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Foundation Year - FAQs

Program Portfolio

What does the Foundation Year at Jacobs University offer?

You can find our program portfolio here.

How long does the Foundation Year lasts?

The Foundation Year is a one-year program lasting 2 semesters. It starts in late August and ends at the beginning of June.

How many Foundation Year intakes are there?

Jacobs University only offers one Foundation Year intake, in Fall. Students are expected on campus the last week of August and classes start the first week of September.

When do semesters start and end?

Fall semester starts in September and ends in December. Spring semester starts in February and ends in May.
Prior to the start of classes, there is an Orientation Week during the last week of August. This event is mandatory for all incoming new students.
For detailed dates, please see Jacobs University’s academic calendar.

In which language is the Foundation Year taught?

The Foundation Year and all its courses are entirely taught in English.

Program Features

What kind of classes compose the program?

The Foundation Year curriculum is organized in types of courses:
Preparatory courses: such as English, Mathematics and Statistics, SAT training, Personal Development, etc. Those classes aim at enhancing and sharpening your academic and interpersonal skills in preparation for an undergraduate degree. Placement tests are done at the beginning of the Fall Semester to determine students’ level and whether one should take part in these classes.

Orientation courses: those are regular undergraduate classes you choose to attend and other particular Foundation Year’s classes. They allow you to experience different undergraduate modules and what the relative learning outcomes require. Those classes aim at ensuring that you can make a deliberate, focused decision about what major to pursue at the end of the year.

How does a curriculum schedule look like?

Foundation Year students attend preparatory courses and orientation courses during the two semesters of the program.
In the Fall Semester, mandatory Foundation Year classes represent about 16h/week while in the Spring Semester, they are 12h/week. This leaves you enough time to engage in orientation courses through their study week in order to experience different undergraduate modules.

What does teaching and learning look like at Jacobs University?

Students usually learn through lectures, seminars, lab courses, tutorials, workshops, and excursions. Professors and lecturers provide individualized assistance, as each student is assigned a faculty member to act as their personal academic advisor for the duration of their studies.

Do you offer different English classes?

Yes, we offer different English classes: Academic English for Scientists and Engineers, Advanced Academic English, as well as Reading, Writing and Thinking at University.
During their first week at the university, students’ English skills are assessed through placement tests. If you are a native English speaker, you will most likely be exempted from these courses.

Can I do a SAT test during the Foundation Year?

Yes, preparing for and taking the SAT test is possible during the Foundation Year. We offer special training courses and the test will take place on campus. Test training and the test itself is included in the program’s fee.

Do you also offer classes for personal development?

Yes, a personal development course is part of the Foundation Year mandatory classes. The program is designed specifically to assist you with the transition from school to university.
As such, it focuses on increasing the self-competence and social skills of the Foundation Year students in a community characterized by diversity. The program is developed and based on Foundation Year students specific needs to flourish within Jacobs University environment.
Topics covered in this course include: critical thinking, team conflicts and solutions, public speaking, effective decision making, presentation skills, non-verbal communication and body language, etc.
By attending this course, you will develop the following competencies: self-awareness, self-management, relationships’ skills, social awareness, responsible decision making and critical thinking.

Will I learn German during Foundation Year?

Yes, you can take any age course you wish during the Foundation Year. Learning German is not mandatory but you can definitely fit it in your schedule.

Support, Advise and Counseling

Will I get specific support, advise and/or counselling services during the program?

You benefit of the following support system during their Foundation Year:

  • Foundation Year Team: The Foundation Year Officers, the Faculty Coordinator and the Students Counselors are always here to help with any kind of question.
  • Academic Advisor Each student is assigned an Academic Advisor to guide them with everything related to curriculum and courses.
  • Buddy System: Before your arrival you will be getting a “buddy”, a senior undergraduate student, who you can have contact with before your arrival.
  • Tutorials: extra tutorials to support students in learning are offered for certain classes, i.e. Mathematics.
  • Service Offices: Benefit from our university offices such as Student Records, CampusLife or Student Service Office to get assistance on many different topics.
  • Resident Mentors and Resident Associates: available 24/7, they are in charge of life in our campus colleges and are strongly committed to ensure the health and interpersonal, academic, and social well-being of our students’ community.
  • Students: Last but not least, all our students are very open-minded and helpful. We believe in our community and you can ask for help any time.

