A good student is someone ...

Un bon étudiant est quelqu'un ...

absorbing, interested, energetic, not afraid to fail.

cares about their subject and puts the effort in to reflect this

does good work academically.

time manages, can teach herself and adapt to different ways of learning, who can perform well on tests and assignments and learn the material. One one can cooperate with others and is willing to teach.

who cares enough to understand and master the material explained.

who comes to class, does each assignment on time and thoroughly, is interested in the course material and is respectful to the teacher.

who completes her school work with her best effort.

who does all her readings.

who doesn't disrupt class, engages in class discussions, and turns in work in timely fashion.

who faithfully, does the readings, homework, attends classes and passes the exams.

who gets good grades, studies a lot, and helps others in class.

who is attentive and studious, and who can listen well, do all the required work, and ask questions when needed.

who is finishes work on time.

who is genuinely inquisitive and critical.

who is hard-working, curious, and disciplined, and who values knowledge and who respects those that that share this knowledge.

who is interested and engaged.

who is passionate about the subject he or she is studying and dedicates his or her time and efforts to the subject. A good student also works well with his classmates and respects his/her professor.

who learns for the sake of learning.

who studies all of the time.

Who studies hard

who studies regularly

who works hard and has the drive to keep learning and growing. Some students may be more talented than others, but I think what defines a "good student" vs. a "smart student" is effort and desire to learn. A very smart student may not work hard at all or have any respect for the teacher or the class.

who works hard and pushes themselves.

who works hard.
who earns grades.
who values the material.

accidu et sérieux

de déterminé, travailleur et motivé

de motivé, de rigoureux, d'attentif.

de motivé, travailleur, méthodologique

de persévérant, organisé et consciencieux.

de régulier dans son travail

de sérieu et prenant ses responsabilités

de sérieux.

de studieux, sérieux

de travailleur.

qui est sérieux et assidu

qui fait ses devoirs, qui apprend ses cours et qui s'investit dans les événements universitaires.

qui participe en cours
qui travail ses cours
qui sait donner son point de vue et analyser

qui sache étudier régulièrement tout en ayant une bonne vie sociale.

qui travaille

qui travaille régulièrement,qui participe en cours, qui à la désir d'apprendre

qui travaille sérieusement, qui sait s'amuser, qui est sociable et qui participe à la vie étudiante.

qui travaille, fait ses devoirs et est attentif en cours.

sérieux, sociable, cultivé, intéressé

travailleur, joyeux, fétard


More French students said that a good student doesn't study all the time. They can party, have fun, and a good social life. Of course, a good student according to French student also is serious and does work to succeed. The differences between American and French students exist beause we go to MIT, where students are under a more rigorous course load than other American college students. But in general, there were strikingly, a great number of similar responses for what defines a good student: motivated, works hard, serious, interested/passionate. Although American students mentioned the passion and interest in studies more than French students.

Jamie, j'ai remarqué la même chose que toi !

Un étudiant américain semble se surpasser dans ces études et faire plus que ce que leur profs demandent. Nous nous ne nous tracassons pas à nous donner nous même plus de travail. Nous souhaitons reussir autant que vous mais nous ne jugeons pas nécessaire de s'acharner au travail pour réussir.

Il est clair que ceci peut s'expliquer parce que vous êtes à MIT , comme l'a dit Jamie, et qu'on vous demandent beaucoup plus que dans toute autre école parce que vous vous devez d'étudier énormément pour réussir dans cette école. Cela doit être également le cas dans nos grandes écoles tel que LENA, les HEC, ...

Le MIT est un institution bien spécifique, beaucoup d'entres vous disent qu'un bon étudiant est un étudiant qui travaille tout le temps .. je n'ai pas tellement cette vision des choses pour moi un bon étudiant est un étudiant qui travaille régulièrement, je pense également que les français associent la vie sociale à la vie universitaire car si un étudiant n'est pas épanouie en dehors des cours il ne pourra pas bien se concentrer dans son travail.

