Cologne Prep Class FAQs
Our answers to your questions about Cologne Prep Class!
What is Cologne Prep Class?
Cologne Prep Class is an eleven-month preparatory class for international students who intend to enroll in a German university. Specifically, it is designed for applicants whose secondary-school degrees do not qualify them for direct access to a degree program at a German university. Cologne Prep Class offers preparatory courses in the fields of economics and engineering. Aside from offering prep courses and language training, Cologne Prep Class assists its participants in finding apartments and dealing with visa and other bureaucracy issues. Cologne Prep Class also organizes field trips, intercultural workshops and information events.
Is Cologne Prep Class a Studienkolleg?
Generally speaking, yes! Just like a Studienkolleg, Cologne Prep Class prepares you for a university entrance exam held at the end of the program. One of the differences to a state-run Studienkolleg is the fact that courses at Cologne Prep Class are not divided into semesters, but are held for ten months in a row. Cologne Prep Class is a successor program of the state-run Studienkollegs, which were terminated in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2010.
Is Cologne Prep Class a private program?
Cologne Prep Class is a preparatory course offered by TH Köln under private law. This means that Cologne Prep Class does not receive any state funding. For this reason, we charge a tuition fee in order to be able to run the program. TH Köln itself is a state-funded university.
Is there a tuition fee and, if so, how much is it?
Yes, Cologne Prep Class does charge tuition fees of 6,500 euros for the eleven-month preparatory course. These fees include the semester fees for both of your semesters at TH Köln of approximately 270 euros per semester.
Do I need to pay the entire tuition fee before classes start?
Yes. Paying in installments is unfortunately not allowed. It is possible for you to pay the fees in more than one transaction though. However, please note that the entire amount has to be transferred by the date stated in your contract of participation. This date is always set prior to the beginning of classes.
Are there ways of receiving a scholarship?
TH Köln grants one tuition-fee scholarship to a participant. This scholarship is not paid out to the student. Instead, the tuition fees of 6,500 euros are waived. Please see the information on applying (Link How to apply) for more information.
Is rent for an apartment included in my tuition fees?
No. Rent for an apartment is not included in your tuition fees. The Department of International Affairs can assist you with the application for a room in a student dorm or help you find an apartment on the private housing market.
What others costs are there?
Monthly living expenses for students living in Cologne are normally around 850 euros. Depending on your neighborhood and your personal needs, these costs may vary quite strongly.
What subjets does Cologne Prep Class teach?
This depends on the specialization you have chosen: The T-Course teaches the subjects German, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English and entitles you to enroll in degree programs in engineering, mathematics and natural sciences. The W-Course teaches the subjects German, Mathematics, Economics and English and entitles you to enroll in degree programs in economics and social science. An exemplary class schedule is available in the download section of the Cologne Prep Class webpages.
I would like to take some courses only. Can I do so?
Unfortunately not, as Cologne Prep Class constitutes a complete program. Taking specific courses only is therefore not possible. For this reason, tuition fees cannot be reduced either.
I already have a good command of German. Do I still need to participate in German classes?
German is a mandatory subject of Cologne Prep Class. However, you may be exempt from German classes and the final examination if you have obtained one of the following certificates:
• level II of the German Language Diploma of the German Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs
• the TestDaF with a score of at least four points in all four exam components
• the Kleine Deutsche Sprachdiplom (Minor German Language Certificate) or Große Deutsche Sprachdiplom (Major German Language Certificate) of the Goethe Institute
• the Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (Advanced Level Examination – ZOP) of the Goethe Institute or a Volkshochschule
What is the language of instruction?
The language of instruction in all courses – apart from English classes – is German.
Do I need to have a good command of English?
Yes, English is a mandatory subject in the W-Course and constitutes a part of the university entrance exam. English is taught in the T-Course as well. Since courses are taught on a B1-level, you should have a basic command of English so that you can follow the courses well. Should you not have any English language skills, we recommend you take an intensive English course before Cologne Prep Class begins.
Will I be guaranteed a place in Cologne Prep Class with my application?
Places in Cologne Prep Class are limited. Depending on the number of applicants, it may be possible that you will be placed on a waiting list first. Please note that we can only accept applications that are complete.
Will my chances of receiving a place in Cologne Prep Class increase if I apply early?
