France is one of Europe’s largest countries. It is bordered by six countries other nations: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest.

People in France are courteous and very formal. People in the country are also known for being chic, taking great pride in their personal appearance and clothing. Some countries view France as an arrogant country because of these characteristics, although those in the country attribute this to simply being fashionable and cautious of the appearance.

There are currently more than 250,000 international students in France. In fact, around 10% of enrollments at French universities are international students and many of these study at the graduate level (masters and doctoral studies). The country offers an excellent environment for all international students. It has a fantastic quality of education, lectures and research opportunities.

1: How to Apply

Before you can work on earning a degree in any subject in France, you first need to apply for admissions at the college or university of your choice.

Before you apply, please note these:

  • For some universities, you can apply directly to their website.
  • Carefully check entry requirements: standardized tests, such as the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT are required for admission to most of the undergraduate and graduate degree courses.
  • Apply to at least three different institutions in order to increase your chances of being admitted.
  • Non-EU students will be required to pass the compulsory Preliminary Admission (“demand d’admission préalable” – DAP). Apply for DAP at the Culture and Cooperation Service of the French embassy in your home country.

Exemptions from DAP

  • Children of diplomats posted in France and who themselves currently live in France;
  • Candidates coming from a partner university with a cooperation agreement (special procedures apply);
  • Students with a scholarship from the French government, or a French organisation;
  • Candidates holding a French, International, European, French-German, French-Italian or a French-Spanish baccalaureate

Exemptions from the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in the French language:

  • Holders of the French baccalauréat, the international or European baccalauréat, and the Franco-German baccalauréat
  • International recipients of scholarships from the French government, international organizations, or foreign governments whose grants are administered by an approved French entity
  • Nationals of states where French is the official language
  • Students graduating from bilingual programs in which French was one of the languages

2: Application documents

  • Prior admission or pre-registration certificate provided by the university;
  • Campus France authorization;
  • Passport or ID card (valid for the duration of your stay);
  • ID/passport type photos;
  • Copies of graduation diplomas and their French translation;
  • Registration fee (185 EUR/year for a Bachelor’s degree, 260 EUR for a Master’s and 390 EUR for a PhD);
  • Social security registration (free);
  • A civil liability certificate;
  • Students from the EU: a copy of your European health insurance card;
  • Resume (only in some cases, and only for postgraduate degrees);
  • Cover letter;
  • French and/or English Language certificate (depending on tuition language of chosen degree);
  • Transcript of records (a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA or equivalent);
  • Copies of diplomas (if not available, a certificate stating that you graduated);
  • Proof that you can fund your stay in France (with a minimum of 800 euros per month).
  • You will also be required to submit proof of English proficiency. This can be obtained through a TOEFL or IELTS and other accepted tests.

3: University application deadlines in France

Application for French universities are available twice a year:

  • fall admission by 1 February and 1 April (in some cases, after this date as well, based on available spaces)
  • spring admission by September 15, and after this date, based on available spaces
  • Applications for Post-Bac (Parcoursup): from 22th January to 13th March
  • Applications for TCF during DAP process: from November until January 22nd

4: Receiving your offer

  • Institutions inform students of their admission decisions between June 15 and September 15 for programmes beginning in October. Thus, you will only have around a month to prepare all the arrangements for your departure to France.
  • If you a non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen, you will have to apply for a student visa.
  • If you plan to study more than six months in France, you will have to apply for a residence permit at French local authorities (“Préfecture”).
  • You will have to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself.

If you are from the EU, you can use the European health insurance card. If you are non-EU, you are eligible for the national health insurance offered in France. You must register on the website https://etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr/#/ to benefit from French social security health spending repayments.

5: Visa Application

  • If you wish to study in France, it’s important to inform yourself about all the possible visa requirements. French government regulates these issues and regulations depend on your citizenship.
  • For EU citizens and citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, no visa is required.
  • Applicants from outside the EU: You will need to obtain a visa, which includes a residence permit (VLS-TS). It is valid for one year and can be renewed later if necessary.
  • If you are from a country inside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and a holder of an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) then you do not need to get health insurance. You will be able to access healthcare at the same places and the same cost as local residents.
  • If you are from a country outside of the EEA, you will need to purchase health insurance for your stay in France. This will cost around €20-€50 per month, depending on the cover.

6: Budget

You have to decide if you’re going as a self-funded student, or as a sponsored student.

  • International students will have to prove that they can financially support their studies.
  • You should have around €7,400 per year in order to prove they can support themselves without working.
  • However, international students are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week, so there are opportunities to earn more money.
  • You can search for scholarships here to finance your study in France.
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