The “Admission Post Bac” platform used in France by high school students to apply for higher education has recently put almost 87,000 French students in a very delicate situation, as they still have not been admitted to one of their chosen institution. Maxime is one of these students, but he was able to turn this upsetting circumstance into a great opportunity thanks to the Go Campus program.
When you found out early July that you did not get admitted to your chosen institutions, what was your reaction?
Maxime – It was hard. All of the sudden your plan falls to pieces and nothing is looking up for the near future. I was without solution, no idea of what I would do next. Not being accepted not only affected my short term plans (comprising the upcoming school year), but more importantly it changed my entire professional and even life plan.
Once you overcame the initial choc, how did you react?
Maxime – I was a little bit mad. I was talking about my problem and what I considered to be an injustice to everyone. So did my parents. And that’s how we came across a solution. Friends of my parents talked to us about his son who had recently applied to attend university in the USA, with the help of an exchange organization. My first thought (and that of my parents) was to think: “Studies in the USA are too expensive…”, “It’s not for me…” and “It’s too late” anyway. But they explained that their son will be attending a university in Wisconsin for less than 14,000 euros per academic year, including tuition, room and board.
And you didn’t believe it?
Maxime – Absolutely not. But we quickly checked out the organization’s website to learn about the program. It was hard to believe, but it all made sense. I signed up for the Go Campus program and I found out that: 1) I could study a program in Sports Sciences, 2) It would cost barely more than what my studies in France were going to cost (the university I was planning on attending meant I was going to have to pay for accommodation), and 3) that I could start with ESL classes to make sure my English would be good enough to follow university classes.
So what did you do?
Maxime – I spent two days reading everything, doing my research. My parents said they could help. As long as they were onboard, nothing was stopping me from moving forward.
But you were still going to lose an academic year?
Maxime – No, not even. The organization explained that the educational system in the USA was based on a semester structure and that you could either begin your studies in January or August. So if I signed up before October, I could start in January 2018. Basically right away.
How do you explain that the costs turned out barely higher than what you had budgeted for your studies in France?
Maxime – Students receive a scholarship for international students from American universities. Colleges and Universities in the USA are looking to welcome more international students on their campus. The Go Campus program acts as a link between international students and North American institutions, helping us to apply.
Have you ever thought that you could fail? That studying in the USA would not be for you? That you might not like the culture? That you can’t adapt to the campus?
Maxime – That’s the most surprising part of this system. I can chose to only stay for one year (if I can’t adapt, I will come back to France with perfect English) or complete my higher education over there and to come back with a diploma. That scholarship offered by the university is valid for the totality of the studies, 4 years.
How do you see the future now?
Maxime – Why not stay the full 4 years and come back with a diploma from an American university! I know that in my industry, an American diploma is very well recognized and can open the door to many opportunities in France or elsewhere. All I know is that ten days ago I hit rock bottom and that all of the sudden I feel like I’m dreaming… and this dream will soon be reality. For everything else, we’ll see what the future holds for me. But for now, I have my motivation back.
NB: This post is a partial translation of an interview conducted by one of Go Campus partner organization. You can find the full interview in its original language here → Original interview.