J'ai été déjà été au Etats Unis et j'ai été trés surprise par le fait que les élèves avaient le droit de boire, de manger en classe, je pense que c'est le meilleur moyen pour ne pas être bien concentrer.

je voudrais donc savoir comment se déroule les cours au MIT?

"Jamie, j'ai remarqué la même chose que toi !" Jessica, that's cool that we both agreed on these observations!

Lucie, yes, it's true some professors do allowing drinking and eating in class, which may be a distraction.

MIT courses (especially the in the sciences) are known as some of the most difficult, challenging undergraduate courses. That being said, the fact that we can eat in some classes does not mean the classes are relaxed in atmosphere. I would say that it is more because some students really don't have time to eat. But again, I think MIT is a special college/university; it tends to be more extreme/intense than other American colleges.

So are French students not allowed to eat/drink during class? How would you describe a good student Lucie?



chez nous, il est interdit de boire ou de manger pendant les cours! Nos profs nous empêchent aussi de macher du chewingum, c'est considéré comme impoli et comme un manque de respect, de la désinvolture!

Je voudrais savoir la différence entre MIT et Harvard, par exemple, est-ce aussi difficile? Ici, en France, on parle beaucoup de Harvard!

I have a lot of pride in my university, MIT, so you must excuse me. I believe MIT is a place where science and technology is truly at the state-of-the-art. MIT has a history of engineering and technology research that Harvard does not have. MIT was founded as an engineering school, and over its history has also made science a priority. Maybe I type too much about this!

Maybe MIT is like Ecole Polytechnique (Paris) + ENS? I am very curious to know what students at your university do every day. How many hours do you spend working on homework? How many lectures do you attend?

What kind of studies are you focusing on? Are you engineers, lawyers, scientists, etc?


In agreement with Jamie, I think the main difference between the views of a good student: studious versus social, is that we go to MIT, which tends to be rigorous enough to cause us to drop the prospect of a decent social life that one may find at many many other colleges throughout the United States. For reference, we have the concept of a party school, where academics take a lower priority and partying and having a good time are the main reasons for attending said school. Conversely, at MIT, we have a saying that goes "Grades, sleep, and social life; pick two" which implies that it is impossible to fulfill all three pillars of college life here, in which case most people choose grades and sleep. We choose grades because that's what MIT is for, academics, you're paying for education, you best be getting the most out of it. And we choose sleep because health is important; you can't get good grades if you're always sick and out of class.

I'm not sure if this is a fair extension of culture and social norm, but I have a friend currently studying at Cambridge University in England, and given that the drinking age is much lower, it promotes college students to socialize, go clubbing, and drink. Maybe this is true for France too; perhaps you guys are more free to do things such as drink (what is your legal drinking age by the way? 18?) which helps with socializing and just hanging out in general. (This is not a shameless plug for drinking by the way =P).

So how do MIT students loosen up and destress? It varies from person to person. Some people definitely party, party once every week, drink every week, maybe more. It's about the same, I suppose, as everywhere else. As for everyone else who isn't into the social scene, especially MIT guys, they play LOTS of video games. They're fun, you can play with friends, did I mention that they're fun?

Girls, I have no clue. Shopping? Shopping's fun. Watching TV dramas too like Gossip Girl and Glee (or for the Asian-inclined, Korean dramas, etc.).

In hindsight, none of these methods of destressing and relaxing are out of the ordinary.

Personally, I don't think working all the time defines a good student, which is characteristic of most students at MIT. I believe in a balanced life and working efficiently. Many students at MIT take huge class loads resulting in many all-nighters. Most MIT students are sleep-deprived. In constrast, I NEVER pulled an all-nighter at MIT. How? By keeping my life balanced between work and my interests, which made my brain work efficiently and fast.  I do love MIT but I don't support the lifestyles of many of the students here.

I agree with Evita (though I'm not quite as time-managed :-p) in that some of the stuff we do to ourselves is tradition here. At MIT, the norm is to kill yourself by doing too much. I would argue that MIT students have social lives, they just choose to do other things sometimes: I dont know of many people who aren't social, because a lot of the work around here is intended to be collaborate, and working with people is also kind of a social interaction. I don't think there is an emphasis on groupwork as much almost anywhere that I've heard of.

