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International graduate admissions: unsuccessful candidates
Admissions to Sciences Po are highly competitive and our decision should in no way cast doubt on your qualifications or experience. We receive many excellent applications and it is not possible to accept them all. The number of candidates increases every year, which means that we have to select only the very best. We understand your disappointment and your wish to know more about the reasons for our decision.
Here are some of the factors that may explain why your application was unsuccessful.
Assessment of your application
The selection panel assesses each element of your application in detail. The assessment is based on all the information provided by the candidate: academic transcripts, cover letter, choice of master’s degree, work experience or internships, career plan, personal background, nonprofit and/or political engagement, etc. Consult the selection criteria.
It is possible that, despite an excellent academic record, your application was considered insufficient in other areas, such as your motivation or the arguments put forward to justify your application to Sciences Po. It may also be that your qualifications or career plan are not sufficiently coherent with the Master’s programme to which you applied.
The CV is essential. It can’t be simply a chronological presentation of all your experiences and activities. A CV must be tailored for its purpose and highlight the aspects of your experience that relate to your choice of Master’s programme.
The cover letter must be carefully written, both in form (spelling, paragraphs, etc.) and in substance (the clarity of ideas and structure of arguments). Candidates are expected to do their research on the chosen programme so they can demonstrate their motivation and clearly explain how their qualifications and experience are relevant to the curriculum and educational objectives, as well as to their professional goals. The assessors read a huge number of cover letters every day, so they much prefer those written with care.
Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation carry a lot of weight in the assessment of your application. Your referee may not have taken the time to write convincingly about your qualities. The choice of referee is essential, but so is making him or her aware of how your study plan at Sciences Po relates to your career goals. It is also important to prepare the referee for the procedure he or she will have to follow (online account, time available until the deadline, language required, etc.) so that he or she can support your application as effectively as possible.
Readability of the application
The entire application must be legible. Documents must be correctly scanned and clearly named in the requested format. The care, time and attention devoted to producing a clear application also demonstrate the candidate’s motivation and respect for the assessor.
We only take into account the compulsory documents included in the application when it is complete and ready for the first assessment. We will not take into account supporting documents that arrive later (transcripts obtained at the end of the year, for example), unless we have specifically requested them.
The decisions of the eligibility and admissions panels are final and no discussion will be entered into.
No admission procedure at Sciences Po provides for a waiting list.