Are private universities better than public universities?

Study privately or publicly?

When considering a degree, it not only depends on what you want to study and where - but also whether the university is a state or a private institution. We explain the respective differences to you here so that you can make your decision as well as possible.

With most courses you have the choice whether you want to study at a private or a state university, but there are still courses that are either only offered at state universities (e.g. medicine or law) or only at private universities. But where exactly are the differences between the two forms?

Studied at state universities

The state universities always include the universities, so you can be sure that it is a state institution. There are also a number of state universities at universities of applied sciences, but you have to pay close attention to this.

What is a state university?

At state universities, there are usually no tuition fees (anymore), you only have to pay a semester fee, which can vary depending on the university. Basically, however, you can definitely expect 200 euros per semester. In most cases, a ticket for local transport is already included in this semester fee (the ticket is often even valid for the entire state), so that at least you don't have to pay any additional travel costs.

Scientific orientation

At universities and state universities of applied sciences, the focus is clearly on science and research and less on practical content. This has advantages, for example if you are planning a scientific career and want to do a doctorate anyway, because you are on the safe side at a university. However, if you are more practical and would like to apply the knowledge you have learned immediately, it does not look so good at state universities.

The range of courses at government institutions is very large and you have almost the freedom to choose when it comes to subject areas and courses. Another advantage of universities is that you have a lot of freedom in designing your curriculum, in which you can choose from various seminars and lectures. Due to the modularization of the study programs due to the change to Bachelor and Master degrees, this is no longer as flexible as it used to be, but in principle you often still have the choice within modules.

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What's not so good about state colleges?

At state universities, the courses are often very full, so it can happen that you don't get the seminar you want because all places are already taken or that you have to sit on the floor. This also makes the whole course very anonymous and you can quickly get lost in the crowd. In order to get noticed by lecturers, you have to be active, for example through active participation.

At state universities, the mills grind slowly. That means it can take some time for the latest technology to establish itself at universities. It is also possible that most of the university buildings are in need of renovation. So you shouldn't expect modern rooms at state institutions, but you have to say that universities usually have a few years under their belt.

Studied at a private university

Private universities often have a different range of courses than public institutions: the courses are often very specialized and therefore geared towards a certain profession or a certain industry. So if you already know at the beginning of your studies in which direction you would like to go professionally, you can search specifically for suitable courses at private universities and academies. State universities are usually a bit more generalistic and offer z. B. “only” a degree in business administration, while with private providers, for example, you can explicitly study business administration service management.

What is good with private providers?

The study groups at private universities are generally smaller than at public universities. Depending on the size of the provider, sometimes only 30 students are admitted per course. As a result, the lecturers know their students personally much faster and also have more time to deal with each one of them. The care is therefore much more individual and on a more personal level than is often the case at universities.

Private institutions are usually - also because of the tuition fees - on the cutting edge of technology and are based in relatively new buildings that are modernly furnished. The technology aspect in particular can create a completely new incentive for learning: With modern equipment, learning is often easier and more convenient.

The orientation towards private universities and academies is much more practice-oriented. The lecturers often come directly from the business world, so that they can pass on current trends and movements directly to their students. In addition, they can provide real practical examples and thus make the material much more attractive and understandable. But not only the lecturers, also the curriculum itself is clearly geared towards preparation for professional life through mandatory practical phases, case studies and practical projects that are carried out together with companies.

Thanks to the lecturers, some of whom are still active in business, and the various practical projects, you already have the opportunity to build up a network and make important contacts during your studies. This means that you already have a few contacts for applications after you have finished your studies. If you are already known in the company or if an employee recommends you, that is very valuable.

What speaks against a private university?

While public universities are financed by the state, private providers are dependent on the tuition fees of their students in order to cover the running costs for lecturers, materials and buildings. You shouldn't underestimate the tuition fees, because they are usually several thousand euros per semester. Overall, the course can quickly cost you 20,000 euros. Financing your studies takes on a completely different status, because the tuition fees also include the “normal” costs such as rent, food and leisure time. But: As a rule, the course is worth the money, because you get a lot on offer for it.

Pay attention to state recognition

Private universities must be officially recognized in order to be able to award academic bachelor's and master's degrees. You should pay attention to this. Because while (technical) universities are usually recognized by the state, at academies it can happen that you “only” get a certificate at the end of your studies. But: many providers who do not have state accreditation cooperate with state universities. This means that you complete part of your studies at the academy and part of your studies at the university and the university will award you with a bachelor's degree at the end.

And what's better now?

As with so many things, the same applies here: It cannot be said in such a general way. In fact, it depends on various factors and your preferences whether you should study publicly or privately: What about the financing? Which course is the right one for you? Are you possibly bound to a region? These questions are crucial when it comes to finding a college. For your later career, it usually doesn't make any difference whether you studied publicly or privately.