Due to the restricted admission of many German universities, it is not possible for everyone to study their desired major at their desired location. If this is a problem that you are facing, a study plaintiff is a possibility for you. But what exactly is to be considered? Many potential students think that winning a student lawsuit is as simple as just handing in a form. But realistically, it is a lot more than that. Being a plaintiff does not guarantee you a spot in any university; it’s not as simple as you may imagine.

What happens in a lawsuit?

One possible starting point is the so-called “capacity” suit. Legally, universities are required to accept their full capacity of students, because, according to basic law in Germany, everyone has the right to pursue the profession of his or her choice. A capacity suit accuses the university of not taking in their maximum amount of students. First of all, you need to be aware that if you do not want to deal with this whole thing by yourself, you should hire a lawyer. Keep in mind that this, of course, causes costs to be born in (almost) every case.

The process is as follows: First, the capacity lawsuit must be submitted by you or your lawyer to the court. The university may then submit a contradiction in which will attempt to prove that it has already given all possible spots to other students. If you have a successful capacity suit, in most cases the university grants additional spots, which are shared among all plaintiffs. If this number is larger than the number of plaintiffs who are complaining, it is solved.

But, particularly in the case of popular subjects, such as medicine, or in popular regions such as Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, the success rate is rather low. This is precisely the problem. Applying to a University or major which has a high number of applicants, results in a lower chance of you getting in.

What does it cost you?

Depending on the chosen process and whether or not you involve an attorney, the costs are very different. 50 euros, however, is the sum of the application of a procedure. Many lawyers also make special offers to study plaintiffs. For example, such that you agree to a success bonus, which means that you only have to pay if your argument is successful. This will save you any fees if the lawsuit does not suceed.You should always try to be aware of the charges incurred in advance. If you are not aware of these conditions, and you decide to file a lawsuit and it does not succeed after several legal steps, you could still have to pay the entire cost. The total cost in the end could very well exceed 1,000 euros.

What are the alternative options?

For one thing, you should consider whether or not it really is worth spending the money. In particularly difficult cases, it can easily become very expensive, and may go on for weeks. You should also ask yourself whether this university or subject is absolutely worth it. Maybe there are other cities that you would also like to study in, and that have enough space for you.

One option is just waiting one or two semesters and applying again (and having a higher chance of getting in). You can instead use this time to do something different before you start your studies. You could travel, do an FSJ or even do an internship in your desired area of study. For more ideas and suggestions, check out the gap-year article on our site. No matter what you decide, you should carefully consider all of your many different options before diving into one. Ask your parents and friends for advice, and discuss what might be the best fit for you. Sometimes you can get so lost in something, and that you can’t see the forest behind the trees.

So, do not rush into anything, because clearly, there are many different paths of action!

Stress is terrible! It ruins your time with friends and family, because you just can’t really get rid of it. Since we don’t want you to go to the hospital with a stomach ulcer this semester, we have put together a short list of the best tips and tricks for you.

  • Meditation: You can not imagine the difference it will make. It doesn’t even have to be yoga. Just simply focus on breathing, and relax both mentally and physically. The term “meditation” tends to bring a floating old man to mind, but it is really just a question of collecting yourself.
  • Music: It is scientifically proven that music is an effective remedy for stress. Calming sounds help to relax the body and the brain.
  • Friends: A quick chat with friends can do miracles for the soul. To laugh together, relax and simply forget all worries, makes life much more jovial.
  • An important point was just mentioned: Laugh! Through the laughter and joy, endorphins pour out, which make you feel much more positive and as a result everything does not seem so bad.
  • Green Tea or Matcha: Caffeine causes a temporary energy boost. When you drink coffee, your blood pressure is briefly raised and you experience a surge of energy, but after a short time you feel worse than before. Therefore, we would advise you to drink green tea or matcha. Matcha and green tea need a little longer to work, but they last much longer and are better for you.
  • Exercise: Exercise, even for 5 minutes, is a very good remedy for stress. Jogging and over exercise can help clear your mind. Even going once around the block helps you to collect your thoughts. Take your time for yourself! If you play sports often, you know that you really do feel a thousand times better after a run or a good workout. You don’t even have to go out, doing a few exercises at home still does the trick.
  • Organization: As you know, the Germans tend to be very structured and organized anyways, but we all know that things can get chaotic and last minute every once-and-awhile. As they say; “A little structure never hurt nobody”. We suggest that you make a to-do list for each day. It shouldn’t have too many points, remember to be realistic.