On that note, I realize that the French traditions of education are still very much traditions (lecture hall, respect the professor, total silence, no food/drink: I know all about that, being Russian and having expected the same thing :-p), but I've heard that there are more recent implementations of more group-oriented activities as well, and more participative learning. I'm wondering if you guys have anything to say about them? Do you find yourself workign with other people often in and out of class, and is that expected? Are most of your classes lecture-based? Can you freely interrupt your professor (politely, of course :-p) during lecture to ask a question?


I also think that there may be a difference in what we think is a good student (based on what we hope to achieve in our classes had we the time and energy to do all of it) and what the teachers think is a good student. There were mentions of respecting the professor, doing homework, doing well on tests, etc... but I (as a teacher :-p) think that a good student is first and foremost someone who tries to do well and puts in noticeable energy and effort into doing the work even if he does not succeed. This involves a greater interaction with the teacher also, for advice or for direct assistance. Even the way that we tend of assess students here is based on their progress throughout the class, the trend in their grades. I'm wondering if trying to do well is valued in France, as opposed to just doing well objectively? Do teachers appreciate it when students ask them for advice? Perhaps that's a moot point, with the BAC, as it doesn't take any sort of trying into account at all :-p

I guess Nadia answered a few of these questions in the "teacher" thread

Ici à l'iut, les profs sont assez abordables, en général, ils laissent la porte de leurs bureaux ouvertes et nous pouvons discuter avec eux, enfin, avec presque tous!


nous sommes presque tous des étudiants de gestion des entreprises et des administrations, quelques uns d'entre nous étudient dans d'autres départements; nous avons cours de 8h à midi et de 14h à 18h presque tous les jours; le travail à la maison varie beaucoup selon les étudiants, mais je pense que nous travaillons beaucoup moins que vous car nous ne sommes pas dans une université prestigieuse! Certains ne font rien en dehors des coursn d'autres travaillent beaucoup!



tu dis que les progrès sont pris en compte chez vous, mais ici, pas tellement, on est jugé sur le résultat à des tests, c'est tout! Si on rate, c'est fini pour nous, il faut repiquer!

lucie and yoan

As an international student ( i am from vietnam and i went to school in singapore), when I first went for classes at MIT, my reaction was: " omg, you can eat in here?" Certainly, at first i was suprised, and some what uncomfortable because sometimes the smell of the food permeated the lecture hall, making other students (like me) really hungry! But then as the semester proceeded, i realized this is  not a want but rather a need. this semester for example, I have classes from 10 to 5. I literally only have time to run from one class to another (especially if two classes are at two different ends of the campus). So i can only grab food and go! So i would rather eat in class and not be late for class, than eat outside and be late for class( and get completely lost in the lesson)


i think the reason why Harvard is so popular/ famous is the amount of publicity/ history that they have, not necessarily the level of difficulty. I think Harvard/ MIT/ Yale/ Princeton or cambridge/oxford in uK have similar high levels of difficulties. It will be more difficult in the areas in which the universities are "famous" for. For example: MIT's speciality is of course engineering. Princeton's is maths...etc. 

Ultimately I think a good student is recognized not only by how he behaves in class but more by what he does with the materials being taught: he should understand the materials, go the extra mile to learn more about the subjects being taught...etc

"I'm wondering if trying to do well is valued in France, as opposed to just doing well objectively?"

A l'IUT de Brest nous avons des examens 4 fois par an c'est beaucoup en comparaison avec des université comme celle de droit ou de biologie) mais ça n'est pas suffisant pour que les professeurs puissent nous juger sur le fait qu'on essaie de faire bien les choses. Il faut donc qu'on les fasse bien si on veut obtenir notre diplome ou passer en deuxième année.


Chez vous, au MIT les efforts sont très bien récompensés ?

"I'm wondering if trying to do well is valued in France, as opposed to just doing well objectively?"

