Choosing a place to study often influences much more than just studying directly: it decides on the contacts and networks, on the way in which the contents are conveyed, and on the career prospects of the graduates.
The notorious American Ivy League institutes or “elite universities”, where sons and daughters from influential and financially well-off families prepare for their future roles in politics and business, currently have no direct equivalent in Germany – regardless It is disputed whether such is desirable or feasible due to legal obligations in the German education system.
Nonetheless, policies are trying to stimulate university competition among themselves through excellence initiatives, while journals or websites are trying to compare and rank universities’ achievements.
Is studying at a renowned university worthwhile?
No one can predict the behavior of individual hiring managers: where one can get a good degree from a regular university, another pays particular attention to the university’s prestige. For German students who are spared the extremely high tuition fees of American universities, the start of work does not have to start with a high level of debt, but can be approached more relaxed. Nevertheless, it may well be worthwhile to choose the more expensive degree program, as this tends to have a positive effect on the starting salary and the contact possibilities at the start of a career.
Find your own way
In particular, it makes sense to examine exactly what advantages and disadvantages the individual universities offer and whether these can be reconciled with personal preferences. On the other hand, not everyone is likely to feel comfortable in the environment of a highly competitive university and to cope with the pressure of performance that prevails there.