Recognition of School Qualifications
In case you're coming to Germany to complete your Bachelor's degree
University degrees aren't the only documents that visitors to Germany may need to recognize. In fact, recognition of school-level qualifications and leaving certificates are just as important.
This is especially true for individuals who are applying to study for a German Bachelor’s degree. In their cases, it's unlikely that they will have obtained other degrees, and school qualifications are the only evidence of their academic achievements.
Again, as with university degrees, not all school qualifications from around the world have the same strength, and comparison of different education systems can be complex. Because of this, various tools have emerged to streamline the process, such as DAAD's access requirements database.
Getting to know Germany's school leaving system
Many German students leave school with a vital document called the Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (fortunately shortened in everyday life to the more manageable, HZB).
The HZB acts as proof that the student is prepared for university-level courses, allowing universities to ensure that classes are composed of able, attentive, and motivated attendees.
Importantly, the HZB isn't the only leaving certificate. Some leave school with a certificate at Realschule level, which tends to feed into vocational courses (not university). So foreign qualifications may be seen as equivalent to a lower tier.
For more information about the German education system, head here.
How to know whether your school leaving certificate qualifies
Most of the time, students find out very quickly when they make inquiries at a potential site of study. And if you have any doubts about whether your certificates will satisfy your university's criteria, contact the admissions office and make a direct inquiry.
It may also be necessary to have your school leaving certificate recognized by an external authority. These offices can be found in all major German cities, and a full list of locations and contact details is available via the Anabin database.
If your qualifications aren't recognized, don't despair. Courses at Studienkolleg institutions can allow applicants to meet the required standard while giving an insight into German language and culture.