Monday, March 9, 2009

Pre-Application Part I

In this post I am going to discuss about the pre-application process. There are a few things which the candidates need to be aware of before starting the actual application process.

DO NOT go to consultants for getting your applications processed! They fleece you of your or your parent's hard earned money. Application procedure for German universities is very straight forward and simple. Also, none of the public universities accept applications forwarded by the consultants. If you want to apply, DO IT YOURSELF!!

Following is the ideal preparation schedule to be followed if one wants to avoid missing the deadlines:

1. Ideally one should start preparing about an year in advance. If you are trying for 2010 winter admits, you can ideally start your preparation during the months of august or September 2009.

2. August to September: visit DAAD website and university websites to see what courses are offered and to check out whether the courses of your choice are available. This also includes reading my blog :) Collect as much information as possible. Contact friends and seniors who are in Germany to get first hand information about the universities and courses.

P.S. There are some very good communities in Orkut like "Indian Students In Germany". Visit this community as it is very active and any questions you have get answered by students in Germany. Follow all the forum postings and threads. Apart from this almost all the universities have an Orkut community of their own which is run either by a student or an alumni. Follow the threads to find answers to most of your questions! Don't forget to check out other places like Yahoo groups, Google groups and Facebook for similar communities/groups.

3. September to October: After you are done with shortlisting the universities and courses, see what qualifications are expected from a prospective candidate. This includes GRE, TOEFL and German language qualifications. Ideally, you should have your GRE and TOEFL scores by the end of october. This way you can ensure that you have sufficient time to give GRE and TOEFL another shot if you've screwed up the first attempt! Also keep in mind the fact that GRE and TOEFL scores reported through ETS take about 3-4 weeks to reach the much for $170 you paid to ETS :-p

P.S. TU Munich requires Indian applicants to provide valid GATE score while applying to the international courses. So, you may want to give GATE a shot if you are interested in TU Munich. There has been a lot of discussion in various forums and communities as to whether applications without GATE score is accepted. My e-mail to the international course coordinator regarding this issue got a reply saying that such applications will be "strictly rejected". So think twice before applying to TU Munich if you don't have GATE score!

4. October to November: If the courses of your choice require you to show German proficiency you can register for German courses at your nearest Goethe Institute. Register for the course as early as possible since the intake is limited and the seats get filled up pretty fast! Plan the course in such a way that you have atleast A1 certificate by the end of November.
Meanwhile, if you don't have a passport, it's not a bad idea to apply for one!! Make sure you have ECNR stamp on your passport. If you don't have the ECNR stamp, check with the passport office as to how you can get that done. Nowadays, a pass in 12th grade is sufficient to get ECNR stamp. Earlier, a valid bachelor degree was required to get the ECNR stamp!

Update: According to information in the passport website, passports issued 2007 onwards do not carry the ECNR stamp. No stamp in the first page of the passport implies that you have ECNR status. However, this rule does not apply for passports issued before 2007. For more information check the passport website.

5. December to May: Application window for most of the universities open in the month of November. Contact the course coordinator to know the exact application procedure and the list of documents that needs to be sent. Many universities requires you to register online in their application portal. You will be asked to provide following details:

- Personal information (Name, Age, Residential address, Phone number, Nationality and Marital status)
- Educational Qualifications (Bachelor, 10th and 12th grades. Some universities also ask you to provide the score card of entrance exams like JEE, AIEEE or CET(conducted by individual states) etc., So, keep the score report handy!)
- Work Experience (do not forget to include internship done as a part of the bachelor degree)
- Research Experience
- Papers presented in any national or international seminars or publications in reputed journals.
- Name and contact information of the people who will give you recommendation.
- Brief description of your motivation to carry out studies in that particular department.

6. January onwards: You can start sending the application pack to the universities and also start praying to your favourite god ;)

P.S. Even though the application windows are open till end of may, early application (before end of march) is recommended!!

Few words about the classification of German universities.

There are four different classifications in their order of merit:

- Techniche Universitaat (Technical University/TU)
Technical Universities are more recognized and oriented towards research. They offer doctoral degree (PhD) in engineering. Studying in a TU might be a good idea if you are inclined towards a career in research or academics.

- Techniche Hochschule (TH) - There is only one TH; RWTH Aachen
They are considered as equivalent to a TU.

- Universitaat (University)
They offer bachelor's, master's and PhD in arts, pure sciences, economics, law and medicine. They rarely offer engineering degrees.

- Fachhochschulen (University of Applied Sciences/FH)
The FH's are more oriented towards the practical use of theoretical knowledge. Most of their degree programmes are in the field of engineering, natural sciences and business administration. Degrees in the field of humanities, social sciences are seldom offered at the Fachhochschulen. They maintain close contacts with industry and offer extensive opportunities for internships/practical work carried out in the industry. FH's do not award the title of PhD. Important point to consider is, FH/H graduates usually are NOT admitted to PhD, but there can be a few exceptions.

These are similar to FH.

For a comprehensive list of German universities, check out this wikipedia page.

Don't forget to leave a comment :)


  1. Hey Mithun,

    This Information is very useful. Why don't you include the university, fee and other information as well. This makes complete info about german universities.


  2. Yeah, I'll do that. Thanks for the tip :)

  3. Hello Mithun,

    Your job is simply superb man. I wanted to thank you first and then ask a query.

    I have completed my B.E in Mechanical Engg this year(2009). I have an aggregate of 80%. I didnot actually know when to apply, so i was late for the winter sem. But however i wanna make my admission to automotive engg or aerospace engg by the march intake. Pls help me in this matter man. I wud be thankful

  4. hi mithun... thanks a bunch for this blog... it has given me a lot of information and also given me quite some confidence about the german universities... great stuff and keep it going... thanks again.

  5. hi Mithun

    Really awesome work !! I am very thankful to you for this blog . I am a final engg student and highly confused about my future options in which field i should go and are there good job opportunities abroad ??? please help me out with these questions please .

  6. Hai mithun...... great work bro....keep it up..

    Please provide the details regarding the MARCH intake also.. thanks

  7. Is it better not to look out for the univerities othet than TH if I wanna go for a Ph.D? I would like to go for Microsystems. But for University of Freiburg, the other two universities, namely the university of applied sciences bremen and hochschule furtwangen offering this are not TH. can you suggest me something on what to do? Please do reply.

    Raghavendran T E

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