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Old 03.05.2011, 14:04
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How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

In Switzerland compared to France's Public Universities?


In France, most public Universities are overcrowded (especially in the First year of Undergraduate) because their only admission requirements are a High School Diploma (and DELF for non-native french speakers).

Overcrowded to the fact that in some classes, students sit outside the class room to hear the lecture due to the shortage of seats and the small class rooms.

Same with exams.
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Old 03.05.2011, 14:21
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

Doesn't happen here usually.
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Old 03.05.2011, 14:26
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Doesn't happen here usually.
Don't worry about it: classes are crowded only during the first two weeks. After that, lessons tend to get so boring people will start skipping classes and you will have the professor to yourself (if you aren't one of those actually skipping the class)

No, seriously: I agree with FrankS. Studied at ETH in Zürich and it was never the case that ppl would have to wait outside. Except maybe one class that had students from multiple curriculums attending (so instead of being the usual 200 students it was almost 400).
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Old 03.05.2011, 14:28
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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Doesn't happen here usually.
Depends on what degree you are doing. Some first year psychology or economics students find they have no space in certain lectures. You do have a space for the exam though, as it is a very strict procedure with seating plans. After that, it gets better, they let ~65% of the first years fail the first year exams to make space.
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Old 03.05.2011, 14:40
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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Doesn't happen here usually.


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Don't worry about it: classes are crowded only during the first two weeks. After that, lessons tend to get so boring people will start skipping classes and you will have the professor to yourself (if you aren't one of those actually skipping the class)

No, seriously: I agree with FrankS. Studied at ETH in Zürich and it was never the case that ppl would have to wait outside. Except maybe one class that had students from multiple curriculums attending (so instead of being the usual 200 students it was almost 400).
Lol at your first paragraph!

And I am a skip every once in a while, should skip less in Switzerland due to the free time I'll be having.

But! 200-400 students, thats a lot of people!

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Depends on what degree you are doing. Some first year psychology or economics students find they have no space in certain lectures. You do have a space for the exam though, as it is a very strict procedure with seating plans. After that, it gets better, they let ~65% of the first years fail the first year exams to make space.

I am planning to get Bachelor of Business Adminstration from there.

What I have understood from you is that they follow similar French system in "cleaning" the overcrowd of the students at the first year, does that mean the exams at the first year requires above average effort at studying for exams? (Obviously)
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Old 03.05.2011, 16:21
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

Very above average. I had to do them twice to pass.
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Old 03.05.2011, 16:37
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What I have understood from you is that they follow similar French system in "cleaning" the overcrowd of the students at the first year, does that mean the exams at the first year requires above average effort at studying for exams? (Obviously)
Administration would probably be university and not polytech. I was at the polytech and in most curriculums they would "clean" ~40% the first year and again ~30-40% the second year. That's because they are not allowed to have the 'numerus clausus'. Meaning that basically anyone having a bachelor can join. So they did it the hard way through exams.

Once you passed the second year you'd have to be pretty dumb to not get your master degree...

As for how hard the exams are, it depends again on what curriculum you choose. Obviously the more students in a year, the tougher the selection (not necessary the exam... but they just draw the pass/fail line a bit higher).

As a very personal recommendation: don't study alone. Find a studying group and join them! It really helps because 1. it motivates you to actually study and 2. it helps you not studying astray (i.e. studying things that the professor doesn't even want to know).

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:31
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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Very above average. I had to do them twice to pass.
Eh.

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Administration would probably be university and not polytech. I was at the polytech and in most curriculums they would "clean" ~40% the first year and again ~30-40% the second year. That's because they are not allowed to have the 'numerus clausus'. Meaning that basically anyone having a bachelor can join. So they did it the hard way through exams.

Once you passed the second year you'd have to be pretty dumb to not get your master degree...

As for how hard the exams are, it depends again on what curriculum you choose. Obviously the more students in a year, the tougher the selection (not necessary the exam... but they just draw the pass/fail line a bit higher).

As a very personal recommendation: don't study alone. Find a studying group and join them! It really helps because 1. it motivates you to actually study and 2. it helps you not studying astray (i.e. studying things that the professor doesn't even want to know).

Hope this helps a bit.

Pretty much French-Style University education minus not having Les Grandes Ecoles (Which I changed my mind about studying in France just because of that).

Now what you have said started to disappoint me in the Swiss education at University level.

But to me, a Degree from a Swiss Public University is far more prestigious than a French Public University.

Though I am going to spend far more in surviving in terms of the living expenses.

And I plan to study Business Adminstration as I mentioned in the previous reply.
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:34
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

And about the study group, it's a MUST for me.

