Foreign students do not have to send in their applications via the Hochschulstart platform. Instead, if your dream program is managed by Hochschulstart, you have to investigate further how foreign students are supposed to apply. One case may be that the university does not cooperate with uni-assist and thus requires you to simply apply to the university directly without using any of the application platforms.
The following paragraphs consider the other case, which is that a university offers a program that is administered by Hochschulstart and instructs international students to send in their application using uni-assist.
Sounds complicated at first, since three players (Hochschulstart, the university, and uni-assist) will be involved. But we promise it is not as difficult as it sounds. If you want to read more about this topic after finishing this article, you can also check out the information on this topic provided by uni-assist.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with uni-assist: Create an account and start your applications
uni-assist is a national service provider based in Berlin which is used by approx. 170 universities (June 2020) to help them process international student applications. They are there to facilitate the application process and ensure that all students have the required documents, even though they come from different countries and certificates and grading systems vary. To learn more about uni-assist please continue reading here.
As soon as you find out that a program you want to apply to cooperates with uni-assist, you can start creating your account on the uni-assist platform. Start filling out the basic information about yourself, familiarize yourself with the documents you will be required to hand in and select the courses you want to apply to.
Step 2: Create an account on Hochschulstart
Next, you have to create an account on the hochschulstart.de platform. To do so, follow the link to the registration area. After filling out some basic information and setting your user name and password, you will receive your application confirmation via email. It is important that you activate your account within the first 72 hours.
When creating your account, please keep the following in mind:
- You can only create one account with Hochschulstart. If you create various accounts, all of them and your pending applications will be deleted.
- It is essential to take note of your identification data, i.e. your applicant ID (BID) as well as your applicant authentication number (BAN). You can find your BID in the registration confirmation email and both numbers in your user account under MyData -> Personal Data.
Your BID and BAN are how you can connect your Hochschulstart account with your uni-assist application. When you apply via uni-assist to a program that is managed by Hochschulstart, uni-assist will ask you to give this identification data in the course of the application process. So make sure to keep this data handy when filling out your uni-assist application. The fact that uni-assist informs you that you have to enter your Hochschulstart data also makes it impossible to miss whether a program works with both portals or not.
Step 3: Finalize your application in uni-assist
Next, you will have to finalize your application on the uni-assist platform. Note that uni-assist does not inform you about the exact documents that you have to hand in for a program. Therefore, you will have to closely and carefully read about all the required documents on the respective program websites.
To finalize an application via uni-assist, you also have to make a payment. Your first application with uni-assist costs 75 €. Every additional application costs 30 €. With few pandemic-related exceptions, you can expect to also have to mail your application documents to uni-assist.
When it comes to the timeline for this part of the application it is recommendable that you finish your application to uni-assist as early as possible. All programs administered by Hochschulstart follow the same application deadlines:
- Summer Semester: December 1st - January 15th
- Winter Semester: April 15th - July 15th*
* For the winter semester 2020/21, the application period was adapted because of the Covid-19 pandemic from July 1st, 2020 - August 20th, 2020. Similar changes may be made for the winter semester 2021/2022.
When applying via uni-assist, the general rule is that you should hand in your application 8 weeks before the end of the official application deadlines. That means:
- Send your applications right at the beginning of the application period (first week of December) for the summer semester.
- Send your applications by May 15th for the winter semester.
You can hand in up to twelve applications in the DoSV procedure via Hochschulstart. A special case may be that a university you are interested in only allows applicants to hand in a limited amount of applications for a semester so that you can apply to up to twelve programs via the DoSV, but only to one program at a specific university. In addition to the twelve applications administered by Hochschulstart, you can send applications to programs that do not cooperate with Hochschulstart.
Step 4: Prioritize your applications in Hochschulstart
After you handed in your applications via uni-assist, uni-assist will let you know whether your applications were complete or if documents were missing that you have to resubmit. Note that this may take 4-6 weeks. From that point on, you will mostly be dealing with the Hochschulstart platform.
One thing you will have to do in Hochschulstart is to indicate your preferences and priorities. You need to communicate to Hochschulstart which of the programs you applied to that are managed by Hochschulstart you are most interested in.
To do so, please go to the My Applications area in your user account and view all your submitted applications. Here, your applications will initially appear in the order in which you have submitted them. To change that order, you will find arrows beside your application that you can use to order your applications according to your preferences: Your first preference should go in the first position. After you are done with the sorting process, remember to click “save”.
