France is one of the most sought-after countries for international students. It offers great opportunities in terms of higher education with top-notch colleges and universities. The culture and lifestyle of France are also top-rated by international students. A large number of international students choose France for higher education.
International students arrive in France with a wealth of information and experience, but many of them face challenges when it comes to choosing the best intake for them. This blog is for students who are facing these challenges and want to learn about how to choose the right intake for them in France.
Intakes in France
Intakes mean that the terms of the classes will start at that particular time of the year at the universities. Mainly, January and September are the Intakes in France universities for students coming from other countries. Both the intakes are equally important for both students and universities in France.
January Intake: Pros and Cons
Beginning in January and concluding around May, the spring intake is another intake when the major universities in France accept applications. Discussed below are the pros and cons of applying during the Spring Intake as an international student in France:
Pros of Applying for Spring/January Intake
- Competition may be somewhat less than the Fall Intakes in France. So, the chances of getting admitted to your dream university abroad in France during the January Intake abroad are pretty great.
- Upon completion of your studies, the competition for relevant jobs may also be slightly less as the number of graduates entering the job market in France would also be less.
- Spring intake students have the benefit of mentorship programs or special orientation programs, unlike the fall intake.
Cons of Applying for Spring/January Intake
- January Intake in France admits usually would not have the same number of financial aid or scholarship options, as compared to the September Intake students.
- Job opportunities during course-works may be fewer for Spring applicants as all available posts would have already been taken up by Fall students in France.
- As the international students will be beginning their studies in the middle of the academic year, fewer on-campus opportunities are available for the spring/winter students.
September Intake: Pros and Cons
Fall Intake generally begins around late August or September and receives the highest number of applicants. Here are the pros and cons of applying during the Fall Intake in France as an international student:
Pros of Applying for a September/Fall Intake
- The greatest advantage of the September Intake is that you would have a wide range of courses to select from. Most colleges in France offer almost all courses in the Fall Intake, thereby, allowing you to opt for any course offered by any college you like.
- Many student club recruitments and on-campus jobs are filled during the fall semester. Fall Intake admits also have an advantage in terms of campus recruitments given that they would already have completed three semesters by the time campus recruitments are organized.
- The number of scholarship opportunities is much higher in the Fall semester when compared to the January Intake.
Cons of Applying for a September/Fall Intake
- Taking into account that not that many universities in France offer spring admissions, the applicant pool can get relatively more competitive. This may, thus, lower your chances of getting admission to your chosen university.
- Upon completion of your studies, the competition for relevant jobs may also be slightly high as the number of graduates entering the job market would also be high.
How to choose between the January and September Intake to study in France
It is important to know how to choose between the January and September Intake to study in France. Listed below are some of the steps you can take when choosing the right admission intake in France.
Step 1: Shortlist your Desired Universities and Courses
The first step should be deciding on the course you wish to study and the university in France. This will help you cut down a major piece of the decision, as some courses are only offered during the fall Intake while some may only be offered during the spring Intake. At the same time, some courses may be offered during both intakes, thus, giving you more opportunities to apply to your chosen course and university.
Step 2: Read the Admission Policies and Requirements
The next important step is to read the admission policies and requirements thoroughly, as this is where you would find the relevant information regarding admissions during different admission intakes. Moreover, the admission policies for each university and course will define the admission intakes for each course and the application deadlines for different admission intakes in France.
Step 3: Collect Your Documents
Part of any admission process is submitting the essential documents with your admission application form. Some of these documents may take some time to assemble, which in turn, could mean that you may not have the required documents before the application deadlines. In cases where you do not have the necessary documents ready by the time of submitting your applications, you will find it easier to apply for the next admission intake.
Which Intake is best for International Students in France?
There are a lot of things to factor in when deciding which semester to apply to French University. Well, it does take a little time to plan and navigate the entire process. Several factors might come into play when deciding which intake is more favorable for your admission.
You first need to check whether the universities in France of your choice accept applications for both intakes. A substantial number do not have any admission open for the Spring season. So, if you wish to apply for the Spring season, you should do some research on your target university/courses to find out which season intakes are available.
- Acceptance Rate
Many universities in France have allotted quotas of admissions for each semester. The fact that the class sizes are much larger for the Fall Intake, means you might have a good chance of getting admitted then. If your profile is above average, then the odds will be to your benefit for the Spring Intake.
Universities in France usually offer a lot more courses for the winter Intake students, so you will have a lot of courses to choose from. It also means that if you are looking for an unusual course that is not chosen by a lot of students, there are higher chances it won’t be available in the Spring semester.
- Job Opportunities
Job fairs and campus recruitments usually occur during the second year, which means you will have completed 3 semesters if you are in the fall class, and 2 semesters for the Spring class. Those who have spent 3 semesters will have more advantages over those with 2 semesters because that extra semester will boost your profile and enhance your academic CV as you have finished more projects, have more leadership roles, do more activities, etc. So if you have plans to pursue a job in France after your studies, these little extras will help you gain an advantage over those from the Spring semester.
Since the academic session technically starts with the Fall semester in France, there will likely be more opportunities for students to obtain on-campus jobs and internships, especially for research-based courses. Generally, professors begin their research at the start of the academic year and do not recruit new assistants in the between of the year. So there are more opportunities during the Fall semester to become research assistants or teaching assistants.
- Extracurricular Activities
If you give a lot of importance to extracurricular activities, joining organizations and student clubs, then applying for the fall semester in France may be the best option. It will be quite difficult to obtain leadership roles in student clubs if you join the excitement later on. But if your goal is to just be a part of an organization, then you can opt for any intake.
Most students apply for the fall intake because by then, they have completed their undergraduate studies. But then, some students might need more time to settle down. If you feel you are not prepared to start your studies by September, then you should not rush your applications.
Conclusion of Fall vs Spring Intake in France
In a nutshell, the answer is simple: it depends solely on you. It all depends on what you need and what are your plans. First, be clear about what you expect out of a college education in France when you want to apply for a job as you are the best judge of your career. There is no problem in applying to any intake to study in France.