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Meet – a Typical German Student!

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Who is he/she – a typical German student? How does he/she study, where does he/she earn money, and how much money does he/she spend? The results of the new study helped to make up the portrait.

Special signs: 24 years old, born in a family with a high level of education, full-time student, fond of engineering or economics, not married, but no longer free. So in Germany, a student sitting next to you can look like this. The German Society for the Promotion of University Students (Deutsches Studentenwerk) published the results of the next study, which is held every three years. In the survey, more than 15 thousand students from 227 German universities took part.

In the Mirror of Statistics

So, the first conclusion: over the past three years, a typical German student has become slightly younger. An average age is 24 years old. Researchers regard that the reasons for "rejuvenation" lies in the cancellation of conscription, as well as the fact that every third person decides to enter the university right after school, having received a certificate of maturity. The Bologna reform, which reduced the duration of training programs, also contributed to it a lot.

Curiously, the ratio of men and women is about the same. As for the marital status, a little more than half of them have not yet settled down to married life, but have already found a life partner. 43% are unmarried, 6% have already tied the knot. 5% of respondents (their average age is 31 years old) who receive their first higher education have at least one child.

Almost every fourth student is a foreigner or immigrant from a family of migrants. About a half of them is young people, whose mother or father was born outside Germany, but has German citizenship.

The survey revealed a correlation between the level of education and social background. At the parents that did not graduate from the university, only 23% of children entered the university. Among the graduates of schools, at least one of the parents of which received a higher education, this number is approximately higher at three times. This, of course, gives an occasion to the discussion about chances equality and a common access to education.

The Most Popular Specialties

Group of Business People at Work

The majority of students receive the first higher education on the classical full-time programs. The preference is given to a dual education, that is a combination of theoretical education with the practice on enterprises, above all, in high schools (Fachhochschule).

Three quarters of all respondents are bachelors or masters. And every eighth bachelor continues to do his/her master’s degree. As for the most popular specialties, sociologists have revealed an increasing interest in engineering. A year ago, they were chosen by 22% of students (mostly by men), while in the previous survey, their number was 18%. Jurisprudence and economics are also in demand (21% of students), mathematics and science (20%), linguistics and cultural studies (19%).

Researchers also noted a gradual decrease in the number of those who decided to change their chosen specialty or completely stop education. This tendency is explained by the reduction in the duration of education, as well as the emergence of programs providing psychological assistance to students.

Academic Mobility

30% of students spend at least a semester abroad, preferring the practice exchange programs. Most students travel to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Switzerland, and Spain.

The number of those who want to study at a foreign university, as noted in the report, increases, but so far it has not reached the target of 50%. One of the obstacles is the lack of money, as well as the fear of studying too long. A semester abroad as an obligatory part of the program in German universities is still uncommon, and basically, this is an academic internship. Higher schools make this demand more often than universities.

Work Schedule

Female Students Looking at Schedule

Approximately, it takes 18 hours a week to attend classes, 17 hours – to self-preparation and writing research projects. In general, the student has on an hour more of free time. The initiators of the study see here the interdependence with the often expressed discontent about the Bologna process: they say, bachelors have to cope with the enormous workload. As a result, some universities have revised the organization of education programs.

About 60% of students work simultaneously with their study – approximately, 13 hours per week. Most choose a part-time side job not related to the specialty studied: a waiter, an auxiliary worker, etc. A little less than a third work at the university – in the secretariat or as a professor’s assistant.

Among the reasons why students decide to earn money is the desire to have available cash, accumulate practical skills, or get into contact with businesspersons. But still, most people are looking for a part-time job to cover the costs for living and studying. And the student has really a lot of expenses!

Student Purse

On average, the monthly budget of a typical German student is about 860 euros. Slightly more than half of this amount is allocated from the parent wallet. 87% of the respondents are supported by parents. But the older the student, the more he/she relies only on his/her own sources.

The biggest item of expenses (a third of the amount) is rent. The room in the dormitory is cheaper (around 240 euros per month). The most expensive – a separate apartment (about 360 euros a month). By the way, the survey showed that 37%of students rent a separate apartment or divide it with a partner. The runner-up is public utilities, and only then – dormitories. However, as emphasized in the report, this is not because of living conditions in dormitories, rather the lack of places in them.

Approximately, 70 euros are spent for additional insurance, doctor's visit and medicines, 30% for training aids, and as much for telephone calls and internet. Nutrition costs 165 euros per month. A little over 80 euros are allotted for transport costs (own car or public transport). And approximately 70 euro is allocated for leisure and entertainment.

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