Best Universities and Colleges in Germany 2019: Rankings vs. Student Reviews

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 cultural hub and it is home to 63 internationally ranked universities.

If you want to study abroad at one of the best universities or colleges in Germany, but haven’t chosen one yet, we’ve selected some based on international university rankings and student reviews to make your decision easier.

But what are the differences between international rankings and student reviews?

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What are international rankings?

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.

What are student reviews?

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 ranked universities in Germany

Top German universities according to international rankings

Here’s how the top five German universities fare in international tops:

Best German universities according to student reviews

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:

  • Hochschule Bremen - International Graduate Center - 4.6/5 stars. “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.”
  • RWTH Aachen University - 4.3/5 stars. “Even though it is a really big university, there is a good relationship between student and professor.”
  • University of Mannheim - 4.3/5 stars. “Open-minded professors, international students, teamwork. Prepares for life.”
  • University of Oldenburg – 4.3/5 stars. “People were very nice and the university was very helpful with all our needs as exchange students. You learn to live on your own in a different country and to interact with people from around the world and, also, learn new languages.”
  • Ruhr University of Bochum – 4.2/5 stars. “Large variety of courses to choose, most courses small (good exchange with teachers). Good experience!”

How’s your life going to be while studying in Germany

Surely … surely you’ve heard that Germans are keen on punctuality. 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.

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And let’s not forget that you’ll have a lot to do and see when you’re not in class: museums, parks, travel 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 everyday 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.

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