Can't imagine going to exam without having a study group anymore.
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Old 03.05.2011, 18:14
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

My experiences:

Biology undergraduate at Universit of Zurich: first 2-3 weeks overcrowded with people sitting on stairs or standing in back of the room, then much better during the year (altough I skipped about half of the classes, maybe the other half was more crowdes?). We were about 300 biology studens, sometimes about 450 when lessons were together with chemistry students.
They clean the first and second year about 40% each time, lost a lot of friends because they had to reorganize their future plans... Most of them tried to study something similar, with similar success...
And yes, you will for sure get a place at the exam.
If there really should be too many students for a class, they will take care of this: installed a life-video screen in the classroom next door, usually attracting about 5 people. They were of course not listening to the TV-professor
Only problem are practical courses, where places are very limited. But if you are over average (and insisting that you really want this place and nothing else, or complaing long enough), you always get a place.

Friends who studied Geography at University of Zurich (UZH): same as Biology, but less cleaning as not so many students

Friends studying medicine at UZH: no problem, each seat is occupied but no one has to stand, as the numerus clausus prevents too much medicine students

Friend who started 2 times and now tries economy at UZH: extremely overcrowded, as this is the pool for all students who failed elsewhere, or the ones who never knew what to study.

The classes at ETH I had, were muuuuch smaller, between 10 and max 50 people, very personal.
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Old 03.05.2011, 18:25
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

The classes I've lectured here at the ETH have all been under 20, but they were also very specialized and specific.

I'm sure a general psych course in first year would be packed.

At the ETH they do a severe weeding out after first semester I believe (or first years) as anyone who has passed their Matura (highschool final exam equivalent) is entitled to attend.
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Old 04.05.2011, 05:53
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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My experiences:

Biology undergraduate at Universit of Zurich: first 2-3 weeks overcrowded with people sitting on stairs or standing in back of the room, then much better during the year (altough I skipped about half of the classes, maybe the other half was more crowdes?). We were about 300 biology studens, sometimes about 450 when lessons were together with chemistry students.
They clean the first and second year about 40% each time, lost a lot of friends because they had to reorganize their future plans... Most of them tried to study something similar, with similar success...
And yes, you will for sure get a place at the exam.
If there really should be too many students for a class, they will take care of this: installed a life-video screen in the classroom next door, usually attracting about 5 people. They were of course not listening to the TV-professor
Only problem are practical courses, where places are very limited. But if you are over average (and insisting that you really want this place and nothing else, or complaing long enough), you always get a place.

Friends who studied Geography at University of Zurich (UZH): same as Biology, but less cleaning as not so many students

Friends studying medicine at UZH: no problem, each seat is occupied but no one has to stand, as the numerus clausus prevents too much medicine students

Friend who started 2 times and now tries economy at UZH: extremely overcrowded, as this is the pool for all students who failed elsewhere, or the ones who never knew what to study.

The classes at ETH I had, were muuuuch smaller, between 10 and max 50 people, very personal.
Eeeeh!

So in short, extremely overcrowded for high salary majors, what's putting me off is what you have said about the economy being extremely overcrowded (where I will study BA which is close to it).

Guess I need to give Canadian Universities a look, although I much prefer living in Switzerland French part to learn the French language, since I am fluent in English.

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The classes I've lectured here at the ETH have all been under 20, but they were also very specialized and specific.

I'm sure a general psych course in first year would be packed.

At the ETH they do a severe weeding out after first semester I believe (or first years) as anyone who has passed their Matura (highschool final exam equivalent) is entitled to attend.
Because as you know, less student admit to Scientific Majors compared to let's say Business Majors.

For reasons like: Business Majors are easier to study and pass, and versatile in the Jobs market after graduating from them.


If anyone study, graduated or lecturing in University of Geneva or University of Lausanne please enlighten me about the "Crowd" there.
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Old 04.05.2011, 10:04
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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.....Guess I need to give Canadian Universities a look, although I much prefer living in Switzerland French part to learn the French language, since I am fluent in English.
I spend 8 years in the Canadian University system. I feel it is much more crowded as the Canadian mentality is that you can not accomplish anything in life without a bachelor degree.

So most of the universities are packed with tons of people who really have no clue what they are going to do, they just know they need to go to Uni. And take easy courses (and party every night )

This brings higher competition for better programs, so it's the school and program which will define the marks needed to get in. On top of that it's also a money maker, so as more people apply, the Universities will try and make more spots open to produce more tuition dollars.

It's fairly pricey too (but cheaper than the US).
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Old 04.05.2011, 11:40
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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I spend 8 years in the Canadian University system. I feel it is much more crowded as the Canadian mentality is that you can not accomplish anything in life without a bachelor degree.

