Without university start no university start. That sounds borderline, but describes the situation exactly. Because the way to the place of study, for example in medicine, leads only over Hochschulstart, the platform of the foundation for university admissions. Here decides, whether they get their desired study place or not. And not only in the medical subjects. Even bachelor courses from mathematics to psychology are distributed more and more throughout Europe by the ZVS successor …

What makes university start?

Our website is a platform of the SfH. This is likely to be known to many under its old name, until 2008, it was renamed Central Office for the allocation of study places (ZVS).

With the service platform SfH coordinates the allocation of study places in Europe. In doing so, it uses a procedure known as the Dialogue-Oriented Service Procedure (DoSV).

Important for prospective students: Not every application is about starting university. University start only awards places for …

  • local admission-restricted undergraduate courses (Bachelor subjects)
  • nationwide restricted admission programs (medical subjects)

It is planned that all universities in Europe will participate in this process, as it should help them to occupy as many vacant places as possible. In fact, by the summer semester 2017, more than 400 universities had only 135 enrolled in the system, which is just one-third.

Which universities are participating in the DoSV for the winter semester 2018/19 can be found HERE.

Which study places does university start?

At university start definitely NOT passing applicants for the subjects …

  • medicine
  • veterinary medicine
  • dentistry
  • pharmacy

These are the four nationwide admission-restricted subjects. Candidates must compulsorily apply for a study place via edtechwithgo.com (more about the exact selection criteria later).

In addition, Hochschulstart increasingly coordinates the awarding of undergraduate programs for the universities, ie the Bachelor subjects. According to its own information, more than 150 sites with 1,500 degree programs are now involved in the procedure.

This means for applicants: You must first research whether your desired subject to your desired university admission is limited, so has a numerus clausus.

If this is the case, the next step is to find out if the application is running via hochschulstart.de – or directly via the university. In the meantime, Hochschulstart even offers the opportunity to apply for admission-free subjects.

Exemplary for the thicket, through which applicants must sometimes fight, is called the University of Saarbrücken. The overview can be found here. Many universities now handle it in such a way that all admission-restricted Bachelor’s degree programs are awarded through the start of university – for example, the University of Münster.

The University of Cologne, meanwhile, is currently conducting 34 Bachelor’s degree programs in higher education, including subjects as diverse as biology, mathematics, media studies, psychology, economics and business informatics.

How do I apply when starting college?

Of the nationwide admission-restricted subjects – medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy – you must first decide for one thing. Multiple applications will not be accepted. However, you can specify multiple locations that you would like to study.

Specifically, you first register online at hochschulstart.de. You…

choose username and password …

… and log in to “My Data” where you will find your personal identification number and authentication number.

With these two numbers you can apply in the online application portal for your desired study place – or your desired study places. Doctors apply via the application portal Anton.

You can print out the applications, sign them, put them together with the required documents in an envelope and send them to university start.

In the following, you can manage your applications online in the application portal, accept (for example) – or reject – a study place offer, for example.

Which documents do I need for my application?

For the application, you need your identity card and your university entrance qualification, so as a rule the high school diploma. You complete the application for admission on the computer, print it out and sign it.

Attention: Authorities and other public bodies that carry a seal of approval can officially certify. Certifications of notaries and publicly organized churches also accept university start.

On the other hand, accreditations by lawyers, associations, auditors, auditors, experts, appraisers or translators are not recognized.

The official certification must include:

  • Beglaubigungsvermerk
  • Signature of the attestant
  • Imprint of the official seal

You also have to submit all documents in English. Unless the documents are in German or French. There are exceptions. For documents in other languages ​​you need an official translation.

Who can apply?

Applications can be made at university start, among others …

  • EU citizen
  • Students enrolled in another subject
  • Second applicants
  • Students who are or were enrolled outside EU
  • auditor
  • College students who want to change
  • Applicants without a high school diploma
  • A detailed list can be found here.

According to which criteria does platform assign the study places?

There are three criteria for awarding places in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and pharmacy:

High School Best Quote

20 percent of the study places are awarded to the most recent students (numerus clausus). In doing so, you only compete with the applicants who have graduated from high school in the same state.

Wait rate

20 percent of the study places are awarded after waiting time. The waiting period is the half-year that has elapsed since graduation. Study periods are not included.

