Master your dream studies through good preparation

- and thus prepare yourself optimally for the interview with us

The first step towards a university degree is good preparation for the studies. It is important to know your own abilities and strengths, to consciously choose your degree programme and university, and to identify possible hurdles early on.

By keeping yourself well informed and planning your study finances in advance, you minimise the risk of having to abandon your studies. This is important for you and for us. Therefore, good preparation for your studies increases your chances of receiving funding from us. This page is designed to help you find your way through the wealth of information about studying available on the internet.


You can find more information about our application process and how you can best prepare for it here:

Step by step to graduation

Click on the icons to learn more!


What is the ISA supposed to help you with?

What is the ISA supposed to help you with?


Avoid to drop out of university!


Finding the perfect degree programme

Finding the perfect degree programme


Which study programme suits me?



Successfully completing your studies

Successfully completing your studies

How can I successfully find my way through my studies?


Overcoming hurdles in studies

Overcoming hurdles in studies


What can get in the way of my academic success?

Which degree programme suits me?

Click on the icon to get more information.

Use competency tests to determine your interests and skills or research at

Click through the website of the Higher Education Compass or

Use the module manual, study and examination regulations to find out what to expect during your studies! You can usually find these directly on the website of your university linked to your degree programme.

Learn more about your motivation and eliminate potential dropout reasons early on.

Moreover, inform yourself about how to finance your living expenses.

Find out about your career prospects or take a career test.

Did you know...

...that the financial and personal situation are the main reasons for students to drop out?*.
Financial situation
Personal reasons
* categories were mentioned as considered and decisive reasons for dropping out, so that more than one category could be choosen.

According to the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science [2017], secure financing of studies is an essential prerequisite for successfully completing your university degree. If this is not the case, one is often forced to do a part-time job. This can result in the situation that one can no longer meet the requirements of the degree programme.

In addition, personal reasons such as illness or psychological problems can lead to a premature termination of studies. Feeling unwell at the place of study or experiencing discrimination is often decisive for dropping out. In addition, there is a high connection with reasons for dropping out such as “family reasons”, “financial bottlenecks” or “did not feel up to the pressure to perform”.


With the ISA, we try to support as many students as possible to finance their studies, so that the financial situation or socio-economic background is no longer an obstacle to the successful completion of studies.


In addition, we would like to support you from the beginning in recognising possible hurdles in your studies at an early stage. Thus, we want to prepare you for your studies in the best possible way! Maybe our financing guide can already help you!

Do you know...

...other common reasons for dropping out?*
Performance problems
Lack of motivation to study
Study conditions
* categories were mentioned as considered and decisive reasons for dropping out, so that more than one category could be choosen.

The study by the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science [2017] also shows that for 81% of the respondents, performance problems contributed to them having to drop out of their studies. For about one in three dropouts (approx. 30%), this was the decisive reason for ending their studies prematurely. This means that being overwhelmed by the learning content is by far the most frequent reason for dropping out. This usually manifests itself in the fact that one has definitively failed exams and is thus forced to drop out of the programme (13%).

In addition, many students report that a lack of motivation led to them dropping out. For 17% of all dropouts, it was even the decisive reason to end their studies.

Problematic study conditions are rarely cited as a decisive motive for dropping out. Nevertheless, it is an importat factor, since a total of 61% of all dropouts relate the termination of their studies to deficiencies in the study conditions. However, this aspect is less frequent at technical colleges than at universities (53% vs. 64%).


How can I prepare myself in the best possible way to ensure my study success?

Reason for drop-out: performance problems

Constantly getting bad grades or having to repeat exams is demotivating! Therefore, it is important that you know your own strengths and weaknesses in order to choose the study programme that suits you best.


To do this, you can find out in advance which subjects will be in the focuse of your future studies. This way, you can study the basics of your degree programme before you start and assess whether the topics match your skills. For example, you may be confronted with a lot of statistics during your studies. However, if you know that mathematics is a weakness of yours, you could repeat the basics from school in advance. If you have mastered these basics and feel that you have understood everything, it will be easier for you to start studying. In addition, you avoid the feeling that you are already behind with the learning material right at the beginning of your studies.

