How work Parcoursup?

14 Nov 2019

A student looking at a computer screen

While the 2020 Parcoursup calendar has just been revealed, here are some elements on the key dates, the running and the new features that you will be able to meet on the platform in a few weeks...


What is Parcoursup?


Parcoursup is the new orientation platform created by the Minister of Higher Education to ensure fairer access to higher education. This platform, which replaces the APB (Admission Post-Bac) portal, allows high school students to pre-register for most of the post-baccalaureate courses that exist in France, whether they are selective - as is the case, for example, in business schools - or not. The registration procedure is also open to students who wish to change degree during their course of study.


How does Parcoursup work?


Before the opening of the procedure, high school students in their last year are invited to find out about the higher education courses they wish to pursue and invited to discover the list of curriculum available to them. As part of the latest high school reform, the Ministry of National Education has introduced an "information phase" to prepare students' orientation. A last year high school class is now supervised by two head teachers who are responsible for accompanying students in the development of their projects. Two weeks dedicated to post-baccalaureate orientation have thus been set up to encourage future students to participate in specific fairs, meet former students, etc. As of 15 January 2020, you can therefore start registering on the Parcoursup platform. However, it will only be possible to create your electronic file from 22 January 2020.


The documents to complete your registration on Parcoursup


High school students, when preparing their application, must provide different information: their email address, their INE, their high school years results, their Baccalaureate early test scores - or their Baccalaureate results if they already have a Baccalaureate - as well as their Ocean number (Baccalaureate registration number). Finally, candidates must also share their project and motivations. The deadline for finalising your files - without forgetting any requested information - is 3 April 2020. So be careful about the deadline for each step.


The wish system on Parcoursup


You have until 22 March 2020 to make wishes for the training courses of your choice and until 2 April 2020 to confirm them. Be careful, the wish system has been reformed since last year, students can only make 10 wishes - against 24 before. On the other hand, these wishes can be "multiple". That is, a candidate can choose a specific type of programme and select several programmes with the same title in different schools, which constitutes as many sub-wishes. For example, you can choose a BTS Communication in multiple wishes and select several schools that offer this programme in sub-wishes. Please note that these sub-wishes are not unlimited: thus, you can formulate a maximum of 10 per multiple wish and 20 in total.

Two other major innovations have been introduced compared to previous years: a candidate is no longer required to rank his wishes in order of preference. Secondly, greater mobility has been introduced since baccalaureate holders will be able to be accepted in an establishment of an academy different from the one to which they are attached. In concrete terms, you can therefore apply for a university that is not attached to your home academy.


The answers to the wishes of parcoursup


Higher education institutions set up a "wish review committee" to review candidates' electronic files. They thus have access to the school file and in particular to the “fiche avenir”, filled in by the candidate's high school teachers. A major innovation introduced by Parcoursup, the future sheet contains the student's grades, his ranking in his class and the progress made during the first two quarters. The student's profile (behaviour, autonomy, motivation, etc.) and the headteacher's opinion on the future student's ability to succeed in the desired training are also mentioned.

With this information, the institutions define a pedagogical classification of candidates taking into account other criteria: benefit of a national scholarship, candidate's academy, origin field, etc. On 19 May 2020, the admission phase begins. Candidates then begin to receive answers to their wishes. You can receive 4 different types of answers - depending on whether the programmes are selective or not:

  • No: the candidate's admission may be expressly refused if the programme is selective.
  • Waiting: the candidate is considered suitable for the requested curriculum, but is on a waiting list due to lack of available places. If you are on the waiting list, you can still know your rank in the waiting list - it is updated on a daily basis.
  • Yes if: this answer is specific to non-selective courses that cannot refuse admission. In practice, the institution's wish review board considers that the candidate's profile doesn’t seem suitable for the programme and that it presents a significant risk of failure. If you still decide to enrol in this course, you may need to take part in support activities - such as a first year in two years.
  • Yes: the candidate is accepted into the desired programme subject to admission to the baccalaureate. If the candidate receives at least two positive responses, he must select one within a specified time frame. The other positive responses cancel each other out, but the pending wishes are still effective. Over time, the response time (to accept or refuse a course) becomes shorter and shorter, but it will be suspended during the baccalaureate exams. Be careful, if you don’t respond to a proposal within the time limit, your silence is considered a refusal, and the place is given to a "waiting" candidate.

The main admission phase will end on 17 July 2020, by which time applicants must have accepted a proposal for admission if they have received one.

At the end of June, a complementary phase begins during which future graduates can make new wishes, depending on the number of places available. If, at the end of the baccalaureate results, a candidate has not received any assignment, a commission may make programmes proposals to him in the schools where there are still places available.  At the end of the procedure, each baccalaureate student should have received a proposal to enrol in higher education.


Can we avoid the Parcoursup platform to enrol in higher education?


For some schools, it is possible to avoid the usual procedure (Parcoursup) and go through direct admission. This is the case for Sciences Po or certain leading business schools, such as IPAG, which set their own admission process. For 2020, some of the courses in these schools are required to be listed on Parcoursup, but they maintain their particular registration process. This is the case of the IPAG's Grande École Programme: this programme is accessible - after high school - only through the SESAME exam, but it still requires an application on Parcoursup. Regarding admission to other courses, such as BBA or Bachelor, future students can apply directly on the IPAG website and the selection is based on their application file and the number of places available.