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A training residency for young scholarship holders

Two years ago, École Polytechnique set up the experimental X-internat training course for pupils from disadvantaged areas, to help them succeed in their competitive university entry examinations. The course resumed at the beginning of September.

They are three weeks into the training course. Thirty pupils from classes préparatoires* in Île-de-France, selected on a means-tested basis and for their academic excellence, are benefiting from the X-internat scheme led by the l’X Diversity and Success Center.

The young people on the scheme are hosted every weekend and during school holidays on the École Polytechnique campus. During the Hallowe’en holiday session, they attend morning tutorials taught by Ingénieur Polytechnicien students, and in the afternoon, they practice sport activities or go to English-language support classes. "At l’X, these pupils enter an environment that is conducive to work and concentration," explains Sarah Pouyaud, Diversity Officer at École Polytechnique.

« With a bit of organization
and self-confidence,
they can achieve great things. »

Elie Bermot, Ingénieur Polytechnicien student

Elie Bermot, a student on the Ingénieur Polytechnicien Program, became involved with the scheme last year. "I learned a lot about teaching and communication in order to truly adapt to each pupil," states this second-year student. "I want to show them that with a bit of organization and self-confidence, they can achieve great things." Since the start of the new academic year in September, Elie has been working to train l’X students to supervise the pupils on this year’s course: "I have been suggesting ideas to improve the scheme, like setting up English oral exam prep classes and devoting more attention to general knowledge."

This year, the Diversity and Success Center wants to double its efforts in recruiting pupils from classes prépa. "We want to reach out even more to promising pupils who do not allow themselves to go for the competitive examinations or who might not know anything about École Polytechnique," says Sarah Pouyaud. Since its setup, over fifty Ingénieur Polytechnicien students and forty-five prépa pupils have taken part in the X-internat course.

*Classes préparatoires, commonly known as classes prépa, are intensive post-high school courses that prepare pupils for entry into the grandes écoles, the best universities in France.