There are 3,000 French people who go out every year to make their bachelor’s degree accessible right after their bachelor’s degree. Because there are courses for all profiles. And scholarships can help fund tuition.
Going to study at an American university, ranked among the best in the world, is the dream of many French people. But there are many obstacles. The constitution of the archive, the price, but also the plethoric choice among 4,000 establishments can postpone many. However, 3,000 French people leave every year to pursue their bachelor’s degree. Because there are courses for all profiles.
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American universities issue bachelor’s degrees in four years, equivalent to our French degrees. For students who pass the 12th grade of the general average in secondary education and who are not afraid of an administrative marathon, this is the best solution. But beware, “you have to do this by January of the first class,” advises Caroline Bouffard, founder of the coaching company College Coaching. In fact, very heavy log files are required before the month of January to the end of the year for the most part. In addition to a transcript since ninth grade, a test – the SAT or ACT – is required. It’s a test written in English that assesses a candidate’s skills: “You can take it five times a year, and the best grade is kept,” says Céline Ouziel, head of EducationUSA, a center specializing in higher education in the United States. A letter of recommendation from a teacher is also required. Finally, a series of one to six essays in English is requested, on topics defined by each university. Fees are high, from $10,000 a year for public universities to $40,000 for the most expensive private universities. The average is around $20,000, and at that price you should add $7,000 to $10,000 for housing.
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To ease the bill, “private universities offer scholarships for international students, ranging from a few thousand dollars to the full tuition fee,” says Caroline Bouffard. These grants are “mainly indexed to academic merit”. Scholarships must be requested at the same time as the file submission.
The “community college”, an affordable option
“Less selective, the community college can serve more modest high school students,” adds Céline Ouziel. These establishments, “which accept 99% of applications”, attract around 20% of the annual quota of French bachelors. The course lasts for two years and registrations are made on the website of each institution. It requires a transcript of grades and a TOEFL-type English test “where the requested level – from 45 to 60 out of 120 – is easily achievable in the terminale”. Applications are open until June and the price, around 7,000 euros per year for academic registration, is two to five times lower than for universities. The community college issues an associate degree, the equivalent of a BTS or DUT in France. “These establishments should, above all, be seen as springboards for the university”, specifies Céline Ouziel.
■ 3 websites to prepare for your studies in the USA
Site to register for the SAT test and learn about American courses.
Common platform for all American universities to enroll in a bachelor’s degree.
Website of the French-American commission to advise young French people on studies in the United States.