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Studienkolleg — What's that?

The Studienkolleg offers academic bridging courses to prepare university applicants for doing a degree programme at a German university. If you have earned a school leaving certificate which entitles you to go to university in your home country, which is, however, not recognised as a higher education entrance qualification (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, HZB) in Germany, you must attend a Studienkolleg before you commence your studies. This is required since the school system, the teaching contents, or the duration of school attendance may be so different from those in Germany that preparatory studies at a Studienkolleg are mandatory in order to be able to study successfully.
Details of the teaching contents and the formal provisions may differ from Studienkolleg to Studienkolleg, or in the individual federal states. The Internet portals of the respective Studienkolleg you will attend offer more detailed information on classes, entrance and final examinations (Feststellungsprüfung (FSP, assessment test)).
Basically, however, the conceptions of instruction, comparable requirements, and common goals held at the Studienkollegs are identical. At any rate, after having passed the Feststellungsprüfung, you qualify to study at any university in Germany. The competence profile of the Studienkollegs provides university applicants, lecturers, qualified experts in education, or the interested general public with information about guidelines and the conception of education and teaching at the Studienkolleg:

Competence profile of the Studienkollegs

1.1 Self-conception of the Studienkollegs within the scope of competence orientation

The Studienkollegs are an institution for international university applicants. In addition to conveying sound specialised knowledge, the classes promote the acquisition of general and specialist competences and language proficiency fundamental for successfully completing a degree programme. These competences are tailored to the requirements of university studies in Germany in order to guarantee a sustainable studying ability.

a) General competences for a degree programme

The students broaden their social and inter-cultural competences by interacting in an internationally orientated teaching and learning environment. They mutually respect each other's different religious, political, and cultural ideas, regardless of their origins, ethnic group, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any handicap, in line with the spirit of the liberal democratic constitutional order.
They develop confidence in dealing with the teaching and learning culture at German higher education institutions and in particular acquire key qualifications such as team spirit, time management, self-organised and independent learning and working.

b) Language proficiency for a degree programme

Classes at the Studienkollegs promote the acquisition of general, technical and scientific language proficiency up to level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference.
The students broaden their communicative competences by actively participating in all subjects and joint learning and working in learner-centred classes; they improve their ability to articulate themselves in writing by making use of subject-specific opportunities to write. Consolidating linguistic structures and building up an adequate technical vocabulary are the basis for further academic language acquisition:

  • Reading — The students understand and examine scientific and science-oriented texts.
  • Listening — The students understand and process orally presented information both in general language and in scientific language contexts such as lectures, presentations, specialist discussions, debates.
  • Writing — The students master the basics of scientific writing. They prepare logically structured and coherent texts and are able to present and discuss complex issues.
  • Speaking — The students communicate confidently in typical academic contexts such as discussions, papers, presentations.

c) Subject competences

The students master the contents and methods relevant for the successful commencement of a degree programme. They obtain an overview of topics relevant for their fields of specialisation and acquire a deeper understanding of individual subject-specific issues and questions by means of examples. They have a fundamental repertoire of common scientific working methods and apply them confidently, such as analysing and interpreting facts, statistics, and texts, as well as experimenting.
In solving problems independently, they master different ranges of requirements:

  1. Confident and function-related management of knowledge, e. g. in order to classify and structure contents, organise them into a hierarchy, set priorities, and distinguish what is important from what is unimportant (operative verbs such as name, describe, outline...)
  2. Application of knowledge and skills, e. g. in order to work on and solve problems based on predetermined patterns, materials, or the evaluation of experiments (operative verbs such as calculate, analyse, explain, ...)
  3. Transfer to new problems and reflection of applied methods and gained knowledge, e. g. in order to draw well-founded conclusions and form opinions (operative verbs such as prove, interpret, comment, ...)

