging, especially if you're an international student.

This article will give you some tips on university course selection for you. We'll also tell you about some of the admission requirements and what to expect from different types of study programs. So read on and find out everything you need to know about choosing a university program!

Why is choosing the right course important?

Choosing the right university program is crucial because it can affect your future career prospects. A good course will give you the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a specific career path. It's also essential to choose a course that fits your interests and abilities. You don't want to spend all that time and money studying something that you're not interested in or don't enjoy in the long run. It's best to narrow down your choices at the onset to find a good fit.

How to choose a university program that’s right for you

We’ll go through some vital steps in your journey of finding the program that best fits your career goals. Read on to find out more.

1. What subject is right for you?

When choosing a university program, the first thing you should consider is the topic you want to study. Answer these questions to help you narrow down a subject you'd like to pursue:

  • What are your interests and passions?
  • What subjects did you enjoy most in high school?
  • Is this field worth your time and investments?
  • What are the job prospects after completing this course?

2. Consider the course content

Once you've decided on a course subject, it's also essential to consider the contents of the chosen course. Ensure that the study program covers all of the topics you're interested in and that it is taught to suit your learning style. If you're not sure what to expect from a particular course, you can always contact the university and ask for a copy of the syllabus.

3. What type of degrees are there?

Next, you need to decide what type of degree you want to pursue in your higher education. There are three types of degrees available at universities or colleges – undergraduate (Bachelor's), graduate (Master's), and doctoral (Ph.D.). 

The most common type of degree is the bachelor's degree, which takes three or four years to complete. If you want to pursue a career in research, you will need to study for a graduate or doctoral degree.

Master's degrees usually take one or two years to complete, and PhDs can take up to five years. There are also shorter courses available that last for less than a year, such as certificates and diplomas.

Tip: Want to earn your degree for free? Apply to a German public university and get world-class education without paying any tuition fees. Download our free guide to free education in Germany for more info.

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4. How is the course taught?

Choosing a program that suits your learning style and lifestyle is essential. Some programs are taught in a traditional classroom setting, while others are offered online. If you're not a fan of attending lectures, then an online program might be the right choice. However, a traditional classroom setting would be better if you prefer face-to-face interaction.

Taught courses: University courses delivered by academics who lecture and tutor students. The teaching is usually done in a classroom setting, with some coursework or exams also completed in this setting.

Coursework-based courses: Involve completing most of your work away from the university, in your own time. You will have regular contact with your tutors, but the focus is on completing assignments rather than attending lectures.

Exam-based courses: As the name suggests, these programs are assessed primarily through exams. You will still have some contact hours with your tutors, but the emphasis is on revision and exam technique.

In Germany, universities are divided into three categories:

  1. University: You can study almost any subject in this category. Study programs are research-oriented and highly theoretical.
  2. University of applied sciences: As the name suggests, the study programs focus on practical knowledge to produce skilled and trained employees.
  3. Colleges of art, film, and music: Admission to these colleges can be difficult and limited to applicants with artistic talents.

5. Check the admission requirements

Different universities have different entry requirements. Generally, you will need to meet the following criteria to be accepted into an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) course:

  • Complete high school or equivalent qualification
  • Meet the required level of English language proficiency
  • Achieve the minimum entry score for the course selection

You will need to have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field and achieved a certain GPA for graduate degree (Master’s) courses. You may also be required to take a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or submit a research proposal.

Tip: Use Expatrio's Study Eligibility Checker to check whether you're eligible to study at a German university directly.

6. Consider the duration of the study program 

Another vital factor to consider when choosing a university course is the duration. Undergraduate programs typically take three or four years to complete, while postgraduate programs can take one to five years. If you're unsure how long you want to study for, consider a shorter course such as a certificate or diploma.

7. Part-time or full-time?

Do you want to study part-time or full-time? This is an important decision to make, affecting your lifestyle and finances. Part-time students typically take longer to complete their required course, but they don't have to give up their job or other commitments. Full-time students can focus all their time and energy on their studies, but they may have to take out a loan to cover their living expenses.

8. Take note of the application deadlines

Once you've decided on a course, it's essential to check the application deadlines. Universities in Germany typically have two semesters per year: winter and summer semesters. The application deadline for each semester varies from university to university, but generally, it's July 15th for the winter semester and January 15th for the summer semester.

What should you do after picking a course?

After choosing the right university program, it's time to start the application process. This next step can be a daunting task, but don't worry - we're here to help! 

We offer a range of services to support you with your journey before and after your arrival in Germany. We make the process easy and stress-free, from your university application process to gathering documents required for your visa application.

Tips for mastering your university application

If you want to increase your chances of getting accepted into your dream course, follow these tips:

Start early

The earlier you start the process, the more time you'll have to prepare. It means you can take your time to research different courses and universities, and you won't have to rush your application.

Create a list of priorities

What is more important to you: the university's location, the type of course, or the admission requirements? Once you know your priorities, it will be easier to narrow down your options.

Be organized

Keep all your documents in one place and make a checklist of what you need to do. This will help you stay on track and avoid missing any important deadlines.

Get help

If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to seek help from professionals or friends. There are plenty of people who can offer support and advice during this process.

Stay calm

University admission is highly competitive, but don't let that get to you. Focus on your application and put your best foot forward.

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