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Old 01.11.2012, 03:36
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Applying to University

In another thread I mentioned that I am interested in going to the University of Geneva. The only problem is that I am not fluent in French. I am only a junior so I still have one more year before I have to decide.

I was just looking at the UNIGE website and they offer a 9 week summer course in French and also a year-long course. Would it be wise to take the 1 year course and start university one year after I graduate high school at age 19 or take a summer course and start directly after high school at 18. Also, when do most people start university in Switzerland?
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Old 01.11.2012, 14:59
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Re: Applying to University

A summer course is probably not enough for you to get your language skills up to scratch.

I don't know about Geneva, but if you look at the Lausanne university they specify a pre-uni course for those that are not native French speakers whose language skills are not good enough to go directly into university. You'll have to take a language test to see that your level is good enough.

If you are serious about taking a year long class, I would suggest you look into taking it in France. It'll be so much cheaper on all levels.

Go to the library and check out the book The New Global Student by Maya Frost. I've never actually picked up the book (which is why I suggest the library before buying it) but I've heard good things about it. It might help.
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Old 12.11.2012, 13:54
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Re: Applying to University

Thanks for the info. I found that the University of Geneva offers courses in French that last for one year through the École de Langue et de Civilisation Française (ELCF). It is a very confusing website and I am not sure if you must pass a French test before even being allowed to study french in preparation for attending proper classes at the university.


"Vous vous inscrivez dans la Faculté/Ecole/Institut de votre choix et passez l'examen d'admission de français ; en fonction de votre résultat, vous serez admis à l'Année propédeutique de français langue étrangère (niveau moyen) une année.
Si vous voulez renforcer vos compétences à un niveau élevé, vous vous inscrivez à l’ELCF, passez un examen d’admission plus complet et, en fonction de votre résultat, aurez l’occasion de suivre l’Année propédeutique et/ou le Diplôme de français langue étrangère (niveau avancé)."

Because of my admittedly poor french skills, I was not sure about what exactly this means, but I think it says that there is a test that determines whether or not you enter directly into university? The quote was taken from the ELCF website.

If anyone has any knowledge on this subject, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 12.11.2012, 13:58
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Re: Applying to University

Yes, it means the test will decide where you'll be placed.

You can't attend normal university without a c2 level in French (you're supposed to be able to express yourself as a native speaker). But at the ELCF the test will decide in what level they'll place you.

I know more about Lausanne uni as I teach there. Students are about 20 when they begin. Be aware that our high school diploma here has a much higher level than a US one, which means that you might struggle at first.
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Old 12.11.2012, 15:09
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Re: Applying to University

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"Si vous voulez renforcer vos compétences à un niveau élevé, vous vous inscrivez à l’ELCF, passez un examen d’admission plus complet et, en fonction de votre résultat, aurez l’occasion de suivre l’Année propédeutique et/ou le Diplôme de français langue étrangère (niveau avancé)."
If your French is good enough you can enter directly into university.

If it's not, the paragraph I quoted is the pre admission course I mentioned above. You don't need to take an exam to get in to the French course. However, you will take an exam to determine what level your French is to put you in the correct class.

As Melusine says, don't underestimate how difficult it will to study at GenevaU. If you don't have the required AP classes you'll need to do some university classes first.
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Old 12.11.2012, 17:09
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Re: Applying to University

I agree with what everyone said above, but I heard that doing a Bachelor's degree is very difficult for non-Swiss because the system is entirely different. I did my Bachelor's in the States and now doing my Master's in Switzerland at Lausanne, but I heard that they don't take many international students for a Bachelor's degree... I could be entirely wrong though.
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Old 12.11.2012, 17:15
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Re: Applying to University

The thing is, our high school degree is the same level than most BA degrees in the US. Which means that many US students who were hoping to get a BA degree here failed and lost a lot of money in the way. That's why the Swiss uni had to establish limits.
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Old 12.11.2012, 18:13
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Re: Applying to University

If you're relying on a high school diploma, they won't actually let you in, regardless of language.

The official requirements source.


Nothing in English, but scroll through it - Geneva wants 2 years of university on top of the high school for 1st year bachelor admissions. Plus you have to have all the listed subjects for all the last three high school years.

Quote:
comportant les branches de formation générale suivantes
(pendant les 3 dernières années)


  1. Première langue (langue maternelle)
  2. Deuxième langue
  3. Mathématiques
  4. Sciences naturelles (biologie, chimie ou physique)
  5. Sciences humaines et sociales (géographie, histoire ou économie/droit)
  6. choix libre (une branche parmi les branches 2, 4 ou 5)
Demeurent réservés les exigences linguistiques respectivement les examens complémentaires.
Pas reconnus sont les sujet AP tels que

  • Art History
  • Computer Science
  • Comp Government & Politics
  • Environmental Science
  • Music Theory
  • Psychology
  • Studio Art
  • U.S. Government & Politics

Diplôme d'études secondaires supérieures + 2 années d'études universitaires reconnues par l'université concernée ou 5 Advanced Placement Tests. Les 5 sujets doivent inclure 2 langues, les mathématiques, un sujet en sciences humaines et sociales et un sujet de sciences (chimie, biologie ou physique). Note minimum pour les AP Tests:3

Quote:
includes the following branches of general education
(during the last 3 years)

First language (mother tongue)
second language
mathematics
Natural sciences (biology, chemistry or physics)
Humanities and social sciences (geography, history or economics / law)
free choice (one branch among the branches 2, 4 or 5)

