FAQ: all the answers to your questions about orientation

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Find answers to all your questions about orientation or reorientation in our FAQ

Today, navigating the field of higher education can be complicated. What to do for a degree? What job should I do? What are the salaries at the end of the degree? Is it a bottleneck in terms of employability? What are the tuition fees for the course I am interested in? These are practical questions that can sometimes be difficult to answer.

We have chosen to answer these questions so that high school and university students can be as informed as possible about their future professional field.

A quel moment dois-je réfléchir à mon orientation post-baccalauréat ?

Today, the time for post-baccalaureate orientation has been extended, going back to the beginning of the senior year, but also to the first, second and even third grades.

This is the concept of “guidance throughout schooling”, enshrined in various regulations, and in particular in the “Parcours Avenir” advocated by the law of orientation and programming for the refoundation of the school of the Republic of July 8, 2013 (law N° 2013-595).

Thus, career fairs and open houses begin as early as the junior year. Often, as early as October, high school teams organize conferences and special days dealing with post-baccalaureate orientation. It is not uncommon that as early as the first school year, or even the second or third, the topic of orientation is usually discussed.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Est-il intéressant d’avoir un « plan B » d’orientation ? 

The idea of having a “plan B” in mind does not put the candidate at risk, since in the event of multiple positive responses, he or she will choose the one that suits him or her best and that meets his or her needs and desires.

Each year, it is observed that some applicants only apply for admission to a small number of courses. When the latter are selective, they run the risk of not being admitted to any of them and of discovering this too late to fall back on other courses.

This is why we advise you not to settle for a wish list that is too restrictive. By diversifying your applications, you obviously increase your chances of receiving a favorable response.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Quels est l’impact sur la procédure parcoursup des choix d’enseignements de spécialités que j’ai fait en entrant en première puis en terminale générale ? 

The new high school differs from the old one in that it offers more elective courses. From now on, when moving from seconde générale et technologique to première générale, families are required to choose three “specialty courses” from a list proposed by each school. Then, when moving from the première générale to the terminale, it is compulsory to choose two speciality courses from the three chosen when entering the première.

On what criteria should these choices be made? You should start by asking yourself whether you are attracted to any of these courses of study: compare their respective curricula, the work methods developed there, your ability to obtain good results… But also ask yourself how this relates to your plans for higher education, if you have any at the time of your application.
these choices. Everyone will understand, for example, that if a high school student wants to be admitted to an engineering school, he or she should opt for specialised mathematics and science courses, that if the ambition is to enter a preparatory cycle for the BTS in international trade the
choice of speciality courses in English and economic and social sciences
is recommended, etc. Such an approach is all the more relevant since selective higher education programs often make the coherence of these choices in relation to the content of the program applied for a criterion for ranking candidates.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Pour chaque candidature, il est obligatoire de rédiger un “projet de formation motivé” ? Comment réussir un tel exercice ?

Some call it a “mini cover letter” because this document, which must be written directly on the platform, is limited to a maximum of 1500 characters. This is not a lot, and it requires the ability to synthesize, to distinguish the significant elements from the anecdotal ones.
You will need to do this for each of the courses you request: do not make the mistake of writing only one “MTP” (Motivated Training Proposal).
How could it be the same for a business school and an economic and commercial preparatory class for example? There may be some similarities, but the main thing is that there are differences.

Highlight the assets you feel you have with regard to the training you are applying for: your academic and personal achievements. Expect some selective programs to add a request for a more detailed cover letter and/or an interview before a jury.
It is therefore in your interest to rely on the “expectations” of this training program, but also to discover it through open days (in person or virtually), the information you may have gleaned from a career fair, on site…

Candidates are expected to present their motivation for the proposed programs, the pedagogical methods used, and the opportunities available at the end of the training program (possible further studies, professional integration) in a convincing manner and without error (pay attention to spelling, grammar, style).

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Formations non sélectives ou sélectives ?