As you can see, it is not difficult to relieve your stress. No matter how you deal with your stress, it’s a good idea to regularly take a quick timeout.

Links:

Provided that you have now decided to go to University, the question now arises, what should you study? In Germany, there are more than 18,000 different courses to study, and if you go abroad, there are certainly even more. So how should one decide their course of study?

To start, it is always easier to rule out what you do not want to study than to say what you want to study. You should first think about the areas that do not interest you at all, be it natural sciences, legal sciences or languages. If you continue in the direction, the list should get shorter and shorter.

It is very helpful to have a lot of conversations, because others may perceive something differently than you. But do not let these opinions stress you out too much. Keep in mind that it is also totally okay to change your course of studies, if you realize that you feel passionate about going another direction. Of course, you should not change subjects every semester, but it is better to change course after half a year than to sit in a job that you do not like at all for the rest of your life.

If you are someone who can not decide at all, then our tip would be: make your study choice as open-ended as possible. As a physicist, you have much fewer job options than someone who has studied law or business administration.

Also, ask yourself this: Is the city you study in more important to you than the course of studies? Do I want to stay in Germany, or move to another country, or even to another continent? A clear advantage of studying within Germany is the cost factor. In almost all other European countries, you have to pay a very large sum of money to study. England, for example, has very good universities, but they are pretty expensive. No other country is as expensive as the U.S.. European countries tend to have very good universities and are not even nearly as expensive. One example is Holland, which has a few well-known, less expensive, and also very good universities, for example the University of Maastricht and the University of Leiden.

A further option for someone who would like to study abroad is to take a Bachelor course in Germany, and get very good grades to apply for a Master’s degree scholarship, or you have to pay privately for two years.

Do not start too late with the planning; the time goes fast and will quickly escape you. And of course don’t miss important dates, such as your Bachelor thesis due date. In addition, as a tip: There are many scholarships that are still undiscovered, and these can open up many possibilities and get you one step closer to your dream job. Good luck!

Links:

  • zeit.de/sit/ Here you will find a test which will help you to determine what a study course might be possible. (In German)
  • geva-institut.de The Geva Test is also a test which deals with the professional profile of your abilities. This test is also offered at many schools, so register for it to get one step closer to your dream job. (In German)

Putting aside the option of doing a gap year and moving on to the question: ”Should I do vocational training, a dual course of study or just the classical approach?”

All of these three options have pros and cons, so you should primarily analyze your own learning methods and how you study the best. Is it best for me to study in a really structured and school like environment? Do I achieve better results, when I get to learn in a more practical way? Or do I thrive on a symbiosis on those both paths and want to further educate myself with theoretical knowledge, but also get to experience the real work life? One of the positive aspects of doing vocational training or a dual course of study is the financial independence. As a student you are always financially dependent on either your parents or a scholar ship program, but as a vocational trainee or a dual course of study student, you receive a monthly salary and are able to afford your own student apartment. If you do not need your own apartment because you still live at home, you have the opportunity of putting some money aside and saving it for a new car or your first apartment, when you are down with your training. Assuming that you work hard and do your job well, the chances of being hired by the company, that is doing your training, after you are done, are pretty good. Therefore, vocational training and a dual course of study seem to be a bit more safe than studying the classical/old school way. The pro-arguments of the classical approach mostly coincide with the negative aspects of the other two possibilities, because, statistically speaking, people that have a “Hochschulabschluss” tend to have more chances of being promoted throughout their career. Furthermore, less academics are jobless than none academics (only 2,5% of all academics were without a job in 2005), so as a trainee you may have a more secure path, but probably not as many prospects. Additionally there are a lot of private universities in Germany that offer the classical course of study, but with a focus on practical learning as well. So after having analyzed the pros and cons of the various educational paths, it might be a tad bit easier to decide which way to go.

