It is hard to answer whether studying in France is very difficult. It all depends on your individual characteristics and level of preparation. Yet, to go to college in France is much easier than in other developed European countries. According to, in France there are many English-language programs, which attracts students from all over the world. In public universities, foreigners can study for free. However, you will have to pay an annual registration fee. Also, yoy should consider and budget your living expenses as well.

Higher Education in France: Peculiarities of Education

Higher education in France at the leading universities is divided into several levels. Corresponding to the gradation of degrees of the Bologna process, they have national names: Licence (Bachelor), Master (Master), Doctorat (Doctorate)

It is possible to get higher education in English: there are about 800 academic programs. The programs are mainly in engineering, science, management, and business. These courses foreigners can study completely in English. However, most art, design, and literature courses are usually offered in French.

The Baccalaureate (licence) for Foreign Students 

For foreigners to get a bachelor’s degree in this country is quite an attractive alternative to other European countries. Higher education in France costs less than the top educational institutions of England, Switzerland, and Germany. At the same time, academic programs correspond to the high educational standards of Europe.

The baccalaureate lasts three years, during which students general topics and master practical skills. Lectures delivered by full-time and visiting professors are the main form of education. A great difficulty is represented by independent works, the volume of which can be very high.

According to statistics, France has one of the highest dropout rates: only 23% of students graduate from high school at the first attempt. This is largely due to the high requirements for students and a strict system of knowledge control.

Master’s Programs for Foreign Students

Master’s programs are just as popular, if not more so, among foreign students. Here is why:

  • Whereas bachelor courses provide students with a theoretical foundation and the last two years only begin to master skills, master’s courses are all about practical issues. As a result, students have more skills and a better chance of getting a job.
  • Master’s courses are not perceived by local students as an additional stage of education but as another one, so they are in high demand.
  • Here you will find a lot of programs in English.

Master’s programs are divided into research and applied areas: the first is intended for those who are going to tie their lives to science, and the second – for those who are planning further employment. The duration of both types of master’s courses will be two years. The main load consists of the student’s independent work and attendance of lectures.

Specific of Preparation for Universities and Requirements

Admission to universities in France is a fairly simple procedure. The main nuances of the simplified admission system are as follows:

  • It is allowed to enter immediately after graduation from school
  • There are no entrance exams
  • Almost 100 percent chance of being accepted
  • The Ministry of Education sets strict rules for admission for all universities, allowing foreign students to minimize mistakes in collecting documents.

How to Enrol in a University in France: a Checklist

Choose your major and level of education. France is one of the four countries that initiated the Bologna Process for the convergence of higher education systems in Europe. In France, at the end of each academic year, a student of a university also receives a national diploma. Many French universities offer exceptional diploma programs for one year or longer.

Choose the language (French or English).

Choose the appropriate university. Foreign students can choose a paid course, or they can study for free. But it is important to correctly calculate your financial capabilities: even with the free education student pays his/her accommodation, and obtaining a visa will require proof of financial solvency – a minimum of €615 per month for the entire period of stay in France. 

Choosing a university, students are usually guided by university rankings. But ranking tables is not the best way to make the final decision. It is important to pay attention not so much to the overall position of the university but the quality of education in the specialty of interest.

Start to prepare for your admission at least a year in advance. When choosing a university, it is important to assess your chances of admission. The sooner you decide on the university and begin to prepare, the better your chances of admission are. Experts recommend that you start preparing at least a year in advance.

Study the requirements for admission. Some French universities you can enter with a high school diploma; others require prior preparation for the Foundation program. For admission, some require proof of proficiency in the language of instruction – it depends on the university and the program you choose. Typically, the TCF, DELF/DALF for French, IELTS, or TOEFL for English. 

Prepare to take the exams. Even if the university you plan to attend does not have entrance examinations, language proficiency testing is essential. In most cases, to pass the tests, you need to prepare in advance and take specialized courses in language schools.

Prepare your application package: 

  • Application for admission 
  • Notarized copies of educational documents
  • Notarized translations of educational documents
  • Results of your language test

Also, for admission to a university in France, you may need a motivation essay, CV (for MA, MBA, and doctoral studies), portfolio (for creative specialties), recommendations, confirmation of financial solvency, presentation of work projects, etc.

Complete the admission process and, if you are applying to a private institution, pay your tuition. After a student completes all stages of the admission process, he or she will receive a certificate of enrollment, and that is when you pay tuition. For the first semester or a year – it depends on the requirements of the university.

Decide on accommodation. Not all French universities provide students with accommodation. Do not put it off – for a visa; you need to confirm that you have a place to live for at least the first 3 months.

Get your visa. Apply for a study visa to France as soon as you get a certificate of enrollment or pre-registration in the university. First, you need to go through Campus France, a French government information center for higher education in France. The Campus France application form is required to apply for your visa.

Go to the university a week before classes start. The academic year at French universities begins in September/October – the exact date depends on the university.