Accomodation and Campus Life

Does Jacobs University offer accommodation on campus?

Yes, all our Foundation Year students live on campus for the duration of the program. This is part of what makes studying at Jacobs unique: giving you an immersive educational experience.

Do I have to live on campus?

Yes, living on campus is compulsory for all Foundation Year students. This is part of what makes studying at Jacobs unique: giving you an immersive educational experience.
Nine months’ room and board, including a full meal plan, is provided for a subsidized fee of 8.000€.
You will live in one of our four residential colleges, each of it has its own dining room, recreational lounge, study areas, and common and group meeting rooms. In addition, you will have cooking facilities, your own private bedroom, and a bathroom which you share with one other student of the same gender.
For more information, please visit this page.

How much is the fee for room and board?

The fee for room and board is €8,000 for the duration of the program. This includes a single bedroom, a shared bathroom for two students, standard Internet and utility costs, plus three meals a day.

What does campus accommodation consist of?

Jacobs University offers accommodation in four residential colleges on campus. Each college has its own dining room, recreational lounge, study areas, and common and group meeting rooms. For more information, please visit this page.
In addition, you will have cooking facilities, your own private bedroom, and a bathroom which you share with one other student of the same gender.
Each single room is equipped with a bed including a mattress, blanket and pillow, a desk and a chair, a wardrobe and a cupboard.

Is the campus safe?

Yes, Jacobs University’s campus is safe. We have a 24/7 security team on campus (porters) and Resident Mentors in the colleges. There is also always a Resident Associate on duty at night.

What does Jacobs University offer students during leisure time?

Jacobs University not only offers an excellent academic education but also many opportunities for students outside the classroom. The various student-driven social and cultural activities encompass events throughout the year. Student clubs range from arts to sports and community groups.
For more information please visit this page.

What student welfare support is available to students?

Jacobs takes student welfare very seriously. Each college has its own Resident Mentor whom students can approach with welfare concerns. The Resident Mentors are professionals who live on campus and are strongly committed to ensure the health and interpersonal, academic, and social well-being of our undergraduate community.
Other services we offer students include psychological counseling, cross-cultural and life coaching, mediation, support groups, workshops, awareness campaigns and much more. All are free and confidential.

Application Process

How can I apply for the Foundation Year?

You can only apply to the Foundation Year program at Jacobs University through our Online Application Platform.
To begin your application, please take a moment to read through our Foundation Year application information's webpage and create an application account.

Where can I find (more) information about the application process?

Information on the application process can be found here.
In case you have some specific questions, please contact the Foundation Year team at foundationyear@jacobs-university.de

Is there a separate application process for international and German applicants?

No, the application process is the same for all students. However, there may be different application deadlines depending on an applicant’s visa requirements. For more information on the application process, please visit this page.

Is there an application fee?

No, Jacobs University does not charge any application fee.

In which language should my application and its documents be written?

Your application and all its attached documents must be in English or German. If it is not the case, you should provide an official translation to English or German.

When is the application deadline?

We have rolling admissions for the Foundation Year program.
You can apply until June 15th if you need a student visa. If you do not need a visa, the application deadline is August 20th.

I will graduate from high school after the application deadline has passed. Can I apply regardless?

Yes, you can apply before receiving your high school certificate/diploma. We will evaluate your application based on all the grades available to date (usually the last 2 – 3 years of high school). If you are made an offer of admission, this will be conditional on your achieving final grades which reflect those shown on the transcripts you submit to us as part of your application.

How will my application be assessed?

