The basics
France: Applying to University

How to ace that French university interview

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In France, students who apply to an institute of technology will have to attend a personal interview. We’ve curated some tips on how you can ace an interview with a French university here…

 

Importance of a good application form

When filling up the university application form don’t prevaricate or overstate anything in the form, because chances are, they will be able to tell. This is especially so during the interview. Only put in what you are comfortable with: things that you know and you are fully capable of doing or have done. Use the application form to highlight your experience and strengths and how this makes you an excellent candidate for the university.

It’s worth noting that France is well known for its bureaucracy and intensive administrative practices, therefore you may be waiting a little while after submitting your application form to hear about whether you’ve got an interview.

 

Research is key

We strongly recommend that you research the course and university well. Make sure you have all the relevant information at your fingertips, schools like students who are well-prepared. Check with the university if they can disclose the format of the interview and who will be interviewing you.

 

Desired candidate

In general, university interviewers look for candidates who are confident and passionate about their chosen subject field and this is true in France as well. Most importantly, they are enthusiastic and eager to attend the university. As mentioned above, research is essential. Expand your general knowledge about that subject and look up recent updates or changes that have been published.

 

Dress code

An interview is a formal social situation which calls for appropriate attire. Prepare a smart and simple outfit. Unless you’re attending an interview with a fashion design school, stay away from loud patterns. You’ll want the interviewers’ focus to be on you, not your outfit.

 

Personal statement

You’d probably have submitted this document during your application, reread it again to familiarise yourself with it. As mentioned before, the French love their paperwork so the interview will definitely refer to your personal statement and will ask some questions based on that.

 

Interview the university

Have some questions of your own. This is your chance to find out if this university is a good fit. Do due diligence and only ask questions that haven’t already been answered on their website. For instance, does this programme allow you to take modules from other disciplines? You can also ask about the culture of the university and the kinds of support available to international students.

Ensure you’re polite and respectful as and arrive on time – this will go down particularly well in a French interview as manners are an important part of the country’s culture.

 

Practice, practice, practice

Check with your school if they hold mock interview for their graduates. If they don’t, you can always enlist the help of your friends and family to be the interview panel asking you questions while you practice answering them. Do you know of anyone who has attended this particular university before? Yes? Then get in touch with them and seek their advice. No? Then check with your school if they can help connect you with someone who has gone to the university. There are also some institutions in France that will train you for the personal interview through phone or Skype.

 

Master the French Language

While many universities have recently started offering either bilingual programmes or programmes that are taught entirely in English, a large portion of the programmes are still conducted in French. For these, you will be required to demonstrate your proficiency in the French language by taking a language test. There are a few types of tests- TCF (Test of knowledge of French), TEF (French Assessment Test), DELF (Diploma of French-language studies) and DALF (Advanced diploma in French language).

Prospective students are exempted from this requirement if you are:

  • From multilingual states where French is one of the official languages. These states include, Cameroon, Canada, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Haiti, Madagascar, Mauritania, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland and Vanuatu.
  • Have taken a bilingual programme where one of the languages was French.
  • Are a holder of the international or European baccalaureate or Franco-German baccalaureate.
  • Are an international recipient of a scholarship from the French government, or international organisations and foreign government grants that are administered by an approved French entity.  

 

Those are the best tips we can impart ahead of your application to a French interview and hopefully some of them might help you cinch a place on that degree you’ve dreamt of. Now it’s time to get searching for courses and universities. Best of luck!

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.