Top 10 Tips to apply and study in French Universities



With over 2.7 million university students, France is home to one of Europe’s largest and most diverse student populations. In fact, nearly 350,000 international students come to France to study each year. And as France is home to some excellent and prestigious universities, this comes as no surprise. But admittedly, the process of applying to French Universities can seem overwhelming at first. So to help you out, here’s my top 10 tips to apply and study in French Universities. 

1. Research, Research, Research

So you’ve decided you want to come to France to study, now the first step is to start doing some research. Where you’ll study depends on several factors such as your visa status, French language ability, your field of study, and of course, your budget. It’s important to narrow your search down early in the game, before you even begin the application process. Having some universities already on your short list will help make applying easier. 

2. Start Gathering that Paperwork

The French administration is notorious for requiring a ton of paperwork, for everything from opening a bank account to getting a phone plan. And applying to French universities is no exception. 

While each university has slightly different requirements, you can start making a general dossier ahead of time and then just modify it for each school later on. 

Here’s a general list of documents you’ll need for any French university application:

  • Government Issued Photo ID
  • If you’re a non E.U. citizen, proof of a valid visa and OFFI stamp
  • A high school diploma (translated into French)
  • Your most recent C.V. 
  • Proof of your level in French or English
  • A letter of motivation detailing why you want to attend the university
  • Your portfolio if relevant
  • 4 recent ID photos for your student ID and health insurance


Be sure to check the individual requirements for your country of origin and each school carefully as each one is slightly different. 

3. Make Two Copies of Everything

One of the most important tips I can give you for applying to French universities is to make two copies. Of absolutely every document. Make a third if you really want to be on the safe side. 

4. Send your Application by Registered Mail

One of the top 10 tips for applying to French universities is to use registered mail. In France, with any official or administrative procedure its always better to use registered mail. In France, this is called a lettre recommandé avec avis de réception. Basically, this is a service you can purchase at the post office which ensures delivery of your envelope/parcel as well as requires a signature upon reception. You also get informed once your parcel has been received.

5. Proofread Your Application

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not taking the time to re-read or proofread their application. If you’re applying to a French program, this is especially important if French isn’t your first language. I would recommend asking a French native speaker to help you proofread your application to make sure it is absolutely perfect and ready to go. You can find services like this on sites such as fiverr. 

6. Check Out Application Dates

This is super important and definitely one of my top 10 tips for applying to French universities. Depending on your program and degree type, you can enroll either in the Spring or Fall semester. General application deadlines for the Fall semester are generally in April, though some can be as early as January depending on the program. For Spring enrolment, application deadlines are generally mid September, though be sure to check with all the universities you’re applying to. 

7. Don’t Forget About Scholarships

So one of the best tips for applying to French universities is to also apply for scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships or grants (bourse in French) available to both French and international students. If you’re coming for an exchange program, check with your home university as well. Each country has their own offerings, so it pays off (literally) to do a bit of research. And start applying early. 

8. Take Notes

This may seem like an obvious tip for studying at any university, but taking notes is especially important in the French university system. Often times, you will attend a lecture for a few hours at a time, and in my experience most universities here don’t give handouts or study sheets. A lot of your grade is exam-based, and usually only one or two big exams per year so they really count. 

9. Study French

If you don’t speak French already, this is a great opportunity to learn. And if you’re in a French program, it’s a great idea to take a French course on the side. Not only will your French improve, but so will your grades!

10. Get involved in your university community

It can be tough to adjust to life in nay new city, especially if you don’t yet speak the language. Perhaps the most important tip I can give you for studying at french universities would b to get involved in the community. Participate in after school events, or student clubs or government. Some universities even have sports teams, or intra-mural teams. Not only will this help you assimilate, it will help your level of French, too!

So now you know my top 10 tips to apply and study at French universities. I wish you the best of luck!


See you soon in France!