Our admissions team and Faculty apply a holistic approach when reviewing applications.
We do not have grade or score minimums (except for the English language proficiency exams), but the higher the grade or score, the better one's chances of admission. Every accepted student at is expected to have performed very well academically and on all university entrance exams before matriculating at Jacobs University.
However, grade reports are only one part of the application. We definitely look at students' test scores, recommendation letter, essays and extra-curricular activities before making a final decision on any application file.

When will I be informed about the outcome of my application?

You will be informed about our decision within three weeks after the submission of your complete application.

Application Requirements

What are the application requirements?

For a complete application to the program, we need:

  • The Online Application Form: which includes an essay of motivation that needs to be entered directly into the form.
  • Your High School Transcripts: Please upload a scanned copy of your high school diploma and your high school transcripts from the last 2-3 years in the online application system. All academic records must be translated into English or German with a seal affixed by the translator stating that the translation is a true copy of the academic record.
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency, minimum scores of:
    65 on the TOEFL iBT or,
    5.5 on the IELTS (UK) or,
    90 on the Duolingo English Test or,
    46 on the Pearson PTE Academic or the Cambridge Certificate (FCE)
    If English is your native language or if you had English as a language of instruction for a minimum of 6 years, the test requirements might be waived.
  • A Letter of Recommendation: Please collect a personal recommendation from a teacher, faculty member, or from a school official. Recommendation letters should be written or translated to English or German. The letters of recommendation can be uploaded in the online application system by the recommender or may be sent via e-mail by the recommender to the foundationyear@jacobs-university.de.

Please, consult this page for more information about application to the program and its requirements.

How do I know if I am eligible for the Foundation Year?

If you obtained a high school diploma or local equivalent and possess English language skills equivalent to the B1 level of the European Framework you may apply to the Foundation Year Program.
Please note that we cannot accept O-Levels, IGCSE or AS-Levels as an entrance qualification.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact foundationyear@jacobs-university.de.

I am eligible for the program if I only have O-Levels or IGCSE?

We cannot accept O-Levels, IGCSE or AS-Levels as entrance qualifications.
All Foundation Year applicants must own a high school diploma or local equivalent prior to the start of the program. This certificate or diploma, if obtained in another country, must be recognized as a higher education entrance qualification in Germany.

Can I still apply if I do not have my high school certificate yet?

Yes, you can apply before receiving your high school certificate/diploma. We will evaluate your application based on all the grades available to date (usually the last 2 – 3 years of high school). If you are made an offer of admission, this will be conditional on your achieving final grades which reflect those shown on the transcripts you submit to us as part of your application.

What if in my home country we are evaluated by leaving exams rather than term report cards, quarterly, or yearly evaluations for all classes? May I simply submit the leaving exam grade like my A-levels, Abitur or International Baccalaureate?

We understand that while secondary schools in some countries provide regular evaluations and that university acceptance is often partially dependent upon the accumulation of satisfactory grades (like in the United States), other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany or France focus on school leaving examinations for university admission.
The more information you can provide us with regard to your grades, the better your chances of obtaining an offer of admission to our university.
In the case of application files coming from countries (or educational systems) requiring leaving exams, we will continue to follow the American admission approach - evaluating grade reports, intermediate exams and predicted grades.
The decision by our admission committee is regarded as conditional, reliant upon the final leaving exam report that is submitted to our office preceding matriculation. Naturally, if there is a large discrepancy between your last 2 -3 years’ worth of grades, and your final exam/school leaving grades, Jacobs University will have to reconsider your case for matriculation.
If you are concerned about your test results after you have already indicated your intent to join Jacobs University, and would like to avoid any disappointments upon matriculation, then we suggest that you contact the admissions office as soon as you receive your final results.

Do I need to take SAT or ACT for admission to Jacobs University´s Foundation Year program?

No, the College Board's Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the ACT Assessment test are not required to apply to the Foundation Year program.
Indeed, SAT preparation and test are part of the Foundation Year’s curriculum.

