I'm planning to apply for a Master's program in Germany, but the final grade I received in high school was awful (67%) due to the grief I experienced after the death of my parents. Although my grade in high school was sub-par, my GPA was excellent for my bachelor's degree.

Are low high school grades a problem if I want to get admitted into a graduate school in Germany? They (the university) and the embassy ask for it in the acceptance requirements.

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    Are you sure they ask for High School grades, and not just for your High School diploma? I have never seen a graduate program asking for high school grades, but they might ask for the diploma (not to look at grades in particular)
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 6:28
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    Are these percentages even directly translatable to a particular German mark? I am not from Germany, but if I just saw the number I would not know whether it is awful or not, I am not used to look at percentage marks. Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 11:45
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    there is an agency that deals with just that: kmk.org/zab/central-office-for-foreign-education/…
    – Sursula
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 13:31
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    Just a terminological remark: I'm not sure whether it gives the right impression to describe a Master's program at a German university as "graduate school". (In particular, since for the majority of students a Master's program in Germany probably doesn't feel much different from a Bachelor's program in Germany, apart from some of the courses being a bit more advanced.) Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


In general, university admission in Germany is pretty bureaucratic. You have to fulfill general requirements, and if you meet them, you get into the program. The requirements for a master's degree are a bachelor's degree in the same / closely related field and proof of a high school diploma (in Germany, Abitur). For foreigners, proof of language proficiency is often required as well. Letters to the admission office explaining why your grades are not as good as they could have been will probably not be read and will certainly not matter.

For a reason stated above (general requirements), the university asks for a high school diploma---not necessarily because of the grades but to see that you finished high school. Many master's programs will admit (almost) anybody that fulfills the abovementioned requirements, as applicants do not overrun them. Others are more competitive, but the deciding factor will then either be the grade of the Bachelor's degree or a combination of BA grade and high school grade.

Ask the uni(s) you want to apply to about admission requirements; with a good BA, you will probably quickly fulfill them.


I would say that your bachelor's GPA will count significantly much more toward the application process to graduate school (compared to your high school GPA).

If someone asks why your high school GPA was low, you can simply give them the straightforward answer as you wrote above. They will understand.

Some graduate schools may ask for your high school GPA just for the record. What matters the most is your bachelor's GPA.

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    "you can simply give them the straightforward answer as you wrote above. They will understand." Not sure if this will hold true in Germany. If there is a rule about your high school grade, and you do not meet the requirements, reasons probably won't matter. Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 9:21

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