You get the opportunity to organize your applications starting after the end of the application period:
- For the summer semester, you can prioritize your applications from January 16th - 22nd.
- For the winter semester, you can prioritize your applications from July 16th - 22nd (watch out for changes due to the pandemic!).
Throughout this period, you may already receive your first offers from universities and you have the opportunity to rearrange your priorities as often as you want while taking into account all offers that were made to you thus far.
After this time period, you still have the chance to change your priorities. BUT, starting on the 23rd of January for applications in the summer semester and on the 23rd of July for applications in the winter semester, only the highest-ranked offer will be available to you. All lower-ranked priorities that you receive an offer for will be excluded from your application portfolio. Therefore, we recommend really spend some time thinking about your priorities and wishes regarding your applications.
One thing to keep in mind is that a university is NOT more likely to admit you if you put them as your first priority. The priorities you set for the individual programs do NOT affect your chances of getting admitted. Therefore, you can prioritize your applications exclusively according to your own preferences.
Step 5: Observe your pending applications throughout the coordination phase
The coordination phase lasts from:
- January 23 until February 24 for the summer semester.
- July 23 until roughly one month later for the winter semester. Please watch out for changes made due to the pandemic and exact dates.
That means it begins precisely when your prioritization of applications starts to really matter. Throughout this time period, you will receive all possible offers that you can. In the end, however, you will only get the opportunity to accept the highest ranked offer, since all other offers will be excluded.
Let’s illustrate that a bit for you: The following table gives you an overview of a scenario in which you handed in four applications and on how your prioritization influences your options.
|Application||Application status||Your possibilities to act|
|First priority.||Pending.||You can wait until the end of the coordination period. If you get an offer to this highest priority program, all other offers will be excluded.|
|Second priority||Offer.||You have the chance to accept this offer until you potentially receive an offer from the first priority. If you accept this offer throughout the coordination phase, you will not be considered for other pending applications.|
|Third priority.||Offer (excluded).||You have the information that you received an offer to this program, but cannot accept it, since it is not the highest priority that you received an offer for.|
|Fourth priority.||Pending.||You have not heard back from this program yet. Even if you get an offer, the application will be excluded since you have a higher prioritized offer already. You still have the chance to move this program up to a higher priority.|
Universities use the coordination phase to rank the applications they receive. So for any of the programs you applied to, you will be ranked on a list with other applicants. Often, applicants are ranked according to their GPA. Other factors can include extracurricular experiences or work experiences. To find out the exact ranking and admission criteria, you should read about it on the program websites directly.
These ranked lists of applicants are then forwarded to Hochschulstart, and Hochschulstart communicates to the applicants if they can get an offer or not. If a study program has 50 study spots available, only the top 50 ranked applicants will receive an offer. All other applicants will receive the information that no offer is possible at the time. Throughout the coordination phase, this information can change, since not all top 50 ranked applicants will accept the offer, for example, because they have an offer from a higher-ranked priority in their application portfolio. Therefore, it is worth closely observing your applications throughout the coordination phase.
For many applicants, the application process ends here, because they will receive and accept an offer to one of the programs they applied to.
Step 5b: Coordinated moving-up phase
For applicants who did not receive an offer throughout the coordination phase, the coordinated moving-up phase provides another opportunity. If this is the case for you:
You will be sent an email and you will have the chance to register to take part in the coordinated moving-up phase up to 72 hours after the end of the coordination phase.
In this phase, Hochschulstart goes back to the ranked lists of the universities for those programs that still have empty study spots. They go through this list to see if you fall into the admissible area for any of the programs you had applied to. While on the side of Hochschulstart, this process seems a bit complicated and rather technical, it is pretty easy on the applicant’s side: If you are ranked high enough on any of the remaining programs’ lists, you will automatically receive admission to that program. You will find this information in your Hochschulstart user account.
- The coordinated moving-up phase lasts from February 25th until March 31st for the summer semester.
- The time period for the winter semester has not been announced yet.
Step 6: Enroll at your university in Germany
Once you get your offer and accept it through the DoSV procedure, your application process with the platform Hochschulstart ends. Now you know where you will study in Germany and can inform yourself on how to enroll at a German university, finalize your visa application and plan your travels to Germany. Congratulations!