France has had a long tradition of producing and educating some of the greatest minds in literature, philosophy, and science. How do the country’s universities compare today? Pretty well! In this article, EDUopinions takes a closer look at what students have to say about the 7 best universities in France.
EDUopinions is a unique platform where you can read real, verified student reviews about universities from all over the world as well as get free information about them.
Université de Tours – 5 stars, 4 Reviews
First, we have Université de Tours. It is located around an hour from Paris by train. The university offers a wide variety of courses. Subjects range from science to the arts. Levels range from undergraduate to PhD.
Students’ Thoughts About this University
The university’s top positive point is its location. Particularly as a study abroad option. Students explain how the organisation of international students creates a good Erasmus experience. Students, in general, seem to find the administration at the university to be easy to work with. This is so often the area in which many universities fall down.
In addition, students praise the teaching staff, the wide variety of extracurricular activities on offer (particularly sport), and the ‘cheap tourism’ available in areas near the college. There are beautiful views of the Loire river to be seen too.
Before mentioning any negatives, it should be noted that the university at present has four reviews left by students. Other universities have substantially more.
It would be unfair to give the impression that one university is better than the other just because one happens to have more comments written about it than the other at this moment in time. This is something to keep in mind as we compare universities based on students’ opinions.
However, in this case, the only downside found in an EDUopinions comment is that the Faculty of Arts is difficult to navigate.
I studied there as an Erasmus student for one year. The university has different campuses all over the city and each has its own canteen. The teachers were close and kind to the students and highly qualified, and the university offers a great deal of cutural activities and sports. There are also a lot of international students from the five continents. The worst thing, from my point of view, was that the faculty of arts (fac de lettres) was like a maze and finding the classes was kind of hard. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the views of the river (La Loire) from there, and they have a laboratory of languages, which is quite good.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
You can find out about the scholarships on offer to international students here.
Université d’Orléans – 4 stars, 16 Reviews
Second, we have Université d’Orléans. It is about an hour’s train ride from Paris. Université d’Orléans offers many courses in many subject areas. Courses are at under- and postgraduate levels from science to arts. It is also a very popular study abroad location. International students are full of praise for the way in which they were treated during their time in Orléans.
Students’ Positive Comments
Probably the most commonly mentioned positive is the low fees. In fact, students at the college do not pay actual fees. Instead, they pay a small registration fee.
Another common positive is that there are programmes taught through English available at the college.
Additionally, students have also complimented the campus, the interesting topics taught, and the student accommodation. Namely, how cheap it is and its proximity to the campus.
Further positives are the free French classes, a large range of extra-curricular activities, the multicultural student body, and easy access to the city of Orléans by public transport. There are also supermarkets nearby and several libraries on campus.
Downsides for Students
The university’s distance from the city of Orléans appears repeatedly. A common complaint is how difficult it is as a student to experience the nightlife in the city.
The second most frequently mentioned negative is that the free French classes are not sufficient.
These include the praise for the level of teaching, then offset by a comment that some of the teachers’ English could use improvement. And also the good accommodation, offset by a commenter who considered the accommodation small in size.
Some other negatives include a weak relationship between the French and foreign students on campus and the belief that you require a good level of French to be able to live in Orléans. There’s also a lack of foreign language choices, the chaotic international management organisation, and difficulty obtaining an internship in English. The administrative staff are not always friendly, and students lack help from the university when looking for an internship.
I would definitely recommend the University of Orleans, I think it’s a perfect environment for studies. Education there is free of charge for everyone, there is just a small registration fee that you will have to pay. The university offers an MBA program in English with free French classes.
The campus is lovely, it’s all quiet, nice and green, you can easily access the city by tram or bus from there, supermarkets are in a walking distance, student accommodation is cheap. The university offers loads of activities for students: sports, dancing, concerts, theatre, parties and many more.
There is free internet all around the campus. There are several libraries with quiet reading rooms and individual rooms for study groups.
Student residencies offer a few types of accommodation, all prices include hot water, heating and free wifi. Individual room with shower, toilet and fridge costs only 250 eur a month.
All in all, I had a great time there, met the best friends, had loads of fun, learnt French and got my MBA.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Universite d’Orléans has many scholarships and methods of financial aid on offer. Learn more about financing your studies abroad.
Université Paris-Sud – 4 stars, 9 Reviews
Now on to Université Paris-Sud. Located to the south of Paris, the university is accessible from Paris by the RER B train. Other French regions and attractions (such as the Palace of Versailles) are easily reachable too. Because UPSud is based outside of Paris, this has a positive effect on accommodation costs; significantly lowering them for students – whether under- or postgraduate.
Common Positive Comments
The teaching staff at UPSud are frequently praised in the university’s EDUopinions comment section. Students use words such as ‘passionate,’ ‘highly qualified,’ ‘professional,’ and ‘inspiring’ to describe their teachers.
The second most frequently mentioned UPSud positive is its dedication to science and technology. No less than a third of UPSud’s EDUopinions comments thus far stress how the institute is ‘truly a scientific university,’ a ‘science-oriented university,’ and ‘very up to date’ with science and technology.
Other comments mention the Parisian university’s high standing from an academic angle, its great support for international students, and its teaching of additional subjects that will likely prove useful for future scientists – such as patent law.
Before going on to mention the ways in which UPSud, according to its students, may improve, it is necessary to mention the conflicting opinions appearing on the EDUopinions site.
Read UPSud’s opinion section and you will find comments stating that the university is ‘far from Paris city,’ ‘kind of far from central Paris,’ but also ‘close to Paris.’ This of course is as a result of the university being split into several different campuses, despite it not being mentioned in these comments. In this lies a lesson in making up your own mind, and not relying on the information or opinions of others.
A further conflicting comment is the social life at the university – two comments praise the cultural and social aspects of life at UPSud, while another describes the college as ‘not great for socialising.’ When deciding on a university to apply for, you must make this decision based on what you think will suit you, not what suits others well, as these may not be the same thing.
Where Could The University Improve?
The university could improve some professors’ level of English. The same is said for the administration at the university, where, presumably, international students encounter problems because of administrative workers not possessing adequate English with which to deal with the students’ issues.
Also mentioned is the fact that students find the buildings and facilities old, with another commenter adding the same sentiment about the state of the residence halls.
Further downsides commented on include the economics faculty of the university not being as good as one student had hoped, a case of some teachers not paying attention to students, and associations proving few and far between, and difficult to get in touch with.
Something to also be aware of at UPSud is the intensity of studies at the university.
The university is known for the scientific contribution and the high quality professors. The experimental facilities are well equipped and the cultural, social aspect of being a student of this University is quite advantageous. Somehow far from the central Paris means the calmness and tranquility is in it’s highest level. There are a lot of programs taught entirely in English medium. Administratively, one can face minor problems sometimes since there are very few people speaking in English. This applies same for some of the professors too.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID
UPSud offers scholarships to international students which can cover living costs and/or cost of studies. Discover the options available.
Read Part 2 of this Article
Part 2 of the 7 best universities in France.