Grandes Ecoles (French: “great schools”) is not only the name of a Parisian hotel located in the historical intellectual Latin Quarter, it’s also a real institution of higher education in France, known for its highly selective admissions, its prestigious and rewarding degrees and academic excellence.
In addition to these criteria, there is a true French tradition of the grandes ecoles, which are more highly regarded than average universities. While universities are seen as mainstream institutions, grandes ecoles are understood as elite institutes (they represent less than 5% of student population) which guarantee success in life and feed the top French civil servants with talent pool, advanced professional and technical training in several fields of study. There are about 250 grandes ecoles spread across France and 230 of them are gathered within the Conference des Grandes Ecoles, CGE.
In an effort to explain the machinery of higher education and to promote the “grande ecole” model, the French Conference of the Grandes Ecoles widened the scope of its activities and communications with an English version of its teaching video about the concept of grande ecole and its implications for grandes ecoles students careers and working lives.
What do Grandes Ecoles specialize in?
All around France, “grandes ecoles” offer excellent courses and award degrees up to BAC+8 level (eight years of study after graduating from high school). For more than 200 years, these private or public schools have been training students for multiple careers :
- Political science
- Art, design
- Veterinary medicine
How does a student get admitted to a Grand Ecole ?
According to CGE’s statistics, there are multiple ways to be admitted into a “grande école”:
- 40% of students come from “classes préparatoires” (preparatory courses), two years of rigorous preparation
- 40% coming from Parallel Admission; after 2 or 3 years of study at university, outstanding university and international students can transfer to a Grande Ecole without a competitive process
- 20% of students are high school graduates, and they get in a grande ecole directly after their baccalaureate exam, following a joint competition for students coming from classes specialized in topics related to the grandes ecoles
Admission is a selective process. However, any motivated student can come study in a grande école.
Is this worth how much it costs being in a Grande Ecole ?
The cost per year varies depending on the type of Grande Ecole and their specialties: public or private, Engineering, Business and Management, Sciences and Humanities, etc. Various support schemes are available, such as: tuition waivers or scholarships. Students also have the opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship which allows them to earn a salary all the while boosting their employability.
The real-terms value of a Grande Ecole education has increased as the global tendency is for graduates enjoying better job prospects and wages.
A degree from a grande ecole is truly a passport for employment as well as a safe and profitable investment that guarantees excellent professional integration:
90% of graduates secure a job within less than 6 months, of which 80% on permanent contracts and full employment is achieved at 12 months
Graduates are courted by businesses, whether they join: micro, small and medium enterprises or large groups. Often, they can choose the best career options that appeal to them.
Why being a member of CGE is important to EMLV and ESILV
Member schools of the CGE (Conference of the Grandes Ecoles) share a common DNA:
- excellence education, which combines theory and practice along with numerous internships
- close connection to businesses and research
- great international exposure, thanks to academic mobility in internships abroad
- hosting of 20 to 30% of international students
- a rich associative, cultural and sports life on modern and attractive campuses
- a strong commitment to common values and challenges, such as: solidarity, equity and protecting the environment shared by students and alumni networks
The Conference des Grandes Ecoles certifies the quality of the courses, as well as the excellence of all its member schools.
Are you interested in studying in grande ecole ? Read more about our programmes here.