Reason for dropping out: lack of intrinsic motivation or subject identification

A degree paves the way for your future professional life. If you cannot identify with the content or if you absolutely cannot imagine working in the job one day, you might have difficulties following through with your studies. Intrinsic motivation (i.e. studying “for the fun of it”) is a driving force when it comes to successfully completing your studies.


In this context, it is also important to be able to engage with the academic-scientific orientation of studying at a university. Public universities have the goal of educating students to become researchers. For this reason, the practical application of content, as is the case in a later profession, is often shorter. The focus here is usually on theory, and you should be aware of this before you start studying. Nevertheless, you can of course try to gain an insight into the future professional field before graduation. For example, by doing internships and student jobs. Another option would be to study at a technical college, as it has a much more practical orientation.

Reason for dropping out: dissatisfaction with the university

Whether the organisation is chaotic at your university, there is bad canteen food or a lack of support from lecturers, in the long run it can get on your nerves if things don’t run smoothly at the university. You can counteract this by finding out about problematic areas in advance. Then you will be able to deal with them proactively right from the start.


In addition, you can find out about student satisfaction at your university with the help of the CHE ranking or you use online platforms such as Study Check. Moreover, you can serch for people who are already studying at your university or in your degree programme and let them tell you about their experiences. In addition, it is possible to regularly participate in evaluations of your university or getting involved in university politics in order to improve the circumstances at your university in the long term.

Reason for dropping out: Disappointed expectations of the degree programme

We all have a rough idea of what we learn in most degree programmes. But often these “everyday definitions” don’t necessarily match reality. To avoid being disappointed by the course content after a few semesters, it is important to inform yourself well about it beforehand! Since study programmes can also vary from university to university, it is best to obtain information directly from the institution at which you would like to study.

The module manual, the examination regulations or a sample timetable can be particularly helpful. You can usually find these on the website of your university under the relevant degree programme.


But what is a module manual?

A module manual is an overview of all the modules you have to take in your degree programme. For each module, it explains which lectures, seminars, tutorials or exercises can be attended in order to complete the module. In addition, you can find out from the manual what the content of the module is, how many credit points you get for it, what requirements you have to fulfil and much more.


What can I find in the examination regulations?

In the examination regulations you will find everything about the examination requirements and procedures within your degree programme. They are also created individually by your university for your degree programme. The examination regulations define for example the study objectives, the course of studies and the admission requirements.


How does the sample study schedule help me?

The sample study schedule helps you to estimate what a week in your degree programme will look like. It is usually an example for the first semester and you can get an overview of how many lectures, seminars or tutorials you will have to attend. However, it is important to know that you can often put together your own individual timetable by choosing different courses from the module manual. The sample study schedule is therefore only an example of what a week in your degree programme might look like.


And what about a study plan?

The study plan shows you an overview of all the modules you have to complete during your studies and indicates in which semester the modules are recommended. This way, you can see at a glance what to expect. You can find more detailed descriptions of the individual modules in the module manual.

No one in your family has studied yet?

That’s no problem at all! supports students from families without university experience. To this end, 6,000 volunteers in 80 local groups throughout Germany are committed to informing students about the possibility of studying. Moreover, they are supporting them on their way from entering university to successfully completing their studies and starting a career.

Learn more
  • Know your interests, strengths and weaknesses before you start your studies!
  • Search for a university that suits you and make a conscious decision to go to a technical college, university or do a vocational training after you leave school.
  • Inform yourself in advance about the curriculum of your degree programme with the help of the module manual or the examination regulations.
  • Find a course of study that you can identify with.
  • Look for a degree programme with a career field that interests you in the long term and in which you can safely imagine to work.
  • Plan early on how you want to finance your studies.


Tom Green

Student & Alumni Services