So most of the universities are packed with tons of people who really have no clue what they are going to do, they just know they need to go to Uni. And take easy courses (and party every night )

This brings higher competition for better programs, so it's the school and program which will define the marks needed to get in. On top of that it's also a money maker, so as more people apply, the Universities will try and make more spots open to produce more tuition dollars.

It's fairly pricey too (but cheaper than the US).

Eh, you surprised me!

Thought that the high tuition of the Canadian Universities means that there's less students that study in such Universities than France and Switzerland.

It's money maker because the Canadian government doesn't support Canadian Universities with money, while France and Switzerland get supported by the government, so the University doesn't need to make as much money.
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Old 04.05.2011, 12:04
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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Eh, you surprised me!

Thought that the high tuition of the Canadian Universities means that there's less students that study in such Universities than France and Switzerland.

It's money maker because the Canadian government doesn't support Canadian Universities with money, while France and Switzerland get supported by the government, so the University doesn't need to make as much money.

The highschool system in Canada has a bit of a bias and theme that all students should go to university. It's a bit of a nonsensical brainwashing as we end up over qualified and underskilled/employed. Luckily Canada has a generous immigration system, and the trade and a apprentice requirements are filled by foreigners.

On the other hand, you'll find a handfull of B.A. grads whinning about not finding a job and being unable to pay off student loans. (As university is expensive, but the great entitlement attitude of many Canadians see university as a right, and many stack up big government loans to pay for it).
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Old 04.05.2011, 12:22
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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On the other hand, you'll find a handfull of B.A. grads whinning about not finding a job and being unable to pay off student loans. (As university is expensive, but the great entitlement attitude of many Canadians see university as a right, and many stack up big government loans to pay for it).
Right, because only those from the elite that have the means to pay such rates, not those with the talent should be allowed a university degree...

The "handful of ba grads" that are whining, are typically those that have a ba in something completely non-employable! Take a look at the differences of those coming from the sciences/engineering and those from things like "mediaeval history" and "ancient religion" and see how many are actually employed.

I’m sorry but no. Education should be accessible to everyone equally - if you’re too stupid to use it for something useful, then yes, you get to work at starbucks forever.

No offence if you’re in something I listed as stupid, I don’t have any problem with academia for the sake of academia - just please don’t expect the working world to welcome you with open arms… especially if it’s only a ba!

Edit: to clarify, the problem is not that Canada puts out too many university grads (far from it), it's the subject of study that those grads are in.
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Old 04.05.2011, 12:36
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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Right, because only those from the elite that have the means to pay such rates, not those with the talent should be allowed a university degree...

The "handful of ba grads" that are whining, are typically those that have a ba in something completely non-employable! Take a look at the differences of those coming from the sciences/engineering and those from things like "mediaeval history" and "ancient religion" and see how many are actually employed.

I’m sorry but no. Education should be accessible to everyone equally - if you’re too stupid to use it for something useful, then yes, you get to work at starbucks forever.

No offence if you’re in something I listed as stupid, I don’t have any problem with academia for the sake of academia - just please don’t expect the working world to welcome you with open arms… especially if it’s only a ba!

Edit: to clarify, the problem is not that Canada puts out too many university grads (far from it), it's the subject of study that those grads are in.
I agree with you one some of the points. But if you are serious on your education, you will plan ahead. Schools in Canada are very affordable if you plan your finances correctly from your allowable working age to graduation.

If you have the talent, but for whatever reason you family isn't the richest, you can choose the lifestyle to save the funds and make it--at the same time making your degree (even a properly planned B.A.) very powerful, even in the new grad market.

One thing I DID notice, is that my old Canadian university had 3 dance clubs on campus plus 2-3 bars which were full every night. You would have found many of the same people out everything who complain about lack of jobs for grads and high debt.


Sorry if I keep on picking on B.A. degrees. There are very powerful and successful people with B.A., but there's a good deal with people who got them for no other reason but to go to uni.
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Old 04.05.2011, 14:09
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

Is it possible to successfully study in Zurich and hold a part time job too? How many hours a week part time work is possible while studying hard?
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Old 04.05.2011, 20:29
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

You can't get into a French university with just a high school diploma. It seems to me that the minimum requireent is the French Baccalaurate.... Not the easiest set of exams.
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Old 04.05.2011, 21:14
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Re: How "Crowded" Are The Public Universities?

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You can't get into a French university with just a high school diploma. It seems to me that the minimum requireent is the French Baccalaurate.... Not the easiest set of exams.
Mitterrand wanted to have 80% of an age class with the baccalaureate. So only way to achieve is to lower the level.

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