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

A bit of background about this dataset and, broadly speaking, the French Education System if it's not something you are familiar with. We spend 3 years in Lycée (High School) to prepare for higher educations and the Baccalauréat (at around 17 years) which is the big exam to mark the end of High School. However, without any higher degree it's a bit worthless and here's one reason why:

Before taking the exam, the student will go through ParcourSup. It will make wishes to apply to higher formations it wants (up to 20). These formations will examine its overall academic records. Each formation will then either admit the student, put it in a waiting list (with a rank) or outright refuse it. The student will be provided these answers and may choose a formation it has been admitted to or wait for another formation. This process repeats up to three times until the student enters an additional phase. It's a bit more complicated but that's the gist of it. The Baccaulauréat is still a requirement to get to higher education though.

Moreover, there is not one unique Baccaulauréat, but three different kinds:

Students with good results will have a distinction with their Baccaulauréat. Let's get something out the way immediately: in France, academical formations are seen as the best ones. This is of course wrong but it's deeply ingrained in the culture and it will influence the choices of the students applying for higher formations.

General numbers

One key difference here: the word Institution will be used for any structure that offers one or many curricula. They will usually be universities or lycées (high schools) but that might not always be the case.

Here are the most used measures of the dataset so I'll explain them a bit more:

Thus, it goes like this: total_applications > ranked_applications > prop_applications > admitted_applications.