A comprehensive course that provides you a unique opportunity to prepare for the SAT Reading and Language Test is offered during the Foundation Year program. Over the span of the course, you will have the opportunity to build your skills and improve your scores through practice tests.

Do you have minimum grades requirements?

We do not have grade or score minimums (except for the English language proficiency exams), but the higher the grade or score, the better one's chances of admission.
Every accepted student at Jacobs University is expected to have performed very well academically and on all university entrance exams before matriculating at Jacobs University.
However, grade reports are only one part of the application. We definitely look at students' test scores, recommendation letters, essays and extra-curricular activities before making a final decision on any application file.

What should the letter of motivation include?

Your letter of motivation should explain us why you choose to apply to the Foundation Year program at Jacobs University and what aspects of the program most interest you. We are also interested in knowing more about your background knowledge, your research and study interests, and your future career plans.
You should thereby demonstrate why you are a suitable candidate for the Foundation Year Program and why attending Foundation Year is the right choice for you, your studies and/or career paths.

Can I send supplementary information?

Yes, certainly. Applicants can send in a summary of their work in PDF form via email (this ranges from photos of art work, award certificates and other relevant information). If you are sending us several additional documents, please be so kind to also summarize your distinctions in a list form. Please also be aware that supplementary documents should not be larger than 2.500 KB. Feel free to contact our Foundation Year team if you have any questions.

School Transcripts

What is a School or University Transcript?

A transcript is an official list of the courses (or classes) you have taken and the grades you have earned in those courses during your academic career.

What if my school records are in a language other than German or English?

All academic records must be translated into English or German with a seal affixed by the translator stating that the translation is a true copy of the (original) academic record.

How many years of grade reports must I submit?

We require grade reports from your last two to three years of high school. We are aware of the grading systems for many countries, and evaluate accordingly.
In the case of applicants coming from the German school system, we understand that the final Abitur grade report is only given around June of the year in which you may plan to enter university. While we request that all students arriving at Jacobs University for Fall Semester must provide proof of their final secondary school transcript before matriculating, students will still have to send us a record of their academic achievements (transcripts).
Our admissions committee will consider all the grades that we receive and if a student is accepted, then we will issue a conditional offer of admission which is contingent on receiving a final school leaving exam grade or certificate. If the final grades differ drastically from the grade reports compiled from the preceding two to three years, then we may have to reconsider the ultimate matriculation of the student. All incoming students must provide certified documents of their final school leaving exams or certificates.

Should I provide any additional information about my school or university, like a school profile?

An updated copy of a high school profile is always appreciated by the admission committee, and this is often provided by the guidance counselor or school official. Any information we can obtain to learn more about the academic preparation offered at your school is always helpful, especially considering the global range of schools for which our admission team is responsible.

Standardized Testing (SAT/ACT)

Do I need to take a standardized test for admission to Jacobs University´s Foundation Year program?

No, the College Board's Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the ACT Assessment test are not required to apply to the Foundation Year program.
If you obtained a high school diploma or local equivalent and possess English language skills equivalent to the B1 level of the European Framework you may apply to the Foundation Year Program.

Can I prepare and take the test when I get to Jacobs University?

Yes, SAT preparation and test are offered during your Foundation Year at Jacobs University.

This Foundation Year’s curriculum offers a comprehensive course that provides you a unique opportunity to prepare for the SAT Reading and Language Test. You will build your reading, writing and critical thinking skills through both theoretical sessions and practical exercises. You will also master content and learn strategies and tactics to tackle specific questions in each section.

Over the span of the course, you will have the opportunity to build your skills and improve your scores through practice tests.

Language Requirements

Do I need to speak German to attend the Foundation Year program?

No, you do not need to speak German to study in the Foundation Year program at Jacobs University. The Foundation Year and all its courses are entirely taught in English.

Who must submit an English proficiency test score?

