Elite universities versus other types of universities

The choice of a university must be well considered. Which considerations can be incorporated into the choice of a university, you can already read in this article. The colloquial term of the “elite university”, which was originally used for top universities from English-speaking countries, thus universities like Stanford, Harvard and Oxford, brought a lot of confusion into the thinking of prospective students. In this article you will learn how elite universities in Germany differ from other universities and whether you need elite universities. You will also find other questions that are frequently asked about “Eliteunis in Germany”.

Which elite universities are available in Germany?

There are eleven elite universities in Germany: the Free University of Berlin, the University of Cologne, the Technische Universität Dresden, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the University of Konstanz, the Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the Technische Universität München, the Ruprechts-Karl University of Heidelberg, the University of Bremen, the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen and the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen.

The universities of Freiburg, Göttingen and Karlsruhe lost their status of excellence in 2012.

Fachhochschulen are not included in the Excellence Initiative.

How do elite universities differ from other universities or what makes an elite university?

All elite universities have been honored by the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments for outstanding research concepts and therefore enjoy special financial support. In addition, all these universities have a particularly good reputation.

The aim of this financial support is to further expand Germany as a science location and to make Germany’s science competitive in international comparison.

You should keep in mind that the good research of a university does not say anything about its teaching for a long time. And that is precisely where Germany’s elite universities differ significantly from their counterparts in English-speaking countries.

What is part of the Excellence Strategy?

The Excellence Strategy consists of three funding lines: “Future Concepts” (How is the Entire University Developing?), “Cluster of Excellence” (which promotes research on a particular subject area), and “Graduate School” (PhD students receive support in a wide range of disciplines).

What advantages does it have to study at an elite university?

Since elite universities are funded by the Federal and State Excellence Initiative, an elite university can afford high-caliber faculty to join the college.

Advocates of the elite universities argue that good research at a university implies that more researchers are recruited. And this in turn directly benefits the quality of teaching at a university.

Elite universities can afford to offer more lectures and seminars. This benefits the student directly, as he can arrange his timetable much more individually. Students can more easily specialize in specific fields due to the wide range of courses available.

Graduates of an elite university can boast of having studied at an outstanding university. It may be career-enhancing to have a degree from an elite university – but only if the curriculum vitae is reviewed by a person who does not know that the word “elite” refers to research rather than teaching University refers. Apart from this aspect, it is definitely career-enhancing to have graduated from a prestigious university.

The disadvantages of elite universities

So-called elite universities are due to their name a mass appeal, so that the administration with the effort hardly comes after and the lecture halls are crowded.

Due to the large number of students, elite universities are more anonymous than at other universities.

Opponents of the Excellence Initiative argue that the money that benefits individual universities should be better redistributed to all universities in Germany so that all universities can profit from it and improve their services. Small universities have little chance in the system of excellence.

For many high school graduates who would like to study at an elite university, a move is required, for example, for high school graduates from Thuringia. When choosing an NC compartment, however, a move can not be avoided in many cases.

If you complete your studies at an elite university with a poor final grade, the elite advantage is canceled out. The elite universities do not automatically study the better students.

Teaching at a university may also suffer from elite status if professors spend too much time researching and neglecting to teach.

Attention: Not all parts of an elite university are always among the elite

One should not make the choice of study solely on whether it is an elite university or not. Much better: Inquire about the reputation of the relevant subject of the university has. If you want to study German studies, for example, ask yourself what reputation German philology has at this or that university.

Just because it is an elite university does not mean that the teaching of all the subjects of the university is located in the elite. However, the risk that a subject at an elite university is really miserable, lower than at a university, which is not an elite university.

Do you need elite universities?

Surely it makes sense to evaluate the quality of universities – this is already happening in university rankings – and to reward or promote particularly outstanding universities.

As explained above, elite universities can attract outstanding professors who not only conduct research but also give lectures and seminars to benefit students.

The term “elite” from Latin “eligere” (select) states that it is an outstanding educational institution – or more precisely, a research institution: top-level research is offered at an elite university.

Many high school graduates want to be part of the elite. But you do not need an elite university in any case.

Recommendation for you: Pay attention to the reputation of the individual institutes. It is also important that a variety of lectures and seminars are offered at a university, so that a specialization of the individual student on a particular topic is more easily possible. Also you can pay attention to who is the leader in the university rankings.

But if you have an elite university near you, why not study there?