In admission-restricted degree programmes, places are allocated according to grades and waiting time. Numerus clausus (NC) is a synonym for "restricted admission". This means that not all applicants applying for a university place can obtain a place if there are more applicants than places.
If there are more applicants than available university places, the admission to study must be restricted. A grade (which applicants often wrongly assume to be the NC) is not determined in advance. It is, rather, the grade of the last selected applicant in the first round of admissions. As a rule, there are several rounds of admission, because some applicants do not accept the allocated place. The presumed NC therefore does not say anything about what the grade was after the end of the admission rounds and does not allow any conclusions to be drawn with respect to future grades. In the process, a ranking list of grade/waiting time is worked through, top down.
If there are still places available after the admission procedure, there will be a decision by lot or an allocation via the Studienplatzbörse/ "freie Studienplätze" (University Place Exchange/"available university places").
The places are allocated according to the grade at 80% and to the waiting time at 20%.
The legal foundation for the admission procedure is the "Regulations on the Allocation of University Places in North Rhine Westphalia (Vergabeverordnung NRW).
An overview of the grade values for recent years can be found here.
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