The application and enrollment process at the university is a sealed book for many first-year students. No wonder, for most it is the first application they ever write. Therefore, we explain here how to apply for a place to study, what deadlines you have to observe and what you should bring with you when enrolling …

Application and enrollment at the university: What does that mean?

First of all, the application and enrollment at the university are two separate processes that build on each other. Means: You write an application to the university of your choice and if this is successful and you get a commitment, then you will be announced an appointment for enrollment, the so-called enrollment.

In order for your application and enrollment to be successful at the university, you must have one of the following qualifications:

  • general university entrance qualification (Abitur)
  • subject-specific university entrance qualification
  • University entrance for professionally qualified

If you want to study, you are interested in a particular course of study that exists at one or more universities. Because some programs are particularly popular and universities have limited capacity for study places, applications are necessary.

The universities are thus looking for the first-year students who fit in according to certain criteria. By implication, this means that you should never apply to one university, but to several, to increase your chances of finding a place to study.

Restricted and non-admission programs

The application is nowadays often online, in some cases additionally by post. The online applications can be carried out via a university-internal online portal (for example C @ MPUS, the management portal of the University of Stuttgart) and / or via

Beforehand, you must register there and regularly check your notifications, as you will also find out here whether or not you are granted admission to study. The universities often refrain from sending an additional postal confirmation.

Whether or not you have to apply for a university entrance depends mainly on whether your degree program is restricted or not. You must inquire about the individual modalities, as it looks at your desired university, at the respective universities.

Admission restrictions are necessary because the number of available study places does not suffice for the applications. Therefore, for each application process, the numerus clausus for each subject is determined, which is based on the final grade of the best applicants.

20 percent of the available seats will be awarded to applicants with the best final grades,

20 percent will be awarded after the number of waiting semesters.

Sixty percent of the places are awarded according to internal criteria such as pre-education, weighted individual grades, subject-specific tests, selection interviews, and local preferences. Nevertheless, the Abitur score often plays a role here as well.

Admissions restricted programs

Here a distinction is made between:

Nationwide admission-restricted courses of study: Affected are the subjects …

  • medicine
  • pharmacy
  • veterinary medicine
  • dentistry

Local courses of study restricted to admission: Above all, popular subjects such as …

  • law Sciences
  • Economics
  • social sciences
  • social sciences

Even scientists and mathematicians have a hard time. Significantly less stress is needed on aspiring humanities scholars.

Admission-free courses

It is more relaxed for students who have picked out orchid subjects at uninspired universities. As a rule of thumb: Larger university cities such as Hamburg or Berlin attract the masses.

If your subject is admission-free, you usually do not need a formal application, instead you have to pay attention to the timely enrollment. In some cases, the documents must be printed, completed and sent by post. Here you must definitely allow sufficient lead time for the post!

However, it may be that you have to pass an aptitude test or have to show certain certificates. For example, those who want to study music or design often have to demonstrate certain skills – someone who can not read or barely draw notes will have more difficulty in such a case.

Exception: International applicants usually have to apply for admission-free subjects and also prove their English language skills.

Enrollment at the university

As different as the application procedures are, so different is the enrollment. In some cases, it is always personal, depending on the university, but at other universities, an application for enrollment is made via online portals.

For the personal enrollment at the university, which is usually done at the student secretariat, you need appropriate documents that will be communicated to you when applying with the admission letter.

How the enrollment is done depends solely on the university. Both admission-free and restricted-admission subjects can be accessed via online enrollment. In the case of admission-free subjects, students who have submitted the semester fee and the enrollment fee and have sent the application by post together with the documents apply to the University of Kiel.

At the University of Passau, the same applies to admission-restricted subjects. The University of Cologne, however, expects personal enrollment.

If you are unable to attend at the time and can not make the appointment yourself, for example because you are currently doing a work and travel abroad, you can also equip a person with a written power of attorney (for example, a parent) and this will enroll you.

These things you need for enrollment:

  • Application for Enrollment (printed and signed)
  • Identity card (or other identity document) in copy
  • High school diploma (or higher education entrance qualification)
  • Proof of the paid semester contribution (bank statement copy)
  • proof of health insurance
  • Aptitude test (if applicable)
  • Approval letter (with restricted admission subjects