After having assembled an inner pro-con-list and having silenced the nervous and slightly paranoid voice inside your head, you can ask yourself:” Is it really a matter of life and death to decide what educational path you want to choose?” There is a famous saying:” Every way leads to Rome.”, which applies in this scenario, because it isn’t as important anymore what you study or that you study at all. That a man cannot be successful without having studied law, business or medicine and a woman has to study history and then find herself a nice lawyer, is as ancient as can be. The true problem nowadays is the incredible amount of competition on the job market, due to the fact that 60% of a year finish with a high school diploma and 77% of all those go to university to further their studies. 25 years ago only 32% finished with a high school diploma and 70% went on to universities. In addition to that, we don’t only have to compete with all of Germany, but also the whole world. Therefore my advice to you is: Do something you love or at least really like, so you can stick out of the mass of people doing the same thing you are. This is only possible, when you are truly passionate about what you do and have fun doing it. Of course, when looking at the statistics a lawyer earns more than a yoga teacher, but if yoga is totally your thing and you manage to make it your own, then by all means go ahead and do it, because in the end you might get a lot more out of it. All in all it is not only about the material aspects, but that you manage to spend 50 years working in your job without having a heart-attack or an ulcerated stomach.

Exams are done, you survived and got your high school diploma, but what now?

18.044, the amount of courses of studies during the winter semester of 2015/2016. This number contains 8.298 Bachelor and 8.099 Master programs. Those numbers only reflect one small area of possibilities though and leaves out the variety of other options one is confronted with, when having finished High School. One of those possibilities is the Gap Year, which is something especially German students like to partake in after having passed their Abitur successfully. You will find links on how to plan such a journey at the end of this article.

Simply sitting at home for an entire year and just letting time pass by does not seem very pragmatic and one is also more than overdue to get away from hotel Mama and live in their own student apartment. Obtaining new experiences on an unknown continent, getting to know other cultures, learning a new language and possibly also gain work experience, are all possibilities that sound more than thrilling after having been in school for 12 years. Finally one is able to reach out of their comfort zone and take their first step towards independence.

Furthermore, in today’s job market it is really important that you speak English well, which can be learned easily throughout work and travel in Australia, for example. This does not only give you the opportunity to get to know a new country, but also new and interesting people. Taking on a big trip like that all by yourself might seem intimidating at first, but there are always tons of people travelling along the with you. Consequently you are never going to be alone and will most definitely find yourself a travel group. Additionally it is proven that you learn a language better and faster when being surrounded by people who actually speak and live the language rather than taking a course in your hometown. Concerning the work component of work and travel you have to be super careful, because a lot of organizations that you can find on the internet exploit you and let you work under horrible circumstances. So here’s some advice: Try getting a job through friends of friends of friends or check the website as thoroughly as possible beforehand. You don’t want to be surprised by the horrible work conditions and end up wishing you had your own apartment.

All in all, a Gap Year can be an amazing opportunity, especially for all those that are infected by the Wanderlust sickness and have no clue what to do right after High School. If you decide to take advantage of the year off, make sure you really make the best of it. Carpe Diem- Seize the day! See as many things as you can, learn as many new things as humanly possible, seize the opportunity at hand and broaden your horizon. You can live in your own comfy student apartment when you are back, but during that year eat Scorpios, sleep on the floor and so on….

Tipp: I strongly advise you to plan your year of backpacking, travelling and working yourself, because you pay an organization a lot of money that you could just as easily save for your trip. Here you can find a few good links that will help you with your planning!

Links:

Studying in a foreign country can be extremely exciting, because you get to know something completely new and they sometimes give you the opportunity to study a course, such as medicine for example, that you cannot study in Germany, because your grades are not good enough. For medicine a very much liked city is Budapest, but Estonia also has good courses to offer. But how does the whole studying abroad thing even work and how do you have to apply?

A program, which makes studying abroad rather simple, is the so-called Erasmus program. Erasmus is an EU-wide organization, that funds scholarships for European students, who want to study abroad. This is especially a good option, because Erasmus itself is very structured and you do not have to organize a lot . Additionally you save a lot of money, because no matter where you study, you do not have to pay for your tuition and you get monthly pocket money between 50€ and 300€.

