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The real barrier lies earlier than the classes preparatoires, in high school.

It's all about picking the right track in high school and getting in the right optionals - very dependent on your parents' advice and hence educationnal level - getting the right teachers and having the good conditions to study and have good scores - depends on location hence social class - knowing which prep you should petition - there again, depends on advice received - etc, etc.

It's not as blunt as the US system (money, "good schools" and emphasis on fucking stupid extra-curricular activities heavily skewed towards upper middle classes) but it also works pretty "well" as a social filter.

After that, you have the money issue to support you during those years but as I mentionned earlier, it's mostly a matter of wether or not you can afford a higher education at all rather than which one you can get.

Once you are in the system, it's really and brutally meritocratic.
by Francois in Paris on Sat Mar 25th, 2006 at 03:45:36 PM EST
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