5 mistakes to avoid when looking for a Bachelor's degree in France

Livinfrance team
Published on
October 26, 2022
Last updated on
November 20, 2023

The journey to finding a bachelor's program in France can be challenging, especially for international students. To ensure the success of your student experience in France, you need to be aware of the various pitfalls that might come your way. In this article, we will review the most common mistakes that you need to avoid when looking for a bachelor's degree in France.

Mistake #1: Neglecting to research the French procedures for international students

One of the most critical mistakes that aspiring students make when looking for a bachelor's degree in France is neglecting to research the specific procedures and application requirements for international students. Indeed, walking through this process without knowing the relevant platforms to apply and deadlines will most likely head you straight into a wall. Here are different options you can consider for your bachelor's degree application in France.

Campus France: International student applications for French bachelor's programs

Campus France is a national agency that assists international students in finding suitable undergraduate, graduate, and PhD-level programs in France. It is particularly relevant as it is dedicated to international students, and offers a comprehensive application process and resources for foreigners coming to France. Campus France offers over 5000 undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees, taught in French and/or English, both from private and public institutions. Their bachelor's programs range from business to engineering, including social sciences, physics, biology, sports, tourism, communication, and more! Moreover, Campus France offers support, resources, and counselling for the various steps following acceptance into a French institution: visa application, pre-departure preparation, housing, and more.

If you want to apply for a bachelor's degree through Campus France, it is crucial to be aware of the deadlines. Indeed, most programs' application deadlines fall between January and March for the following year's intake.  

If you are now looking for a program starting in September, don't worry! Other networks allow you to submit your application up to a few weeks before the program's starting date, including our school application platform : 100+ programs from 13 renowned schools in France.

Parcoursup: Centralized admissions for French bachelor's degree

Another interesting platform, depending on your situation, is Parcoursup. It is a national platform that centralizes all applications and admission for post-secondary education (1st year only). However, this platform is not exclusively for international students, as most French students seeking admission into higher education use it (1st year only).

parcoursup logo
Parcoursup, centralized admissions for undergraduate programs

Now, when is Parcoursup relevant for international students?

You can use Parcoursup for your application for a bachelor's degree in France ONLY IF you are applying for the 1st year of the program. Moreover, you can onlye use Parcoursup if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are a European student ;
  • You are a non-European student and have obtained a French baccalaureate in a high school abroad (high school must be part of the AEFE - Agence Française pour l'Enseignement Français à l'étranger) ;
  • You are a non-European student and wish to enrol in one of the following institution: IUT, STS, CPGE (these are not covered by the Campus France procedure).

Just like Campus France, Parcoursup has strict deadlines, after which you will no longer be able to apply for any bachelor's program. Usually, applications are open from January to March.

Alternative application networks: Late applications for bachelor's programs in France

If you are past both Campus France and Parcoursup deadlines, do not worry: your project to study in France is not out of reach yet. Indeed, some alternative application networks exist, and allow you to submit applications up to a few weeks before the program's starting date.

Nb: If you are a non-European student, you must still consider some later steps, such as the visa application process, which usually takes around 2 months to complete.

Some of the most popular platforms include StudentGator, Join a School in France, and private school application networks. You must be aware that this kind of network offers mostly bachelor's degrees from private schools in France, meaning the tuition fees will be more expensive.

Great news! Our school application platform is still open for applications (bachelor's programs starting in September). Take a look at our 100+ programs in various fields (engineering, computer science, business, marketing, arts...) and make your study project a reality.

Mistake #2: Not checking the accredited schools for a Bachelor's degree in France

Another common mistake is disregarding the program's and/or school's accreditation when applying. This mistake may result in enrolling in a bachelor's program that is not recognized at a national and/or international level.

The undergraduate (or bachelor's) level in France covers several types of programs: licences, bachelors, DUT, BTS. For each of these degrees, your host institution should be accredited by the French government, allowing them to deliver a degree that is recognized both nationally and internationally.

Mistake #3: Overlooking the program's language requirements

Bachelor's programs in France are usually taught in French and/or English. Depending on the program's language, fluency in one or both of the languages can be required. If you apply without considering the language requirements, your application is very likely to be rejected.

english and french flags
English and/or French is often mandatory

When it comes to proving your fluency in French/English, there are several options:

  • French or English is your native language ;
  • For non-native English speakers: Provide a TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS or Cambridge certificate with a minimum level (eg: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1) that can vary depending on the school/program you are willing to apply for.
  • For non-native French speakers: Provide a DELF or FLE certification, with a minimum level that can vary depending on the school/program you are willing to apply for.

Mistake #4: Overlooking the academic requirements for a Bachelor's degree in France

Even at an undergraduate level, most schools have set academic requirements for their programs. These requirements are usually available on each bachelor's degree's webpage and can include:

  • A minimum academic average (for one or several subjects) ;
  • Proven interest in the bachelor's field of study (personal projects, hobbies, etc) ;
  • Other underlying criteria such as associative commitment, former experience, etc.

Being aware of these requirements will particularly help you when writing your cover letter, if required by the school.

Mistake #5: Ignoring the financial costs and available scholarships for Bachelor students

When you apply for a bachelor's program in France, it is very important that you check the expenses related. Here are the expenses you need to be aware of before submitting your application.

Tuition fees and file processing fees

Both public and private schools in France will require international students to pay tuition fees for their bachelor's degrees. The amount can vary depending on your nationality and on the type of school you are applying to:

  • For public universities: €170 per year if you are a EU/EEA student (bachelor's level only), €2,770 per year for non EU-students.
  • For private schools: tuition in private institutions range from €3,000 to €10,000 per year, and can also vary depending on your nationality.

Another expense to keep in mind are the file processing fees. Very often, schools and universites will ask you to pay a small amount of money (less than €100) when submitting your application file.

Living expenses in France

You also have to be aware of the cost of living in France. What is the cost of living in France?

For EU-students, this mistake may result in unexpected financial burdensh. For non EU-students, this might make it impossible to come to France.  Indeed, once you are accepted by a school in France, you will need to get your student visa. Not being able to prove sufficient resources will most likely lead to visa rejection, hence the inability to stay in France. For a long-stay student visa, you must have at least €615 per month, except if you hold a French government scholarship.

Scholarship options for students pursuing a Bachelor's degree in France

In order to help international students cover tuition fees and living expenses, numerous scholarship options exist. Scholarship programs can be carried by public institutions (such as the French government) or private companies and can cover all or part of your expenses as a student in France.

If you want to learn more about available scholarships for international students , you can check this article !

You might also want to check scholarships offered by institutions and/or companies from your home country for students willing to go abroad.

Keep in mind that very few students can obtain a fully-funded scholarship (covering all of their expenses as a student in France). When being awarded a scholarship will 100 % help you finance your studies in France, you should always consider other means of financing (personal funds, parents or family, etc).

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