Education in France: how to get a foreigner

France is one of the top ten countries in terms of educational attainment. At the same time, almost everyone can start studying in this country, since the conditions for admission are quite simple. You can study in France in both popular and narrow areas.

History and features of the French educational system

Education in France dates back to the Middle Ages. At the same time, the system is constantly being improved with the advent of new discoveries. Today it is one of the best in the world, as it allows an optimal combination of theory and practice.

The formation of the education system in the form in which it is presented now began in the 19th century. Then the “Ferry’s Law” was adopted, obliging children to study up to 12 years. The final stage was carried out in 1959, when a single scheme was approved. After kindergarten, the child moves on to school education, which is divided into 3 stages:

  1. Primary – from 6 to 11 years old.
  2. The middle stage is from 11 to 14 years old.
  3. High school – from 15 to 18 years old.

The entire education system in France is subordinate to a national ministry and is a centralized structure. About 20% of institutions are occupied by private places, in which about 5 million students study.

Elementary education

The upbringing of children before receiving primary education in the republic has little difference from the Russian one. As a standard, a child can start pre-school education in France at two years old. In kindergartens, children are divided into 2 groups, depending on age:

  1. Up to four years old, students are mainly engaged in developmental games.
  2. From the age of five, activities that develop motor skills are added to games. These include drawing, literature and modeling. In addition, preparation for primary school begins.

In preschool institutions, pedagogical workers are prohibited from scolding children and raising their voices to them.

An important aspect is the fact that the French gardens are closed on Wednesdays. This is due to the fact that it is customary to devote this day of the week to domestic and religious values. In the educational institutions themselves, theology is not taught.

Secondary education

The primary institution in secondary education is the college, which children enter at the age of 11. In this case, the educational institution is chosen exclusively depending on the area of ​​residence of the student. Thus, the child becomes somewhat limited in movement.

The nuance of French colleges is the fact that the classes are counted in reverse order. Thus, the graduate of the school goes to the sixth grade, and the training ends in the third. At the same time, the study includes several cycles:

  1. During the sixth grade, students become accustomed to new environments and teaching methods. In parallel, subjects such as mathematics, history of spelling and French are being studied. This period is called adaptation.
  2. This is followed by the central period, during which physics with practice, chemistry with experiments, foreign languages ​​and Latin are added to the main subjects.
  3. The orientation phase begins in the last year. During its passage, the student is determined with the specialty, which he will focus on in his further education.

After college, a high school begins, called a lyceum. In this institution, the student will also study for three years with reverse numbering of classes:

  • second;
  • first;
  • high school graduation.

All lyceums are divided into two large groups shown in the table. Each of them provides for preparation for education in higher education.

Lyceum type Subdivisions
General education Philology (Journalism)
Social unit  
Natural science  
Technological Service
Laboratory research  
Scientific and industrial  
Medical and social  

Higher education in France

Those students who studied in technological and educational institutions can count on higher education in France. A distinctive feature of this stage is a wide variety of specialties and disciplines.

Types of French universities

French universities are universities and high schools. There is not much difference between them, and most of them are in the directions of study. Despite this, education in higher schools is more prestigious in comparison with universities.


Basically, at universities, doctors, translators, lawyers, scientists and other workers study and graduate from them. Both French and foreign applicants can enter these institutions.

The advantage of studying at such an institute is the possibility of further employment. After all, specialists with French education are valued not only within the republic, but also in other European countries.

Higher Schools

Higher schools train professional personnel who will be further employed in:

  • economy;
  • military affairs;
  • management.

In this regard, it is somewhat more difficult to enter such institutions, and this requires passing exams.

School students receive a high scholarship, but after training they need to go through the civil service. The terms of such work can be from 6 to 10 years, due to which a person must reimburse the state for the costs that were spent on his studies.

The most prestigious high schools

The most popular in the country are several higher schools, which include:

  • Ecole Polytechnique – Higher Polytechnic School;
  • ENA – National School of Management;
  • HEC – Graduate School of Commerce;
  • ENC – National School of History and Archives.