In order to apply for Erasmus you have to meet the following criteria:

  • You have to be enrolled in a university
  • You have to be an EU citizen
  • You need to be able to speak the language well enough to be able to follow the lectures

 

You need to provide the following documents:

  • Motivational essay
  • Report card
  • CV
  • Language certificate

Erasmus aside, how do I apply to other universities outside of Germany?

 

For the universities inside the United Kingdom there is an overall platform called UCAS. UCAS accompanies the whole application process and helps you get an overview of the necessary requirements of the different universities. You are able to apply to a maximum of five universities, but there are special rules for Oxford and Cambridge and special courses of studies, such as dentistry.

 

 In Holland the application process is organized by Studielink. For some universities you have to apply directly through their website, but if that is the case Studielink will tell you so. You do not need to be able to speak Dutch for the application, you can just apply in English or German.

In order to apply to a German university in Hungary you have to apply through an Online-Form. For this you need a CV, a motivational essay, your report card, if you want to study medicine you need a medical report and possibly information about internships. Plus you need to pay a fee of 200€ in order to apply.

In Switzerland the application process varies from university to university, but for every uni you have to fill out an online form and provide your passport picture. Germany and Switzerland have a bilateral agreement, which means that both high school diplomas are equal and Germans therefore don’t necessarily have to take an ability test.

Beforehand one has to request the application form from the university or college. As an international applicant you also have to take the SATs, just as the national applicants. In addition to this applicants from outside the US have to take an English test such as the TOEFL or the Cambridge test. Furthermore, American colleges expect an application essay, but you will find more information about that on their websites. Of course they also expect you to send in other formalities such as a recommendation and your last report card.

 

In France you apply directly to the Uni not via a platform. At first you have to fill out an Online-Form, which you can either request from the University or find on the School’s website. In France they generally don’t require certain grades for you to get accepted, but after two years you have to take exams and only if you pass all of them, you are allowed to continue studying. Together with the filled out form you have to send in your report card and possibly a certificate showing your French skills. You should however check the requirements for each Uni as they may differ.

 

As a EU citizen you have to apply via a platform called UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educatiòn a distancia).

As a student it definitely does not hurt to earn a bit of extra cash, even if it is only about gaining a little independence from your parents. The following question presents itself though: “ When looking for a part-time job, what do I have to be aware off?”

Really important is that you keep count of how much you earn, because if you don’t, you may have to pay a lot of taxes and will end up with less money than you would’ve earned initially. Furthermore your Bafög loan or child support money might be affected as well, if you earn more than you should, according to those organizations. A few rules that you have to follow:

  • As a student you’re not allowed to work for more than 20 hours, because then it is not a part-time job anymore
  • Students that receive Bafög are not allowed to earn more than 400€ a month otherwise they are going to receive less money
  • You shouldn’t earn more than 8.354€ per year since you have to pay taxes otherwise

Unlike Bafög you are always able to receive your child support money until you are 25 years old. It does not matter how old you are, only that you are still in training. If you have to do an internship as part of your training, the money you receive is tax free. If you are interning voluntarily though, you do have to pay taxes and the amount depends in how much you receive at your internship. Having all those criteria in mind you are going to ask yourself:” What kind of job is best for me?”

The best kind of job would be a sort of mini-job, that doesn’t exceed 20 hours per week, so you do not earn more than 400 or 450 euros, depending on you receiving BaföG or not. Good examples would be working as a waitress, at a fair, as a babysitter, as a tutor, as a promoter and so on and so forth. All those little part-time jobs have their pros and cons and you should choose one taking your own talents into consideration. If you are good with children and have a lot of patience, maybe you should consider being a babysitter. If you are friendly, open minded and have an incredible talent for stacking dishes, maybe you should work as a waitress. You will always be able to find one or another opportunity to earn extra money, but as I said before, it is really important that you don’t lose track of what you earn, because you want to be able to keep all that pretty money without having to give anything away.

Links and tips for finding a job:

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