the heads of preparatory classes and adjusted courses detail their selection criteria

April 22, 2022 at 5:15 PM, modified at 5:16 PM on April 22, 2022

Some training courses are especially in demand on the Parcoursup post-baccalaureate job platform. As a result, places are very expensive. But with what criteria are the candidates then decided? The JDD asked the question to three heads of preparatory classes of the Grandes Ecoles (scientific / commercial / literary) and to three regulars of legal licenses in tension. Grades, class classification, bonus point for an option, teacher reviews, cover letters … Everyone has their own method and criteria.

Denis Choimet, President of the Union of Teachers of Scientific Preparatory Classes

“Since the introduction of the new baccalaureate, the marks of the candidates have increased, often between 18 and 20 on average; which makes selection difficult. Our recruitment has an algorithmic component but also a human one. We first perform a preorder using quantitative data such as the candidates’ grades, their rank, the deviation from the class average. We don’t look at all the issues. History-geography, which is not taught in the scientific preparatory class, is not taken into account, for example. We are interested in the chosen scientific specialties (mathematics, physics, digital and computer science, engineering sciences) but also French and philosophy, which weigh heavily in competitions, and modern language 1. Then we put it all back in hand. Each file is read carefully, in my school, by two teachers independently. We take into account the appreciations of the teachers indicated in the Future tab (personalized comments are the most enlightening for us) and the motivation letters to detect qualities such as curiosity, interest in science, rigor and stubbornness. At the Lycée du Parc, where I teach, we also take care of hiring from a fairly wide geographical area, and not just choosing students from the most reputable establishments. »

A student who is tenth in a very good class will probably be able to continue in the preparatory class; what is tenth in a middle class, is less certain

Alain Joyeux, president of the association of teachers of economic and commercial preparatory classes

“First we have a statistical treatment of the files. A student who does not have the average of a discipline that interests us – mathematics, geopolitics, economics, modern languages, philosophy … – will probably not be studied. This eliminates between a quarter and a third of the candidates. For the rest, the results will be examined by a commission made up of preparatory class teachers under the authority of the head of the establishment. Everyone will be able to re-evaluate them according to their criteria, for example by granting a bonus to high school students who have progressed between the first and last year or who are first in all disciplines. In each subject, we look at the average of the candidate, but also his rank and the level of class indicated by the school of origin. A student who is tenth in a very good class will probably be able to continue in the preparatory class; who is tenth in a middle class is less secure. In any case, the level of recruitment is not the same depending on the preparatory class requested. Beyond the grades, we also look at the teacher’s assessments of the student guidance project. If nothing is written, it is a bad sign. Motivation letters, on the other hand, are not decisive. We look at them in cases of reorientation. But for new graduates, we tend to read them very quickly. »

Read also: these students who are going to study abroad to escape the Parcoursup algorithm

Nicolas Thibault, Vice President of the Association of Teachers of First and Higher Arts (APPLS)

“We look at the grades, in priority, and the rank of the students. For “classical” (A / L) literary preparatory classes, applicants may have taken any specialty in addition to the core subjects. But if we have to decide between two files of equivalent level, we will choose the student who has studied literary specialties (History-geography, geopolitics and political science / humanities, literature and philosophy / Literature, Languages ​​and Cultures of Antiquity) . and Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Civilizations). For preparatory letters and social sciences (B / L), candidates must have continued mathematics until the last year, in the form of a specialty or in the form of an option. Not all commissions operate pre-classification. The averages are weighted according to the subjects that seem most important. But it is difficult to generalize because each institute does it in its own way. Examiners often have in mind the institutions of the contracting group. They know those who have a very high mention of “very good” in high school. Therefore, a student who ranks 15th in his class in a reputable establishment should not be censored. In general, little importance is given to the “activities and interests” that students indicate, but it is best to read them carefully. The same goes for cover letters. With few exceptions, they will not allow a file to be reassembled. But if there are errors in French, confusion of establishment or course, this will have a negative effect. Every year we receive one in the form of a poem. And there, it serves the candidate; that is not what we are asking for. »

He also reads: “We spent two weekends there! “: For high school students, the puzzle of the cover letters

Stéphane Braconnier, President of the University of Paris-Panthéon-Assas

“There is a decision support mechanism established by higher education, but it can be improved. We can, for example, increase the coefficients associated with the French high school grade, modulate the coefficients of the history-geography or philosophy grades, offer a half-point bonus for the choice of certain specialties or for the option “Law and degrees”. challenges of the contemporary world ”. What escapes us is how the student was initially graded. It is absolutely impossible for us to take into account more or less severe assessments. Under the double effect of Covid-19 and high school reform, we are seeing, in any case, an overall increase in student averages. This software allows us to pre-classify. It’s a must – we get 50,000 applications from all disciplines! But in a second step we also look at teachers ’appreciations and motivation letters. »

A young person has the right to be wrong when he took his election at 16 years old

Thibaud Boncourt, Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

“Our license is one of the most tense in France: we receive almost 7,000 applications for only … 65 places! To classify the applications, we proceed in two stages. First of all, we have previously classified the files according to the qualifications obtained in the subjects that we consider relevant for a degree in Political Science: those with a common core such as philosophy, French, history-geography and the first language of the life, but also those of specialties such as History-Geography, Geopolitics and Political Science, Economic and Social Sciences, Mathematics, etc. if the candidate has chosen them. But we do not discriminate against those who have studied other specialties, because a young person has the right to make mistakes when he decided at 16 years old. To make this pre-classification, we do not use the Parcoursup decision support tool; we extract the data and work it in Excel. Next, we look at the worksheets from a qualitative angle, in particular examining the training projects. We try to “recruit” different profiles, whether academic, social or according to the choice of specialties. We also take candidates who find it difficult to assign a grade at the beginning: returning students or young people coming from abroad, for example. Finally, we do not take into account the institutes of origin. We don’t want to do that, and we don’t have the means to have a small card in all the institutes in France and Navarre! »

Laurent Gamet, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Paris 12

“Every year we receive about 8,000 requests for about 800 seats (in addition to repeaters). But in general, the candidates apply in parallel to nine more faculties. Last year we recruited up to file number 5,000. To rank applications, this year we should look at the high school averages for the last five quarters. If there is an ex-aequo, we will decide between them thanks to the French notes and those of the specialties. But what really matters is the overall average. We do not look at the establishments of origin. The rank of the candidate in his class is not taken into account. The French university has no NASA software! We can only do basic things. And if anyone thinks you can read 8,000 cover letters, that’s a fantasy! »

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