The following policy generally applies; all applicants who:

  • are native English speakers OR
  • have been instructed exclusively in English for a minimum of 6 years OR
  • have scored 580 or higher on the SAT Critical Reading section (for SATs taken before March 2016) OR
  • have scored 600 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (for SATs taken after March 2016) OR
  • have scored 25 or higher on the ACT Writing section

may qualify for an English-language proficiency test waiver.
If you meet any of the above conditions, please contact the office of admissions via admission@jacobs-university.de or +49-421-200-4200 to check whether you qualify for a waiver.
Applicants that do not meet the above conditions will need to provide English proficiency test scores.

Do I have to take an English proficiency exam if I can prove that I am a native English speaker?

No. If you have grown up in an environment in which you use standard English as your primary language, and where English is considered a national language, then you will be exempt from additional testing. We nevertheless always pay attention to English grades and score reports and should we have reason to question your language skills, you may be requested to provide additional proof of your ability to carry out university-level academic work in English.

If I have taken the SAT or ACT, do I still need to take an English language test?

You can be exempted from an English language test only if you scored 580 or higher on the Critical Reading section (for SATs taken before March 2016), or 600 or higher on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (for SATs taken after March 2016).

What document should I submit in order to prove my language proficiency?

Please submit an official document issued by TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo English Test, Cambridge or Pearson PTE Academic.

What is Jacobs University´s TOEFL code?

TOEFL scores can be sent directly to the institutions the student has specifically designated. Jacobs University’s code number is 9024.

The Recommendation Letter

Who can write me a letter of recommendation?

Recommendations should be provided from either professors, or others who are able to comment on your professional and educational goals and potential (no friends or relatives please). Please note that we only accept recommendation letters from high school counsellors, school officials and school teachers.
In some high schools, high school counselors (also known as guidance counsellors, university advisors, career counselors) help students research their college/university options.
If you are attending a high school that does not have a guidance counselor, as is often the case in countries like Germany, then you should ask a school teacher or school official (principal, headmaster) to write a recommendation for you.

What if I have been out of school and my teachers or school officials are not able to write a recommendation letter for me?

All applicants must include a recommendation letter from an official educational institution. If the period of time that you have been away from school has been so substantial that such recommendations are not possible, then we suggest that you consider taking some additional classes at a local university or college where you can be properly evaluated by a professor/faculty member. This will improve your chances of being admitted to our university.

In which language should my recommendations be written?

We accept recommendations written in English or German only. If a recommendation letter is in another language, it will need to be officially translated.

What does it mean for a document to be certified?

When a document is certified it means that a school or organization official has approved it. Certification often comes in the form of a fresh seal or stamp and/or signature. The contact information of the certifier must also be included in the document. We do not accept photocopies of certified documents! Stamps and signatures must be original. Additionally, certified documents must be sent directly from the school or organization.

How long should my recommendation be?

An average letter of recommendation ranges between half a page to a full page. A three to four sentence recommendation is too short, as this letter is an assessment of the applicant’s academic and personal strengths.

How many recommendations can I submit?

Officially, we need only one recommendation letter. However, you are also welcome to submit more recommendation letters in support of your application.

Should recommendations be completed online or offline?

Your recommender has three options to submit a letter of recommendation:

  • Electronically through our online application system
  • Via email
  • On paper via snail mail

We prefer all recommendations to be completed online via our Online Application Platform, where you will need to add your recommender’s contact details and email address. Once the recommendation provider information is saved, an email will be sent to the online recommendation provider with instructions on how to proceed with the online recommendation.
Recommenders who wish to submit their letter via email should email it directly to foundationyear@jacobs-university.de
Recommenders who wish to send their letter of reference directly to us via snail mail should use the following address:

Jacobs University Bremen
Office of Admission - Foundation Year Program
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Germany
Whether they will be submitting electronically, via email or on paper, you must input the names and contact information of your provider(s) on the Online Application Platform by using the 'Recommendation Provider List' button.

Tuition and Other Fees

Is there an application fee?

There is no application fee. You can apply directly and free using our online application form.