A l'IUT de Brest nous avons des examens 4 fois par an c'est beaucoup en comparaison avec des université comme celle de droit ou de biologie) mais ça n'est pas suffisant pour que les professeurs puissent nous juger sur le fait qu'on essaie de faire bien les choses. Il faut donc qu'on les fasse bien si on veut obtenir notre diplome ou passer en deuxième année.

Chez vous, au MIT les efforts sont très bien récompensés ?

Mariya cela veut-il dire que vous pouvez réussir sans avoir de bons résultats ? Du moment que vous progressez ?! Vous n'avez pas de partiels ? Vous êtes évalués en continu ? Comment se passent vos évaluations au MIT ?

Mais vos professeurs ont-ils le temps de constater vos progrès ? Vous êtes qu'en même une grande école ! 

Et si un bon étudiant était simplement quelqu'un qui réusiit sans trop se poser de questions et couper les cheveux en 4?

No, I don't mean to say that- there are definitely plenty of formal assessments to keep things in check. I think they're more often and of a smaller scale, however, which is why I ask: my science classes usually have three or four exams a semester, as well as sometimes graded problem sets that also contribute to the grade. Additionally, teachers always say that if you're on the border between an A and a B, you are more likely to get the A if the professor sees you are trying.

Aside from this, there are also some high schools and universities emerging here in the US where no grades are given at all, but rather written evaluations from the professors. That is, of course, not the norm, but it still happens from time to time.

Most professors don't take that personal of an interest in their students, this is true, but sometimes if a student approaches the professor with problems and works with him to do better, the professor will care. There are also times when they just say to go talk to one of the teachign assistants, though.

I do think that asking questions is very important, Martine, because it shows that you are thinking about the subject on your own and past the material you are expected to know. It demonstrates interest and familiarity with the material, which in turn I think speak to being a good student.

There has been a lot of discussion on this forum about how serious or studious a "good" student is, and many of you have discussed the differences between students at MIT and students at other universities in the United States. 

I agree with Jamie, Sasha, Lucie, and others who suggested that the differences in responses between the American and French sides might be because MIT is an exceptionally studious place. However, I would like to point out that the differences between students is not just because of the prestigiousness of the university but also largely due to the culture of the entire country.

While I have been at MIT, I have had the wonderful opportunity of traveling to Brazil to teach some business courses, to Italy to teach mathematics courses, and to India to teach some software programming, and through all of these experiences I have found that good students OUTSIDE of US are more happier and more content/satisfied than are students within US.  

I don't know if my observation is accurate since I have only seen a small set of students in each of these countries (I shouldn't generalize), but I have always been impressed by this difference in students. In US, in our desire to be successful, we often forget to enjoy your time in school and we sometimes start stressing too much about jobs, money, and things like that.

In places like Brazil and Italy, even students at the top universities and school are much more open about life. They have fun, they laugh, and they smile. They do well in their classes but they don't feel the same pressure that many students in US face. I really respect this fact about the students in these countries and I wish we students in MIT, Harvard, and other universities in US could be more free and open about life :-)

In France, do you find that the best students are the most stressed students? How are the stress levels like in your university and in other universities and schools?

Anshul, pour moi le meilleur étudiant sait combiner études et amusement. Il a les capacités de réussir dans les 2 domaines. Ceci n'est pas donné à tout le monde ... Mais faut savoir décompresser au bout d'un moment et savoir aussi profiter de sa jeunesse !! Ce n'est pas quand on aura des enfants, un mari, un certain âge qu'on pourra se permettre de faire certaines choses : on sera plus limité que maintenant. 

Je trouve qu'à lIUT, nous ne sommes pas tant stressés que ça à part bien évidement, en période d'examens (du moins c'est mon cas :)).

A la FAC, je crois qu'ils sont encore moins stressés que nous : ils ont beaucoup de temps libre mais le travail personnel est conséquent. Par contre dans les Prépas, écoles d'ingénieurs, HEC ça doit être complètement le contraire : du stress à volonté ! lol

C'est mon idée.