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Stephanie Buller


Dear Marcia,

I advise French students applying to UK universities and one of my students has just switched, not just schools but also educational systems, half way through his final year of schooling and in the middle of completing his UCAS applications.

He has swapped the IB certificates (which he has just realised won't give him access to high-ranking UK unis) for the CESS Pro. He chose Pro over général, against my advice, because he says UK universities won't know the difference between CESS Pro and CESS général (his is what his new director has assured him... and I wasn't there when the decision was made). He wants to complete his secondary schooling this year having already redoubled in the past, and the director advised this dubious route for expediency.

I am having huge trouble understanding the type of certificate he'll be receiving this summer. He tells me that he'll be examined in a number of subjects, his director tells me a different list of subjects (with some overlap between the two lists). But what bothers me the most is that nobody can tell me whether chemistry, the subject he's applying for, will be listed separately on his diploma or bundled with other sciences. They cannot tell me which body will be issuing his diploma -- his new director is very vague and just says "welcome to Belgium" when I press for clarity. If it helps you answer, the student has already passed before a "jury". Not entirely sure what this means!

Can you give any advice? I am tempted to switch his application to include Foundation Year choices as I don't see how places like UCL, Loughborough, Warwick will make him any offers.

PS Narics have been vague and the universities are not replying, or when they are, are saying they don't see CESS Pro as equivalent to CESS général, which is no surprise to me...

Many thanks,

by Stephanie Buller on 16 Jan 2018
Marcia De Wolf

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Dear Stephanie,
This is a very specific question for which I simply do not have the expertise to respond. In our school, most students complete the IB Diploma Programme which gives them access to UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, so I am surprised that you say it will not give him access to high-ranking universities. I have to advise you to wait for the response from the UK universities as they are best positioned to give that information.
Kind regards, Marcia

by Marcia De Wolf on 24 Jan 2018

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