ParcourSup study: French higher education

Here is the URL link to the original dataset. This is my personal project about ParcourSup data, the French process to get to higher education and which type of students go to which type of higher education which will be published in multiple parts. I wanted to look at this data because higher education (also called post-bac education in France) is a huge deal and can also shows a lot about our society. It's also interesting to compare reality with what we usually view higher education. Last but not least, that's also a good exercice of data visualization and story telling which I hope you will enjoy.

How to use this file?

Most figures are interactive: you can select an item in the legend (usually on the right side) to remove this item from the figure. You can also double-click on it to show this item only and remove the others. Another double-click will display back all items. If you have any comment or problem, reach me out on my LinkedIn!


ParcourSup Logo

Back to school! Or rather, its analysis. Last time, we learned a bunch of information about French higher education. This background was necessary to understand the available formations: their size but also who are the students that will elect this formation in particular. If you want a reminder, here is the link

Geographical repartition

Before delving deeper into the data, a quick geography lesson! As we will explore how formations are geographically distributed in France, a map is in order to understand how the country is administratively divided. The main division that will be used are the thirteen regions, the biggest subsections of the country. Compared to similar divisions in other countries (the States of the USA, German Länder), regions have much less powers. You may notice 4 islands (and Guyane) to the left of the map. These are overseas territories also called DOM-TOM. I have chosen to lump all (along with Corse) in one category: "Not Metropole". As a result, I will not talk much about it as this category is the sum of several isolated and sparsely (compared to the other regions) areas which do not have much in common otherwise. However it will make the figures more readable as I would not have been able to draw much conclusion from these territories anyway.

Administrative map of France and overseas regions

There are some big differences between them (Nouvelle-Aquitaine is huge, Ile-de-France is very dense) but there is at least one major city hosting many high educations institutes (universities, engineer and business schools etc.) in every region. Regions hold departments, the other main administrative division. However we will use regions for our analysis as department are smaller and much more variable. Most departments lack a university or hosts a very small one: our analysis would overlook them and focus too much on the biggest education centers. Using regions will allow us to get look at the broader picture without having to look at every single of the 101 departments.

But there is one last division that could be useful to us: Academies, shown in the below picture (note that Caen and ROuen have now merged). Academies are a strictly educative division. Each academy holds a rector which oversees the academy education (to make it very simple) and execute the government strategy. It would make sense to use them for this analysis, wouldn't it?

Academic map of France and overseas regions

Well, that is not entirely true. For starters, academies often follow the previous regions frontiers with the same caveat than departments: some academies have much less smaller campuses (and overall higher education possibilities) than the others. That is less the case with regions. But the other and in my eyes main issue is that I want to show how some regions are disproportionally chosen... and some academies have been created exactly for the purpose to divide the workload on small but attractive regions (Paris and Lyon mainly, Marseille to another degree). Choosing academies will blur this information as Ile-De-France is composed of 3 academies, the smallest in size yet comparable to any other academy in the number of students. The rest of this analysis will show this phenomenon.

We will start with a map of every institution available in the data. The dataset provides coordinates which will put to good use. Each point will represent a formation (so there will be multiple points if one institution hosts multiple formations). The larger the point, the more students the formation can receive. The provided data is not always exactly on point but it is more than enough there. The initial zoom is enough to get a view across the whole country but you will need to zoom up if you wish to look at a specific area.