No, your chances will not increase. We will collect all applications received by the end of the application deadline and will then select the successful applicants.
Is there an age limit that bars me from being accepted to Cologne Prep Class?
In terms of maximum age, an age limit is not in place. If you are younger than 18, you are required to obtain your legal guardian’s signature in order to enroll.
Will I be enrolled at TH Köln for the entire duration of Cologne Prep Class?
Yes, you will be enrolled at Cologne Prep Class bearing the status „Cologne Prep Class” and will receive your personal student-ID card. This card comes with a number of perks: A public-transportation ticket for the entire state of North Rhine-Westphalia, cafeteria dining at reduced prices and lots more. Please note though that – as a member of Cologne Prep Class – you may only work during school breaks and are required to take out private health insurance. Once you enroll in a degree program after having graduated from Cologne Prep Class, you will be granted regular-student status.
Do I have enough time for a job while attending Cologne Prep Class?
As a rule, you are not allowed to work during a preparatory course. Whether you are allowed to work or not is stated in your residence permit, which you receive from the immigration office. Should you be allowed to work, you may not work more than 120 days or 240 half days per year. That is quite a lot, but you must not forget that the timetable is very full. As a rule, you will have classes in the morning and afternoon, so that only the evenings or nights will remain to work. This in turn can have a negative effect on your performance and jeopardize a successful conclusion. Nor should you underestimate the cost of living in Germany. Many countries have misconceptions. It is almost impossible to come to Germany without money and to finance a preparatory course and the studies completely by working.
Can I stay in a dormitory during the Cologne Prep Class?
Yes. You can apply online for a room in a student residence hall on the website of the Kölner Studierendenwerk. Please note that the living space in Cologne is scarce and we cannot guarantee a place in the dormitory. The sooner you apply, the better your chances are. We will be happy to help you with your application.
Can I take out statutory health insurance for the duration of the Prep Class?
No. As a rule, you must take out private health insurance for the duration of your studies. The Deutsche Studentenwerk (German National Association for Student Affairs - DSW) has concluded a framework agreement for a comparatively cheap private health insurance plan. Further information can be found at the Kölner Studierendenwerk.
What is the university entrance examination (Feststellungsprüfung) and what can I do with it?
The "Feststellungsprüfung" is the abbreviation for "Exam to assess the qualification of international student applicants for entering studies at universities in the Federal Republic of Germany”. The Feststellungsprüfung provides you with nationwide admission to universities and universities of applied sciences, but is limited to the academic field of study that you have chosen (engineering, economic or social sciences). This is called “Fachbindung” in German. The Feststellungsprüfung is the final part of the preparation course. It is under the supervision of the district government in Cologne. You will be examined by your lecturers.
What is the procedure for the Feststellungsprüfung?
You will be examined in writing in three subjects and orally in one subject. The subjects in which you will be examined depend on the specialization course you have chosen. The written examinations last at least three hours per subject and four hours in the subject German. The oral examination usually takes about 30 minutes. Under certain conditions, additional oral examinations may be requested from the participants if this is necessary for passing the examination. The Feststellungsprüfung may be repeated once.
Is the Prep Class final examination recognized?
Yes. At the end of the Prep Class, you pass the so-called Feststellungsprüfung. You will receive an official certificate like in a Studienkolleg.
Is my certificate also accepted by universities?
Yes. You will receive the official Feststellungsprüfungs-certificate. With this you can apply nationwide at universities of applied sciences as well as universities.
What subjects can I study after successfully completing the course?
If you have decided to specialize in economics in the Prep Class, you will be granted the right to study economics and social sciences with the passed Feststellungsprüfung. If you have chosen the engineering specialization, you will be eligible for technical, mathematical and natural science subjects.
Do I have to study at TH Köln at the end of the course?
No, you don't have to. You can apply with your certificate at universities of applied sciences as well as at universities throughout Germany.
How can I prepare for the Prep Class?
The best way to prepare yourself is to learn as much German as possible, because the specialist knowledge in the course is taught through the language. It is quite logical: the better you speak the language, the better you understand the subject matter of other subjects such as chemistry or economics. Basically, it can be said that poor German language skills are a major obstacle to preparation.
In addition, you may want to take a look in our download-section (LINK). We have uploaded a document called “Kursinhalte”, which gives you an overview of the contents of each subject and also some hints for preparation, as well as book suggestions.