With the baccalaureate reform, the level of students at the university is increasingly heterogeneous, especially in scientific licenses. Tutoring, additional options or a four-year bachelor’s degree, each university uses the means at its disposal to best accommodate undergraduates in its courses.
The choice of majors and options at general high school has an impact on orientation, but also on profiles at university. If you are trying to get a science degree after the terminal, you will have students in your class who have not taken the same subjects as you.
Universities have responded to this heterogeneity by offering suitable courses, but their means of operation are unequal.
The importance of mathematics in undergraduate science
First edit: promote math from high school. Because if, unlike preparatory classes or engineering schools, professional mathematics is not necessary, it is strongly recommended to submit better documentation to obtain a scientific license.
Whether it’s computer science, physics, chemistry, biology or mathematics, “you have to take mathematics for science,” says Laurence Mouret, dean of UFR Sciences at the University of Aix-Marseille (13). This is also confirmed by the former head of biology, Christophe Pellegrino: “Students who graduated from mathematics and physics-chemistry do better here than those who graduated from SVT”.
Choose consistent paths
In addition to the results, you must also monitor the specialties that correspond to your project. “You shouldn’t think about grades, but rather about the profile”, advises Mélanie Guenais, Head of the Mathematical License at the University of Paris-Saclay (91). And it’s worth it: “Regardless of the mention in the matriculation certificate, it is precisely the students who have completed professional mathematics who will succeed best in the mathematics license,” he underlines, for example.
Laurence Mouret also noted this: “This is obvious for the specialization of digital and computer science, where the level of the student is radically different depending on whether he has taken it or not in high school.”
clear : your chances of success at the bachelor’s degree will be greater if you have already practiced the main subjects in high school.
Tutoring, options, each university has its own background
But don’t panic if you haven’t chosen the ideal specialties: universities try to harmonize student results. Support systems such as tutoring by older students or privileged contacts with university professors are introduced.. “We added options to compensate for all the shortcomings,” explains Laurence Mouret.
However, this support requires a lot of organization and is more difficult to implement at small universities. But it is precisely in them that you can expect the most significant differences in levels. Less attractive, these licenses are actually less selective.
“These are the ones that face the most diverse public”, confirms Mélanie Guenais. In this case, it is up to teachers to adapt their course content as best they can to suit everyone, at the risk of lowering the general level.
Fourth grade for non-scientists
Finally, for those who would stop science in high school, universities offer a science upgrade through the fourth year of the license. “This is what we advise you if the profile is not complete,” explains Mélanie Guenais.
This arrangement can, for example, be part of Parcoursup’s ‘Yes if’ scheme and can also be tailored to students whose results are too fair to even consider entering university.
All these facilities are also needed in the future, so that students have the same skills before admission to the increasingly selective master’s degree.