Popular universities and areas of study

Among universities abroad, the following are in high demand:

  1. Sorbonne. The famous university was founded in the 13th century and attracts not only students, but also tourists from all over the world. Today, the Sorbonne consists of more than 30 universities that teach students in various fields.
  2. University of Nantes. The organization is included in the top 30 best universities in this country and is considered one of the most prestigious. The main building is located in the city of Nantes. The percentage of foreigners (including Russians, Belarusians and Kazakhstanis) among students is about 8% of 31 thousand people.
  3. Strasbourg University. Known for its natural sciences, medicine and technology departments. Differs in the high quality of lessons, within the walls of the institution, research is constantly being conducted both in agriculture, and in chemistry, physics.
  4. University of Toulouse. The university includes 7 universities. Of particular note is the Law Faculty of Law, which has produced many of the world’s most renowned attorneys, lawyers and public figures. Of the technical specialties, astronautics and aeronautics will be especially interesting for applicants.
  5. University of Grenoble. An educational institution that will be interesting for those who wish to understand modern technology and medicine.

Higher education for Russians

Foreign students are eligible for education in France, and Russian or Ukrainian students are no exception. You can try to enroll on general terms, but it is possible to start studying more easily.

Some French universities cooperate with Russian educational institutions. Some of the universities can transfer their students to foreign studies. The main thing is to choose the right institution, having studied the probability of transition in advance.

Requirements for incoming foreigners

For foreign applicants, the conditions for admission to French universities and higher schools are more stringent. Such students may not have a document confirming their completion of secondary education.

Upon admission, they should present a number of papers and be interviewed. Letters of recommendation will also be helpful. Enrollment will be made only if there are free places.

Required documents

In order to enter an international university, a foreign applicant must prepare a package of documents in advance:

  • A detailed autobiographical essay, printed on a computer.
  • Application form.
  • A certificate translated into a foreign language or a certificate from the university. The document must be certified by a notary.
  • Birth certificate with translation, certified by a notary.
  • French proficiency certificate – DELF / DALF and TCF.

Tuition fees, scholarships

Most of the higher educational institutions in France are public and provide about 30% of budgetary places. Students who failed to get into such training must pay a registration fee.

Depending on the university, the cost of study can range from 150 to 500 euros. The rest of the costs are also covered by the state. At the same time, students of paid departments are entitled to a scholarship, the amount of which is close to 100 euros per month.

Also, a student can go to a private university. The training costs much more here. The price ranges from 10 to 20 thousand euros. The exact amount depends both on the institution itself and on the specialty that the student has chosen.

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Features and prospects of higher education for foreigners

Before studying, you should take language courses, since admission requires a high level of knowledge of the language. Some institutions conduct classes not only in French, but also in English. This information should be clarified in advance, even at the stage of consideration of institutions for admission.

Before submitting documents, you must enroll in a university via the Internet. For this, a dossier is created in the Etudes en France system. You can register in it only at the time of the opening of the registration procedure, the date of which changes every year.

Upon graduation, a student from France can get a job or open a business in the republic itself until the expiration of his visa. Moreover, such citizens are allowed to work 60% of the established norm of hours. When concluding an employment contract, a student can apply for a work visa.

Living conditions for international students: scholarships, dormitories, campuses

An interesting nuance of education in France is the existence of a scholarship, which is provided for students from other countries mastering the profession. Russian students are also eligible for additional funding in the form of a “scholarship for a living”, which is intended to pay for food and accommodation, or for grants.

Public universities in France do not provide for their own hostels. Foreign students are settled in special support centers CNOUS and CROUS. The cost of living can be up to 350 euros per month. Sometimes the costs are borne by the parents.

Higher schools in France can provide beds in their own hostels. However, the number of places in them is very limited. Therefore, it is recommended to reserve your accommodation in advance. If the student did not manage to get his own room, then he will have to contact a private boarding school.

Unlike support centers and school hostels, private housing costs significantly more. The student will have to shell out up to 700 euros per month just for accommodation.

You can also try to rent a house in the private sector. The cost of living can be compared with private hostels, however, there is the possibility of renting a group of several people, which is what students use.