French vs. U.S. Education Terminology: Solving the Riddle

December 9, 2020

Have you ever wondered why French college students are so young? Here are some explanations and comparisons of France’s and the United States’ higher education level systems.
Yes, French “college” students average between 11 and 15 years old, but they’re not all geniuses! In France, the "college" school level is roughly equivalent to the United States' "middle school" level.

Are you from French St. Martin or Sint Maarten? Here are some more comparisons to help you make sense of all these differences:

French "Collèges" → refers to the first four (4) years of secondary education. In the United States, it’s often known as “Junior High School.”

French "Lycées" → refers to the last three (3) years of secondary education. In the United States, it’s often known as “High School.”

Higher Education...

takes place in US Colleges/Universities, or French Universities:

Undergraduate study:
Associate's degree → French "Bac+2", or "BTS, DEUST or DUT".
Bachelor's degree → French "Bac+3/4", or "License".

Graduate or postgraduate study:
Master's degrees → French "Bac+5" also called "Master".


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