A program is considered non-selective when it is accessible to all candidates who meet the admission requirements (having passed the baccalaureate, for example). In France, this is the case for almost all simple university licenses. Admissions are sometimes granted taking into account a geographical criterion of admission: priority of access is given to those who attend a high school located in the same academy as that of the university applied for.
Special case: when the capacity of a simple license is lower than the number of candidates, it is impossible to admit all the applicants. As a result, some applicants may, depending on their ranking, receive an offer of admission to the single degree they have applied for, but to another university. This type of situation is common for the first
years PASS (specific health access course) and LAS (health access license), but also for STAPS (science and techniques of physical and sports activities), law, psychology…

A course is selective when it is allowed to retain only a part of the candidates. The
Some programs base their selection on Parcoursup applications; others choose to add additional tests: a more detailed letter of motivation than just the “proposed course of study” and/or a motivational interview before a jury, tests, written and/or oral exams based on a program communicated in advance, etc. It’s all variable. The following courses are in this category: BTS, IUT, DNMADE (diplôme national des métiers d’art et du design), various schools with a baccalaureate level of recruitment, preparatory classes for the grandes écoles (CPGE), preparatory classes for higher education (CPES), university preparatory classes for the grandes écoles (CPUGE), accounting courses (first cycle DCG: “diploma of accounting and management”), bachelor programs, double university licenses, selective licenses, Paris-Dauphine University…

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Est-il obligatoire d’avoir un excellent niveau académique pour suivre une formation sélective ?

The level required to enter the competitive examinations of selective schools is high. Academic averages are often used to determine the academic excellence of the applicant.

It can therefore be very difficult for a student with an average of 10/20 (or less) to be accepted into this type of higher education school.

On the other hand, if the average is average but the future candidate excels in certain subjects, he or she has a good card to play by opting for a program that relies totally or largely on the subject(s) in which he or she scores well. In this case, he or she will have the “expectations” (prerequisites) of the requested training and will have a chance to be admitted and to succeed.

Si vous optez pour une formation supérieure professionnelle, le ferez-vous sous un statut étudiant ou sous contrat d’alternance ?

Most post-baccalaureate higher education programs (BTS, DCG, IUT, bachelor’s degrees, professional schools of all levels, etc.) can, for all or part of their courses, be offered in one of two ways: as a student or under a work-study contract (apprenticeship contract or professionalization contract).

Opting for the student status means that the training course takes place mainly in a school environment. Of course, a large part of this training takes place in a professional environment (notably during the compulsory internships, and
some of the vocational courses are taught by people who are active in the trades for which they are preparing), but the bulk of the training takes place in the school environment

This is not the case for training courses provided under the status of work-study. They are organized according to a “back and forth” principle between a vocational training establishment (vocational high school, apprentice training center, vocational school, IUT, university, etc.) and a
professional field of activity (depending on the professional specialty, it can be an industrial or commercial company, a liberal practice, a farm, a hospital structure, a
administrative organization…).
During the periods he spends in the workplace, the “alternating student” is placed with a tutor who is a real professional appointed as a trainer on the proposal of the company’s managers or the administrative organization and after approval by the administrative authorities.
There is therefore a part of training “by professional practice accompanied by a tutor”.

The advantages of this formula are numerous: acquisition of real professional experience that facilitates access to a job at the end of the training course, receipt by the alternating student of a salary (calculated as a % of the minimum wage), exemption from all or part of the tuition fees when the training is paying, the diplomas and titles prepared are the same as in the case of training under student status…
However, there are some drawbacks: the candidate is obliged to find his own training employer, the activity time is heavier than under student status since it is spread out over 47 weeks per year and adds up the school time and the professional time…

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Quelles peuvent être les réponses à vos candidatures des diverses formations supérieures ?

Selective training
A proposal of admission is made to the candidate.
“Waiting for a place
The candidate is placed on the waiting list (or complementary list). Such an answer can be transformed into a YES or NO at a later date, depending on the places that become available following the withdrawal of certain candidates who received a YES answer.
The application was not successful. This answer is without appeal.

Non-selective training
A proposal of admission is made to the candidate.
“Waiting for a place
Same comment as for selective training.
“Yes if”
The candidate is admitted on the condition that he/she agrees to undergo a support system. Such a response concerns candidates whose academic and personal record reveals significant shortcomings in relation to the expectations of the training applied for. In this case, the support system offered varies from one simple license to another: refresher modules focused on certain courses, tutoring sessions, first year of a two-year license, etc.

“Yes, provided you find the employer-trainer who agrees to sign the apprenticeship contract” It is up to the applicant, not the training institution, to find the employer who agrees to sign the apprenticeship contract. It has three months to do so.
The application is not accepted. This answer is without appeal.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Quelles réponses les candidats peuvent-ils exprimer et dans quels délais ?

