Choosing a Course of Study - How Do I Go About It?
This overview serves as a general study orientation. This means that the following advice and tips will help you choose a course of study, regardless of which university you eventually choose.
Nowadays, a career decision does not have to be a decision for a lifetime. But a well thought-out decision will always make the way forward easier.
There are three important steps to orientation:
- Clarify interests
- Gather information
- Try things out
It is recommended not to focus exclusively on career prospects, as these are in a constant state of flux. The main thing should be to identify personal interests, abilities and talents and to include these in the choice of a profession or a course of study. What is helpful in this?
Reflect and Exchange:
It is often not easy to correctly judge one's personal abilities and talents. That's why it makes sense to first talk to friends, teachers or parents.
Online Tests and Offers for Study Preparation:
There are many online tests that can help you make a decision as well as some offers that assist with self-assessment and preparation.
- Orientation Test:
- Study Interest Test (short test):
- Orientation Tool of the Federal Employment Agency:
- Knowledge Tests and Tutorials in Mathematics as well as Language and Text Comprehension:
- Tests and Exercises in Preparation for Studying Mathematics:
- Accomplish the course "Higher Mathematics 1" even before you start your studies:
- Materials, Experiments and Tasks in Preparation for Physics and Chemistry in Higher Education:
- Many universities have also developed Online Self Assessments (OSA) for their degree programmes:
> OSA of FH Aachen for the Faculties of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics: OSA for Orientation and Self-Reflection
Student Counselling Services of the Universities:
Attention: An online test can only make recommendations! The result is a first step towards narrowing down skills, interests and knowledge. The student counselling services of the state universities are always an impartial point of contact when it comes to orientation.
Federal Employment Agency:
Study field related counselling tests (SFBT, Studienfeldbezogene Beratungstests) are offered by the Vocational Psychology Service of the Federal Employment Agency (Berufspsychologischer Service der Bundesagentur für Arbeit). Further information is available at the Vocational Information Centre:
… digitally and on site!
Have you already decided on your field of study or degree programme? If so, the next step is to gather information:
- about the occupational profile
- about universities and their degree programmes
- about deadlines and study requirements
… digitally about the occupational profile:
- Here, you can find comprehensive information on occupational fields, fields of activity and fields of study:
- Handbook "Study & Career Choice" ("Studien- & Berufswahl") from the Federal Employment Agency:
The book summarises the most important features of each field of study and briefly discusses subsequent career options.
The handbook is available at the Vocational Information Centre (BIZ, Berufsinformationszentrum) and an abridged version is available as a digital platform: www.studienwahl.de
… digitally about universities and their degree programmes:
- What can I study and where?
Here, you can filter the innumerable study offers very easily according to certain characteristics: www.hochschulkompass.de/studium/suche/erweiterte-suche.html
Researching via the Higher Education Compass (Hochschulkompass) also protects you from questionable search results!
- The most important tool for comparing degree programmes with each other is the sequence of study plan (Studienverlaufsplan)! These show which subjects are included in a degree programme. Every university has them, even if they are not always easy to find.
On the FH Aachen website, they can be found under "Course Contents" for the respective degree programme.
… digitally about deadlines and study requirements:
Important dates, deadlines and study requirements may vary from one university to another. They are available on the websites of the respective university.
At FH Aachen, this information can be found under "Application" for the respective degree programme.
… digitally and on site – Information Days, Lectures, Workshops, Question and Answer sessions etc.:
Information days, lectures, Q&A sessions etc. at universities provide an excellent opportunity to clarify all questions directly with the contact persons on site.
- All information offers at FH Aachen can be found here.
The various universities and their student counselling services often offer lectures, workshops, etc. on the range of courses offered, or on the topic of choosing a course of study.
These are the offers of the General Academic Counselling at FH Aachen:
- Lectures Offered
- Workshop: Steps Towards a Good Choice of Studies
- Study Orientation During the Holidays - FH Aachen and RWTH Aachen University
- Online Group Counselling: Ein Fall für Zwei Studienberatungen - FH meets RWTH
… on site – Fairs:
You will find many universities at study choice fairs, making it possible to get an overview, but, at the same time, to clarify any specific questions you may have.
- FH Aachen is present at these fairs: Dates University Fairs
… digitally and on site at the Student Counselling Services of the universities:
Information and counselling is provided by student counselling services with regard to the process of deciding to study at a university. There is also assistance available with regard to starting a course of study as well as counselling with regard to difficulties that may arise during the course of study.
… on site at the Federal Employment Agency in the Career Information Centre (“Berufsinformationszentrum, BIZ”):
The BIZ provides information on education, jobs and the labour market: BIZ: BIZ
At this point, all the information and ideas gathered so far must be put to a reality check. How do I do this?
This kind of practical training can provide a first impression of whether the occupational field is actually a good fit.
Pre-study Practical Training:
Some degree programmes require pre-study practical training. In other words, it may be compulsory to complete a practical training prior to the start of your studies.
At FH Aachen, information on the regulations for practical training can be found under "Application" for the respective degree programme.
It is useful to look for a practical training place in a training company. The corresponding training companies are registered here:
In order to get a first-hand idea of whether the decision to study is a good one, many universities offer lectures (V) and exercises (Ü) of the degree programmes that may be attended during the lecture period .
- The "Lectures for Prospective Students" at FH Aachen will soon be available here.
Practical and Try-Out Offers:
All universities offer opportunities, in one form or another, to take a closer look at the degree programmes and faculties. The offers can have very different names.
- All trial offers at FH Aachen can be found here.
Orientation Study Programmes:
Some universities offer the possibility to attend orientation study programmes.
- FH Aachen and RWTH Aachen University cooperate on this for degree programmes in Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering.
Within the framework of the state-wide programme „Kein Abschluss ohne Anschluss“ (KAoA), a database was developed in cooperation with the 32 state universities in North Rhine-Westphalia, which teachers, parents and pupils can use to find suitable offers for study orientation across all universities.
The intuitive search function is supplemented by a variety of general information on the subject of studying, a university ABC and an FAQ section.
In addition to the counselling and study orientation offers of the various universities as well as the contact details of the respective student counselling services, the site also introduces the universities in the form of a short profile.
The advantages of this database are:
- all public universities keep their offers up to date and provide the latest information on a regular basis
- the offers are already associated with the KAoA standard elements