Criteria people use when choosing a Uni

Goethe Uni Frankfurt

1. The city
This is one of the major factors because it has a lot ingrained in it. Some of the issues that help choose the correct city include:

  • Entertainment scene – Kenyans love partying and we all know big cities have a livelier entertainment scene than smaller villages
  • Proximity to possible Employers/Sponsors – most students need part time jobs to get by their studies and most courses require an internship before you qualify for the certificate. Proximity to potential employers should be a factor in choosing which city you end up studying in.
  • Cost of living – bigger cities in most cases equal higher costs of living, but a great deal is to live in the outskirts of a BIG city where you enjoy both the advantages of both.
  • Proximity to family and friends – for the few of us who have relatives or friends we’re close to in Germany, it does sometimes play a factor in where we decide to settle.

2. Course variety
There are characteristic courses for some Uniz eg Technische Universitäten offer technical subjects; most Universities in the Ruhr region offer engineering courses. Universities in metropolises tend to offer more international courses i.e. courses in other languages other than just German.

3. Availability of places/positions
Only 30% of the Bachelor students can get a Masters position, and this tends to force people to change universities.

4. Flexibility of the Auslandsamt
We all know different AAs behave differently towards the foreigners in their areas, some will extend your visas without requiring more than the bare minimum while others will demand even your grandmother’s latest birth certificate before they extend your visa to the minimum allowed duration. This in most cases overrides most other factors.

5. School size
Do you prefer schools with large numbers where you have the freedom to do as you please because the professors definitely can’t keep up with the numbers or do you prefer where there’s close contact between lecturers and students? This might help you choose between a Uni and an FH.

6. Curriculum/Modules
Some Universities offer some irrelevant classes as part of the curriculum which might be something to think about. In my Bachelor I had to attend some classes not because they were relevant to my field of study but because they were in english and the program I was in was an international program. This is something to think about before making your choice.

7. Cost
This will only be a race between the private and the public Universities. Most public Universities already offer most courses, so rarely do you find people checking out private Uniz here not unless you are looking for all English courses in traditionally foreigners attracting courses like Tourism.

You might wonder why I didn’t write about some factors that many consider important like:

  • University ranking – there are only 3 classes of Universities in Germany: Private, Public and Elite Public. Usually there’s little to no difference between the public and the elite Universities.
  • Extra Curricular activities – working is the usual extra curricular activity for students in Germany.
  • Size of the Campus – campuses here can even be in 2 cities, like the one I’m at Duisburg and Essen. You have all your classes in your department though, so you rarely even feel the size. Student hostels aren’t on campus and in most cases you’ll have to commute to where your classes are.
  • Demographics – statistics are a good reference, but most of the time these don’t reflect on the real situation on the ground. The Uni might have a population of 60% foreigners, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are foreigners from the same boat you’re on. Could be most are from the EU and we all know the stipulations for foreigners from the EU differ from those for foreigners from Third Party states. Also these foreigners might not be in your study course.
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