Many people believe that winning a scholarship in France is only for geniuses or for those who had the best grades and occupied the top positions in university. This is nothing more than an urban myth and there are many scholarships available to study in France, to which many do not apply because they believe they have no chance due to these myths. One of them, the best, is the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship granted by the French government to the best foreign students.
I had the chance of winning this scholarship to do my studies in France, without having been the first of the class, or have had the best grades in university. In this post I will explain in detail what this scholarship consists of and I will share my experience as an Eiffel Scholarship holder. I hope this post will be an inspiration to all those who dream of studying in France and get stuck because they think that they will never be able to win a scholarship.
Scholarship: What is it?
As I mentioned, this is a scholarship granted by the French government to the best foreign students to do their master or PhD in France. The recipients of these scholarships are citizens of developing countries for the master’s level and citizens of developing and developed countries for the Doctorate level.
The study areas covered by this program are:
- Law ;
- Economy and Administration ;
- Engineering and Sciences ;
- Political Science.
Benefits of the scholarship
The amount of the Eiffel Excellence scholarship will depend on the level of studies to which you are accepted:
Master: For Master students the scholarship grants a monthly aid of 1181 € for a maximum duration of 12 months for second year master students, 24 months for freshmen, and 36 months for engineering students.
Doctorate: For students at Doctorate level, the scholarship grants a monthly aid of 1400 € for a maximum duration of 10 months.
In addition to this monthly assistance, the scholarship also covers plane tickets to and from your country. For those under 28 years of age, it also reimburses the cost of the supplementary health mutuelle up to € 264 per year.
Being a French Government scholarship holder, you are also a priority to have a room in the university residences where you can find rooms at a very affordable price which you can also reduce with the help of the CAF.
It is noteworthy that this scholarship does not cover tuition fees, unless you have been accepted to a public university in which case you will be exempt from registration fees. Otherwise, tuition fees will have to be covered by you. The French government suggests the institutions and schools to grant favorable financial conditions to Eiffel scholars, so it is worth asking at your school if there is a complementary scholarship.
Considering the monthly budget of a student in France, this monthly support helps you live comfortably during your studies in France.
The requirements to access this scholarship are:
- Be maximum 30 years old at the date of the selection committee for master students, and maximum 35 for doctoral students;
- Be of foreign nationality ;
- Apply to a program related to the study areas covered by the program;
- Have enough language level (French or English)
- Reside outside of France at the time of applying for the scholarship. It is not mandatory, but residents abroad have priority over those who already reside in France.
- The application must be sent exclusively by the university or school to which you apply, applications sent directly by candidates are rejected.
- You will be asked to write in half a page what is your professional project after finishing your studies for Master level. For doctorate level, you must also detail your research project, so it is very important to have a clear and coherent project with your study program and your career.
These are approximately the deadlines to apply for this scholarship:
- Call for applications : October
- Deadline for receipt of applications: January
- Results Publication : March
Considering that the school calendar in France starts in September, it is very important that you start your application to the school you want at least one year in advance, so you can apply for this scholarship.
Criteria for the selection of scholarship holders
The applications are analyzed first by the embassies of the countries of origin, which give their comments on the different candidates. The final selection is made by a committee for each study area based on the following criteria:
- Excellence of the candidate according to his/her career and professional profile;
- The international level of the university or school, number of Eiffel sholarchip holders in the past and whether they promote the program;
- The priority given to the candidate’s country of origin.
My experience as an Eiffel Scholarship holder in France
I was one of those people who believed that winning a sholarship was reserved for students with the best grades, so when I was looking for my master I didn’t even cross my mind to apply for a scholarship, even less that I could win one. Fortunately for me, it is the universities and schools that postulate the students for the Eiffel scholarship, and the school to which I applied considered that I would be a good candidate for winning a scholarship in France, and proposed me to apply.
The application process was quite simple, since I did it at the same time as the application to the school and they were the ones who prepared and sent the application. I only had to send the documents that the school required for my admission to the master such as my CV, diplomas, references, language proficiency results, GMAT, etc. In addition, I had to write in half a page what my professional project was after finishing my MBA.
At the time, I was very interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance, so I oriented my professional project towards the development of management skills given by an MBA, and necessary to develop sustainable businesses. In my project I highlighted the fact of having done my undergrad thesis on this subject and the fact of having presented my research in an international congress where it had been awarded. I also stressed the importance of studying abroad to have access to different cultures and make better business decisions in a globalized world, as well as the academic importance of France and Europe, and the best business practices from the region that could be replicated in my country to contribute to its economic and social development.
I think the fact that there was consistency between my academic career and my professional project influenced the decision of the jury for awarding me the scholarship. That’s what I liked most about this experience, because the selection criteria were not based solely on my academic record, which was never asked by the way, but in my personal experience and extracurricular activities that had developed my motivation to study in France.
My advice for those who wish to apply for this scholarship is to prepare a solid and coherent project that can have an added value for your country of origin. I also advise you to ask in your schools or universities during the admission process about the possibility of applying for this scholarship, since as I mentioned before only universities and schools can present candidates. I will be eternally grateful to the admissions team at my school for presenting me with this opportunity.
I hope that this post will help you prepare your application, if you are in the process of doing it, and if not, I hope that it motivates you and gives you hope to think that winning a scholarship in France is possible.