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Universities in France: From academic tradition to the multicultural future

PROS:

  • Education and research account for almost 6% of French public spending (World Bank, 2016), making university fees proportionate to family income, for both French and European students.

  • About 10% of students in France are international students (Informagiovani, 2020)

  • French cities are very dynamic and modern, but also steeped in history and culture

 

CONS:

  • Many courses are taught in French and require a language certificate for admission

How does the admissions process work?

1

Choose universities

 

Choose in time which universities you would like to apply to. With our help, you can choose the ones that best suit your priorities (degree course relevance, costs, city of location, extra-curricular opportunities, etc).

 

2

Register

To access the first year of a three-year degree course (Licence) at a French university, you will need to register on the Parcoursup.fr platform, between January and March of the year in which you want to start studying. Pre-registration on Parcoursup is compulsory for most study courses offered in France, for French and European students. Exceptions to this process are: the Paris-Dauphine University, Sciences Po and the IEP (Institutes of Political Studies), some schools of commerce, engineering, and art (Source: Campusfrance.org). If you do not have European citizenship and / or if you want to enroll in an architecture course, you will have to pre-register through DAP (Demande d'admission préalable) instead. The submission of the DAP registration expires on January 17th for courses strting in September of the same year.

3

Prepare the material and train for the interviews

Following the administrative pre-registration, each school or university requires several steps to finalize the application. These steps may include interviews, motivation letters, and specific exams. Many schools also require the presentation of a C1 level DELF certificate. Valdo Academics tutors will help you understand what to do and when, and prepare all the material required by your university.

Which are the best universities?

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Sorbonne Université

The Sorbonne owes its reputation to a unique combination of history and innovation. The Times Higher Education European Teaching Rankings ranked it 2nd in Europe, after Oxford and Cambridge, and 1st among continental European universities (THE, 2018). It enjoys excellent partnerships with other universities, a branch office in Abu Dhabi, and numerous campuses on the French territory.

Annual fee 2020-21 (EU / EEA students): € 170 registration fee for bachelor's degree (Source: Sorbonne)

Average cost of living for students in Paris: € 1200 - 1800 per month (Source: CampusFrance)

Sciences Po

A great école of excellence for the study of social sciences. Among its former students, it counts with 7 presidents and 13 French prime ministers, as well as dozens of foreign politicians and CEOs of prominent companies (Sciencespo.fr). In the most recent rankings, Sciences Po took second place worldwide for the disciplines of Political Science and International Studies (QS Rankings 2020). The Bachelor's degree study program is multidisciplinary and includes the option to specialize in a geographic area of ​​your choice at one of Sciences Po's 7 thematic campuses or via a Dual Degree with another partner university.

Annual fee 2020-21 (EU / EEA students): between € 0 - 10,700 based on family income

Average cost of living for students:

Sciences Po Paris € 1200 - 1800 per month Other campuses € 800 - 1200 per month (Sources: CampusFrance, Sciences Po)

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École Normale Supérieure (ENS)

ENS is an institution of excellence that also shines among the French grandes écoles. Unique in its kind for its structure compared to other universities in the country, the number of students does not exceed 2500, promising a great investment and attention. During its long history, it has formed as many as 14 Nobel Laureates and it is the university with the highest proportion of Nobel Prize winners and number of students in the world (Nature, 2016).

Annual fee 2020-21 (EU / EEA students): € 184 registration fee (Source: ENS)

Average cost of living for students:

ENS Paris € 1200-1800 per month

ENS Lyon € 700 - 1000 per month (Source: ENS Lyon)

École Polytechnique

One of the renowned grandes écoles of France, located in the south of Paris. In 2019, it was ranked 30th by the QS Graduate Employability Ranking (QS). Postgraduate employment rate of the École Polytechnique is among the highest in the world.  Engineering is its most famous and selective course, which after a competitive admission and a rigorous program, leads to the prestigious title of "diplôme d'ingénieur".

Annual fee 2020-21 (EU / EEA students): Bachelor's program: € 12,000 per year "Ingénieur polytechnicien" program:

€ 3,500 (first year), € 7,000 (second and third year

Average cost of living for students in Paris: € 1200 - 1800 per month (Source: CampusFrance)

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