Let’s take the example of an applicant who, on the opening day of the admission phase, would have expressed eight applications for admission and received the following responses: four “Yes”, two “Waiting for a place” and two “No”.

He has five days to decide which of the four “Yes” options he will validate. Whatever happens afterwards, this “Yes” is a given. Please note that if he/she does not respond within the specified time, he/she is considered not to have accepted any of the four proposals and is automatically removed from the four lists.

That leaves the two “Waiting for a place”. This candidate must then ask himself a question: does at least one of these two courses (perhaps both?) count more in his eyes than the “Yes” he has validated? If the answer is “No”, there is no reason to validate these two “Waiting for a place” answers and will therefore choose the “Yes” previously validated. On the other hand, if one or both of the two courses that answered “Yes” are more important to him than the one he validated among the four that answered “Yes”, then he should validate this proposal, in the hope that the answer “Waiting for a place” will later become “Yes”. He will have to wait for a while because the main admission phase will last until mid-July.
Such an applicant is provided with two important pieces of information: his or her rank on the waiting list, and the rank of the last applicant admitted during the previous year’s recruitment campaign.
If, two weeks later, as the number of withdrawals increases, the cursor moves up to him, he will see this answer “Waiting for a place” turn into a “Yes”, so that he will have a short period of five or three days (depending on the date on which he receives this new admission proposal) to choose whether to validate the second “Yes”, which will then replace the previous one, or whether he prefers to keep his first “Yes”. However, if this “Waiting for a place” answer results in a new “No” answer, he/she keeps the benefit of his/her first “Yes”.

In other words, the fact of validating a “Yes” in the first instance does not prevent one from hoping for greater satisfaction from another course for which one is placed on the waiting list, while having the guarantee of benefiting from the first validated YES if the “Waiting for a place” response results in a “No”.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

De nombreuses formations supérieures attendent des candidats qu’ils aient une bonne capacité au travail autonome : qu’est-ce que cela veut dire ?

According to the dictionary “Le Petit Robert”, to be autonomous is “to be able to govern oneself by one’s own laws”. By extension, for a student, it is being able to act effectively because of one’s own decisions and organization.

This is a particularly important capacity for any student who is taking his or her first steps in higher education in the first year of a non-selective bachelor’s degree program, which is generally characterized by the large number of students, the predominance of “lectures” in “large lecture halls”, the modest number of hours of training provided by teachers, and the absence of attendance control during lectures… Students are therefore asked to organize themselves well, to add to the proposed training courses by taking additional optional courses, to do a lot of work on their own (in the university library, in the laboratory, etc.), and to take the time to study.
language, by joining small spontaneous groups of cross-exchanging ideas, notes
reading articles and books …), etc.

This difference partly explains the high failure rates observed in the first year of non-selective university studies. It also explains to a large extent the preference of applicants for access to the first year of higher education for selective courses (IUT, BTS, bachelor’s degrees, schools, CPGE, double bachelor’s degrees, etc.), which are much more in line with the pedagogical practices practiced upstream to the final year of secondary school.

This marks a real break from the pedagogical approach of accompaniment that prevails in primary and secondary schools, where students are grouped in small, highly supervised groups.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Dans quels cas, et à quelles conditions puis-je éventuellement recourir à la phase d’admission complémentaire ?

Each year, the main admission phase runs from the end of May (May 27 in 2021) to mid-July (July 16 in 2021). Throughout this period, candidates receive answers from the various programs to which they have applied. At the end of this phase, more than 85% of the places to be filled have been distributed.
However, many thousands of applicants will not have received an offer of admission that is suitable for them. Others have not registered on Parcoursup and ask to do so at this late date. As a result, several thousand applicants are left without a suitable offer.
A complementary admission phase is organized for them, which opens
usually in mid-June (June 16 in 2021). Before that, in each academy, a census is made of the places that remain vacant, in order to make them available to such candidates. They can then express ten new wishes.
There is a tab ” access to the complementary phase ” by which you will be directed to the page ” wishes in complementary phase “.

Your new application files are submitted to an “academic commission for access to higher education” (CAES) which studies the files and advises the persons concerned by this second chance phase.

Source: “SOS Parcoursup” and “Parcoursup: 50 questions to ask yourself absolutely before choosing your orientation” (distributed by the Editions de l’Opportun)

Updated 5 July 2022