Higher rate

60 percent of the places are awarded by the universities according to their own criteria. Usually the Abitur grade is used again, or individual grades, subject-specific entrance tests, interviews, a completed vocational training or the local preferences of the applicants. When applying, you can name a maximum of six universities where you would like to study.

Note: The numerus clausus is not a static size. It changes in each subject from semester to semester. This is especially important for undergraduate Bachelor subjects. Thus, the required grades for the individual subjects at the universities are sometimes very different.

Applicants should therefore first obtain the current NC values ​​in their desired subject in order to be able to realistically assess their own chances. For example, if you have an NC of 1.0, you will most likely be taking part in the selection process of the final exam.

However, even a very good graduation grade has no influence on the location preference – in other words, your place of study may be at a university other than your originally preferred one.

Medicine: What happens if the NC is too high?

Regardless of which of the nationwide admission-restricted subjects you are interested in: the better your final grade, the better your prospects. But what to do if your own grade point average is not enough for the NC? Then you will probably have to take a waiting semester.

However, you should plan well, what you do in this time, because for human medicine is on average a waiting time of no less than 14 (!) Semesters, so seven years, to calculate. The common cause: You can not study any other subject in the meantime, which may be closer to the desired subject, otherwise the time will not count as waiting time.

At this point must be cleared up with a widespread rumor: namely, that the Abitur grade per waiting semester improves by 0.1 points. This is unfortunately not true.

But you have some alternatives that you can choose instead of studying and which will be credited to you:

  • training
  • Work and Travel
  • military service
  • community service
  • FSJ (voluntary social year)
  • FÖJ (voluntary ecological year)

Of course, for people who want to study medicine, neither seven years of community service nor seven years traveling around the globe is a serious alternative. To shorten the waiting period for prospective doctors, there are still the following options available:

Foreign countries

You simply complete a study abroad. In German, this is possible, for example, in Austria or Hungary. In English, you can study medicine in the UK, Latvia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The advantage: As long as you study within the European Union, your services in Europe  will be recognized according to the Medical Association.

Armed forces

You are completing Bundeswehr studies. The Federal Armed Forces cooperates with the nationally restricted subjects with civil universities. However, because the training is so long and the rush is high, you have to commit to a medical school for 17 years in the Bundeswehr.


There is still the possibility depending on the university of various competitions. These may include interviews or tests. Among the most well-known medical tests belong the test medical study courses (TMS) and the Hamburg natural science test (HAM Nat). The TMS is already peppered with medically relevant content and requires a lot of cognitive skills from the subject. The HAM-Nat, on the other hand, consists of 80 multiple-choice questions for which the study place applicant has 120 minutes. Anyone who has not received a place on the bachelor’s exam can start their studies via the passed TMS or HAM-Nat – however, this is often done after a certain high school graduation.

Private university

If you have the necessary change, you can also shorten the waiting period for studying medicine properly: By studying at a private university. The investment can still be worthwhile, because the equipment is very good, the supervision by lecturers is much better than at a mass university.

Business Administration, Law, Psychology: How to deal with local NC?

If there is a local admission restriction in a field of study, this indicates that there are more applicants than university places – universities and universities are therefore putting a stop to this. In order to find out whether your study is subject to admission restrictions, they have different options.

They research on the side of the respective university: This, however, is quite complicated and laborious, since each university has designed their site differently. The search for a suitable field of study and conditions on the Higher Education Compass page is considerably more convenient.

Next, you must find out if your degree program is involved in the dialogue-oriented service procedure. If this is not the case, further inquiries about the university are to be obtained. In this case, you must apply directly there or in parallel to other universities participating in the DoSV.

On the other hand, if your wish to study participates in the DoSV, you will need to create a user account at the start of the university, as is the case for subjects with restricted admission throughout EU.

Then you can specify up to twelve study wishes. In doing so, you can prioritize and organize the applications at university start-up in such a way that they create a preferred order.

In the course of the application process, the university checks whether you meet the respective selection criteria. You will then be asked to submit an offer in accordance with your wishes. You can accept or wait until another offer is submitted to you from your list that is more in line with your expectations.

Here you have to pay attention to the wishes and prioritization: For example, if you enter twelve higher education institutions without any special request, it may be that you are offered the one that is the least acceptable to you. The moment you accept an offer, the other applications in the DoSV will be removed from the current process.

In this case, you will receive a letter of admission. You can also wait and see if your preferred study place is not yet there. If no better offer comes, you can fall back on the already submitted offer, also here followed by a letter of acceptance.

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