Difficult decisions: and they may last a lifetime

Lou Zillhardt loves working in the botanical garden on her internship

This year the government has promised reforms to help pupils in one of their most difficult decisions: what to do after leaving school

Education ministers are improving career advice at lycée and changing the application procedure in a bid to stop the 60% of students who leave or change direction after the first year.

France has a vast choice of further education, ranging from very high level academic studies at Grandes Ecoles, through university to a huge range of professional qualifications. There are free, public institutions (though there may be a signing-up fee) and private schools with prices ranging from a couple of thousand to several thousand euros a year.

The large number of courses can be baffling and unless you know exactly what you want in the future it can be difficult to decide a path. The advantage of all this choice is that, with perseverance, there is something for every pupil, somewhere out there.

Lou Zillhardt, 22, from Cazoulès, Dordogne, is an example of a student who has changed direction during her studies, but who has now found a course which she hopes will lead to a job she loves in the near future.

She set out to do a Bac S after 3è ...

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