Language requirements are reserved respectively complementary examinations.
Are not recognized on the AP as

Art History
Computer Science
Comp Government & Politics
Environmental Science
Music Theory
Psychology
Studio Art
U.S. Government & Politics



Upper secondary school diploma + 2 years university recognized by the university concerned or five Advanced Placement Tests. The five subjects must include two languages, mathematics, a subject in the humanities and social sciences and about (chemistry, biology or physics). Minimum score for AP Tests: 3

Last edited by Fridge; 12.11.2012 at 18:28.
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Old 12.11.2012, 19:07
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Re: Applying to University

The OP did mention in his/her other thread that he is aware of the 5 AP test requirements. Though it's good to point out for other perspective students.
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Old 13.11.2012, 00:15
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Re: Applying to University

The quality of both the UniGe Fr. summer course (short modules and longer beginners intro, I took both) and the year one is really good.
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Old 13.11.2012, 06:41
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Re: Applying to University

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The quality of both the UniGe Fr. summer course (short modules and longer beginners intro, I took both) and the year one is really good.
Did you then go on to attend the university after taking those courses?

And just as a general question, since I would be taking 2 of the AP classes needed in my senior year I would receive AP exam results in May after the application deadline had passed. Would that mean I would have to apply the next year or would they look at my course list and transcript and allow me to apply to the university?
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Old 26.11.2012, 02:00
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Re: Applying to University

Oh, and also if I were to meet all the requirements for UNIGE or another Swiss university, would that guarantee me entrance to the university?
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Old 26.11.2012, 15:12
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Re: Applying to University

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Oh, and also if I were to meet all the requirements for UNIGE or another Swiss university, would that guarantee me entrance to the university?
No. You're acceptance is never guaranteed until you submit your full application. And even then, just like in the US, it's a subjective thing.
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Old 27.11.2012, 09:30
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Re: Applying to University

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No. You're acceptance is never guaranteed until you submit your full application. And even then, just like in the US, it's a subjective thing.
Ok, I see. In terms of acceptance, some of my AP results would not be available until may or june after the application is due. How would that affect my application? Would I need to wait a year?

Thanks
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Old 27.11.2012, 09:44
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Re: Applying to University

A friend of mine studied at the University of Geneva. To get her French up to speed did she spend one year as a au pair in a French speaking family studying part time. Even then was the language a challenge... but she managed. If your French is not pretty good would I not expect a summer course to be sufficient.
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Old 27.11.2012, 10:31
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Re: Applying to University

I would definitely lean towards the intensive course for one year. French is really tough, especially the writing, and to get to a university level of comprehension, and expression will take time.

It's also worthwhile to look for english programs in Switzerland, there are many, and that will make success much more likely.

I would take language lessons regardless to get the most out of your experience here, but it is going to put a lot of pressure on yourself to go from an A1 level to a C2 in a year...I honestly only think this is possible for those who have a real ear and eye for languages.

I'm quite surprised by those who say that the bachelor is a much higher level here than in the US. We found the masters program here to be more like a bachelor level in Canada...maybe there are more regional differences than we are aware of.
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Old 27.11.2012, 14:57
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Re: Applying to University

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Ok, I see. In terms of acceptance, some of my AP results would not be available until may or june after the application is due. How would that affect my application? Would I need to wait a year?

Thanks
You're going to have to ask them. Usually they won't look at your application until it's complete.
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Old 27.11.2012, 18:32
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Re: Applying to University

I'm teaching in Lausanne, and we consider that the students who got accepted and decided to study in a 'normal' faculty (that is, not in the Ecole de francais langue etrangere) must master the language as a native speaker. This means they are evaluated like our local students who followed the local school system. This can be a big shock for a foreign student.
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Old 03.12.2012, 03:19
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Re: Applying to University

So as I previously said, I won't receive some of my AP results until after the application is due. Although, I will have the required number of AP classes, because the AP tests are in May it is impossible to have the test results until mid-July.

Would it make sense to still apply for the University, or would they make me wait until I got the last two of my AP results and make me wait a year? I tried looking on the website, but they don't really say anything.

In applying to the UNIGE, there is that French test. Although I am pretty fluent in Spanish and can understand very basic French, I would almost certainly fail the test. Would that mean I could then study at the ELCF in the Année Propédeutique program which as the name lasts one year? I am very confused about this.

Here's the link for the ELCF of UNIGE if anyone wants it. It is in French.

http://www.unige.ch/lettres/elcf/index.html

Thanks everyone for the advice
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Old 03.12.2012, 13:22
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Re: Applying to University

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So as I previously said, I won't receive some of my AP results until after the application is due. Although, I will have the required number of AP classes, because the AP tests are in May it is impossible to have the test results until mid-July.

Would it make sense to still apply for the University, or would they make me wait until I got the last two of my AP results and make me wait a year? I tried looking on the website, but they don't really say anything.

In applying to the UNIGE, there is that French test. Although I am pretty fluent in Spanish and can understand very basic French, I would almost certainly fail the test. Would that mean I could then study at the ELCF in the Année Propédeutique program which as the name lasts one year? I am very confused about this.

Here's the link for the ELCF of UNIGE if anyone wants it. It is in French.

http://www.unige.ch/lettres/elcf/index.html

Thanks everyone for the advice

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You're going to have to ask them. Usually they won't look at your application until it's complete.
This is the time when you need to get in touch with them and ASK THEM.
They are the only ones how can tell you what to do and how to do it.

I promise, they don't bite.
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