Requirements for university admission in Germany

Having been educated at high school in the U.S.

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The University of California system is not private. Where'd you get that impression? Not all of them are expensive either - they will cost more than the CSU schools though. Here's the fee chart for UCSB, just as an example.

And the CSU system does offer PhDs too.
Yes, it was just an "impression" on my part. I didn't realize both were state run. I stand corrected (and learned something new for the day).
Aussie Girl
Romana.m, Hueber is quite helpful. I used that book too. I also:

  • completed a TestDAF Vorbereitungskurs - this was a 4 week preparation course which was quite useful, particularly for the shriftlich and mundlich components as they are more difficult to mark yourself;
  • used 3 other preparation books - I borrowed them from people who had already done TestDAF. I worked slowly through all 4 books, which really helped a lot;
  • used a base structure for the schriftlich component. I kept practising one schriftlich paper every 2 days for the month leading up to the exam, so that the structure was stuck in my mind. The structure included some impressive sounding phrases which set up each paragraph (including intro and conclusion) and could just be adapted for each topic;
  • drafted a table filled with vocabulary and ideas relating to topics which seemed to pop up regularly in mundlich and schriftlich components;
  • recorded my voice practising the mundlich component (always timed) and asked my German friends to correct it;
  • practised the mundlich component with fellow language-school friends (again always timed);
  • only read and listed to German for the months leading up to the exam - it helps to find a publication which interests you and read it every week. For me, it was Spiegel. The only time I spoke English during this lead up period was when speaking with friends and family from Australia.

For your reference, I was going to attach the vocab table which I drafted in preparation for the schriftlich and mundlich components, but unfortunately I am not allowed to upload a Word file.

The TestDAF exam is all about preparation and strategy. The topics which pop up are quite predictable - but even if a new unexpected topic arises, if your preparation is thorough, you will be able to handle it. Also, make sure you are ready for the timing constraints, as they can be tough if you are unprepared. Final piece of advice is to check how your testing venue will deliver the mundliche Pruefung. It is often a room of 40 people or so wearing headsets and all talking at the same time. You should know whether that is the case in order to prepare - it could be off-putting to hear others if you are not ready.

If you have any further questions, ask! Good luck.
Wait does anyone know anything about these CLEP tests??? I read the other forum that a few recommended, and it mentions CLEP tests so that I can skip addition high school in Germany (even once I have my U.S. high school diploma) ahh so confused haha.
The US high school diploma is not by itself equal to the German Abitur (university entrance qualification diploma). You have to have taken several AP or college-level classes, which is, I suppose, why CLEP tests were mentioned (as an alternative). You can read more here:

In other words: a high school diploma may not be enough to get you into a German university.
Wait does anyone know anything about these CLEP tests??? I read the other forum that a few recommended, and it mentions CLEP tests so that I can skip addition high school in Germany (even once I have my U.S. high school diploma) ahh so confused haha.
Unless your prospective university specifically tells us that they will accept CLEP exams in lieu of AP exams, do not assume that they will. If you opt for the associate's degree route instead of taking the passel of AP exams you need (a US associate's degree is considered equivalent to Abitur), then CLEP (and perhaps DSST exams) are they way to do that quickly and easily.
Join the military, get stationed in germany, and then learn the language. After your service, your choices are numerous. I earned a Masters degree and paid NO tution and received an monthly stipend. I have enough tution credits left in Illinois I can go to law school free.
2 years ago, my son applied and was accepted into a German University program --BS in Electrical Engineering with a GED and a SAT. According to the DAAD, since he was eligible to attend college in his 'home' country, he could also qualify for the German International student programs, of which there are thousands listed on the DAAD website, including some taught entirely in English. His program was initially entirely in English with an intensive German course to prepare him for the German proficiency exam. The curriculum then switches to German in the following years. There was no German proficiency required to be accepted into the program. He showed up for International Student orientation the beginning of September and classes started in October.

Years ago, the German system required 2 years of US college for admission but that is different today with the Bachelor's degree programs. These programs are typically 3 years long, some offer an internship as well. The tuition is 500-700 Euros/semester plus some student fees but often requiring no expensive textbooks.

The German system has changed significantly as they have moved to international standardization. You have to look at the new programs. It is actually possible to study American Studies in English in Germany although I don't really see the point!
Does anyone know exactly how strict they are with judging if for example a US high school diploma with a 3.8 GPA and an SAT score of 1290 is enough to be equivalent to an abitur? I know the minimum for the SAT is 1300, but does my high GPA make up for the missing 10 points?
Doubt it. You'd probably have to go through the Studienkolleg.
However, it'll probably be faster and cheaper to just take the SATs again.
I'm studying German at a good English university at the moment- if I wanted to do a degree at a German university after I graduate, would they still want to test my German? Not that I'd be worried (after a 4 year course with a year spent in Germany I kinda hope my German is going to be near fluent), it would just save me time and hassle. Also I'm guessing they won't care much about my school grades, seeing as I'll have a degree?
Probably, but don't take my word on it. Contacts the schools themselves and ask. When I applied for Masters programs in Germany I had to show proof of my German, even though I already had a Masters in German and had experience teaching the language at a university in the US. All of the schools that I applied to required that I provide results from TestDAF or the DSH exam to prove my fluency. Luckily I had already taken the DSH exam during my time abroad and received a high enough score on it to prove relative fluency. Thank god I didn't have to take it again.
They will normally want proof of your proficiency by way of either the TestDAF or DSH. I know some people with a four-year BA in German who are at B2/C1, and others who would have difficulty with the Zertifikat Deutsch; I think it's a good thing to make these sort of things standardized.

Also, if you're planning on doing an MA in German Lit or the like, keep in mind that some universities want you to score a 5 in reading and writing on the TestDAF (not sure about the DSH) for entry to those programs. Check with your program first so you know what you're aiming for.

Furthermore, they will check your school grades, though I'm sure most emphasis is placed on the university ones. This can come in handy for foreign languages you then may not have to provide proof of at a later date. I'm not sure if it would make a difference if you failed/did poorly in a class or two in high school.
what are the prospects for someone who is fluent yet has terrible GPA 2.5 and an ok act of 22?
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