1.2 Instruction at Studienkollegs

The language of instruction in all subjects at the Studienkolleg is German. For successfully taking a degree programme, it is required that the international students master the relevant language of science and education. Instruction at the Studienkolleg purposefully promotes the acquisition of these competences required for commencing studies. Therefore, subject teaching is always foreign language teaching at the same time. In addition to subject competence and subject didactics, the willingness and responsibility of the teachers in all subjects to deal with questions of foreign and technical language teaching methods and to promote the oral and written use of the language in a language-sensitive manner is a prerequisite for successful subject teaching.

Competence orientation at the Studienkolleg

Instruction at the Studienkolleg promotes the acquisition of competences. The focus is on specialised and interdisciplinary competences, such as the application of acquired knowledge and the ability to solve subject-specific problems independently on the basis of suitable methods in variable contexts.
Accordingly, instruction takes principles of competence orientation into account, such as problem solving and sustainability, reference to the everyday world and vividness, learning by means of examples and independence, action and product orientation, as well as reflection of the learning process.
Competences and contents go hand in hand. Therefore, the Studienkolleg imparts a foundation of substantial knowledge of the subject, and moreover a selection of relevant contents, as a basis for the acquisition of competences. Competences are acquired mainly by working on and solving problems. The focus of interest is therefore an operator verb-assisted task culture with learning tasks, exercises, and examination questions. All performance standards are taken into account in student performance assessments and in the Feststellungsprüfung.
The Feststellungsprüfung is geared to the competence profiles of the Studienkollegs (Level 1), the competence profiles of the respective subjects (Level 2), and the internal syllabi of the Studienkollegs (Level 3); its requirements are based on the level of the higher education entrance qualification in Germany.


1.3 Teachers and students as actors in the competence-oriented teaching and learning process

Teachers at the Studienkolleg

Together with the students, the teachers at the Studienkolleg actively shape a multi- and inter-cultural learning and working environment. They have a high level of inter-cultural competence and the willingness to develop it further in dealing with students and in further education courses.
As subject lecturers, they also have a distinct expertise and pedagogical authority in adult education at university. They impart, guide and promote the independent acquisition of competence in all subjects. In their methodology and didactics, the teachers take the special requirements into account that occur at the interface between the educational background of the students and university. In view of the marked heterogeneity of the students' cultural backgrounds and the respective educational traditions of their countries of origin, the teachers have a special responsibility with regard to providing individual support to the learners by differentiating their teaching.
The transmission of knowledge by instruction and enabling independent construction are therefore equally important foundations of teaching at the Studienkolleg.

Students at the Studienkolleg

The international students at the Studienkolleg are open to all kinds of experiences and challenges involved with studying in Germany. They develop or enhance their inter-cultural competence, i. e. for instance the ability and the willingness to act in an open and constructive manner in a multi-cultural learning environment. They learn together and from each other, while they are ready to tolerate or possibly put up with things that are strange and contradicting.
The students who are suited to their study objectives decisively control their learning success by commitment, hard work, and an appropriate attitude to work. Accordingly, they take responsibility for the growth of their competence and acquisition of knowledge. Therefore, they regularly and actively participate in class and independently prepare for and follow up on courses and lectures, for instance by doing homework. They develop personal, social, and communicative competences such as self-organisation, team spirit, or presentation of results. During classes, the students are not only passive recipients, but based on the acquired competences and knowledge, they create products and are actively involved in shaping instruction and life at the Studienkolleg.

Comment on the project plan

The competence profile in the present Leipzig version dated 06/05/2019 so far only contains Level 1 as a basis for a comprehensive ongoing project of several years. On the one hand, it is a basis for instruction at the Studienkollegs from now on. On the other hand, it forms a reliable basis for successive development of the competence profiles of various subjects (Level 2) and the internal syllabi of the Studienkollegs (Level 3). According to the current state of planning, Level 2 will be prepared in mid-2020; Level 3 will follow.

(Übersetzung / Translation: Bettina Zander)


Leipzig, 06.05.2019

 

The Consortium of the German Studienkollegs