Why do I have to pay an enrolment deposit of 500€?

The enrolment deposit secures your spot in the Foundation Year program at Jacobs University.

Is the enrolment deposit refundable?

The enrolment deposit is not refundable should you choose not to attend the Foundation Year program.

How much is the fee for the Foundation Year at Jacobs University?

Tuition for the Foundation Year program, is currently set at 20 000€.
Besides the tuition fee, Foundation Year students also pay 8 000€ for full room and board for the duration of the program. This includes a single bedroom, a shared bathroom for two students, standard Internet and utility costs, plus three meals a day.
Additional benefits, such as a semester ticket for local transportation, SAT test preparation and registration and our advising and counselling services are also included in the fees.

Are scholarships and financial aids available for Foundation Year students at Jacobs University?

No, we do not offer any scholarship or financial aid for the Foundation Year.
However, students would be eligible to apply for financial support for their undergraduate studies once they have successfully completed the Foundation Year.
More information about the financing options for undergraduate students at Jacobs University can be found here and also on this page.

Is there a separate fee structure for German applicants?

No, Jacobs University charges flat fees for all students regardless of origin.

What other costs should I consider when applying to the program?

Other living expenses in Germany usually include: health insurance, residence permit registration (100 Euro), Giro-Konto, Mobile phone costs.
Students will be informed about all these costs during Orientation Week (last week of August).

Invoices and Deadlines

When is the payment deadline?

In general, the fee for the Foundation Year is due in advance and by the 1st of August. Should you receive your invoice after this payment deadline, the invoice is due immediately/upon receipt.

How do I make a payment?

Please take a look here.

I need a yearly invoice in order to receive the Financial Support Letter for my visa appointment. What do I do?

Please send us an e-mail to sfs@jacobs-university.de and let us know that you require a yearly invoice. By default, we send invoices for one semester only. Therefore, yearly invoices have to be requested.

Visa Process

Do I require a visa to begin my studies at Jacobs University?

In order to find out whether you require a visa, please see our Visa Information System.

How do I obtain a visa?

After being admitted and having secured your place in the Foundation Year by transferring the enrolment deposit and sending back the enrolment acceptance form, you should check our Visa Information System about the visa application process in your home country.
If you require a visa, your admission documents will contain a confirmation letter (Zulassungsbescheid) that can be used to apply for a visa at the German embassy in your country of residence.

Do I need a blocked account?

The German Embassy may require you to provide a proof of funding. In this case, you have three possibilities:

  • To pay in full the program fees and receive a letter from us to serve as proof of sufficient funding. Please send the proof of payment to sfs@jacobs-university.de and allow 10 working days for the letter to be issued. 10 working days after the transfer (and once we have verified the payment) a Letter of Financial Support will be generated onto your VIP Page, under "Documents". The letter explains that all fees are paid and all study and living expenses are covered by the university. This is our preferred option. It will save you the fees for the blocked account and two international transfers.
  • To open a blocked account. Jacobs University cooperates with X-patrio (https://www.jacobs.x-patrio.com) to offer easy and online package of free travel insurance for the visa application, a TK public health insurance and blocked account at a competitive price. The blocked account with X-patrio takes only 3-5 days to open, setting the account is free of charge and the process is completely digital. Alternative providers of blocked accounts are Deutsche Bank (4-6 weeks) or Fintiba (https://www.fintiba.com, 3-5 days).
  • To have a person (family member, relative), who resides in Germany do a formal obligation for you (Verpflichtungserklärung).

Please note that the decision regarding which documents are accepted as a proof of sufficient funding always rests with the embassy.
If you have more questions on this topic, please contact Student Financial Services at sfs@jacobs-university.de

Do I need German health insurance?

Yes, you have to have a public German health insurance. You can get this via our partner insurance Techniker Krankenkasse or AOK. For more information, please follow this link.

How long does it take to obtain a visa?

If you have prepared all required documents, the process can take from 10 to 12 weeks, depending on availability of appointments in each embassy.