There’s no secret that Germany is one of the European countries where most international students dream of applying to university. And let’s face it, Germany seems to have it all: it’s affordable, it’s a culture hub and it is home to 63 internationally ranked universities.
You too are eyeing a Master’s in Germany. But you haven’t gotten the chance to decide on a university yet. And you want to fast forward this process. Well, there’s nothing simpler. To choose a German university that is the best fit for you, try taking into account both universities’ reputation and what students say about their experience there.
Rankings versus student reviews when picking a German university
University Rankings are made by independent sources such as Times Higher Education TopUniversities and U.S. News. In simple language, they represent a list of the most prestigious universities in the world. The classification is made based on criteria like:
- Academic reputation
- Graduation rates
- Research citations and papers published
- Internationality of faculty and students
- Graduate Employment rates
Basically, these are somewhat statistical results. People are surveyed about the universities’ reputation and their answers are combined with various numbers and figures to reach the final ranking.
But we all know that studying abroad is not only about top academic reputation, research or graduate salaries. For many international students, what matters more is applying to a Master they can pay for, where they have a positive academic and cultural experience in a good campus with open-minded fellow students.
Studying abroad is also about who inspires you to continue on the path you have chosen, after graduation. This all results in a mix that’s very personal, and often unique for each prospective student.
This is where students’ reviews come in and give that personal touch you need before choosing a university for your graduate studies.
Students who studied or are still enrolled in a programme share their opinion about their overall experience. All their reviews lead to a general star rating. Checking these overall ratings but also what students say exactly about universities feels more authentic than a complex international ranking. In other words, you can think of student reviews as an academic version of YELP.
Top 5 Ranked universities in Germany
To give you a perspective on both rankings and student ratings we’ve created special pages where both of these elements are displayed. Here’s how the top five German universities fare in international tops and in the eyes of students:
- Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich (#32)
- Technical University of Munich (#44)
- University of Heidelberg (#47)
- Humboldt University Berlin (#67)
- University of Freiburg (#76)
If the opinion of other students weighs more in your decision about where to study in Germany, here are other German Universities which are not in the international rankings, but are in students’ graces:
- RWTH Aachen University: “Even though it is a really big university, there is a good relationship between student and professor.”
- Hochschule Bremen - International Graduate Center: “The study experience is amazing. All the lectures were accompanied by demonstrations and lab work, which made it easy to assimilate what's being taught.”
- University of Mannheim :“Open-minded professors, international students, team work. Prepares for life.”
- International School of Management (ISM) : “The ISM is a very good university. The students are very friendly, like the teachers, who really want to teach us something more. They do a lot of practical exercises.”
- SRH Hochschule Heidelberg: “If you are interested in practically oriented work and more group studies, then you should join this university. Less research oriented.”
How’s your life going to be while studying in Germany
Surely … surely you’ve heard that German people have a passion for schedules. Well, professors are Germans too. So, they will expect you to be equally organised and stick to deadlines. Luckily, you’ll be able to whine about them with the many other international students that also pick Germany.
And let’s not forget that you’ll have a lot to do and see when you’re not in class: museums, parks, travels to nearby places and even nearby countries. However, the language will be a small challenge. Yes, you will study in English, but most Germans are more comfortable with their language in every day activities and are not big fans of foreign languages. Interacting with people in coffee shops and other informal circumstances might be a bit of a hassle if you don’t pick up some German words.