Small campus, big opportunity
Close exchange, special subjects: why many young people choose to study at a small university.
Getting out of your hometown and moving to a big city: after school, many prospective students are drawn to a large university – to the wide range on offer and also to big city life after the lecture. But many young people also choose a university in a small or medium-sized town.
"The offerings available in a big city are certainly tempting", says Cort-Denis Hachmeister, an expert in data analysis at the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE), which compiles rankings for German universities. "But some prospective students are looking for a manageable town in a beautiful landscape and with short distances."
Marc Sommer is one of them. He is 20-years-old and studies business informatics at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. The old hanseatic city has just over 77,000 inhabitants, the university just under 10,000 students.
Contact to the professors is close. "Lectures aren’t overcrowded and I can easily make appointments with my professors to talk about my studies or career opportunities", says Sommer, who is familiar with everyday life at a large university from a semester abroad in Zurich.
In terms of content, too, it is worth having a look at smaller university towns. They often offer unusual courses of study. Philosophy and Economics in Bayreuth, for example, or German-French Journalism in Freiburg. Smaller universities also carry on top research. For example, Constance and Tübingen are on the list of Universities of Excellence that receive special funding for outstanding research.
Cort-Denis Hachmeister of the CHE says: "You can have a great academic career at any university". Decisive, he notes, are the key areas of research and the professors.
Marc Sommer also likes that Lüneburg is only about 50 kilometres from Hamburg. A nearby big city is definitely a strong point – whether for internships or just for going out.
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