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International undergraduate admissions: a two steps process
Qualifying for admission
Applications are pre-selected based on the combination of their strengths: academic performance, achievements and development in the classroom, extracurricular activities, motivation, personal objectives and the pertinence of these pursuits in correlation to the programme the student intends on being a part of.
The application form will therefore be used to assess the following:
- the academic background of the applicant
- the results obtained during secondary school studies
- language level
- motivation to pursue studies at Sciences Po
- the relevance of career objectives to the vision of the campus
Applicants whose file is pre-selected will be invited to an interview.
Applicants are informed via email whether or not they have been pre-selected. Shortlisted applicants are invited to an interview organized in different cities around the world.
The admission interview is conducted by a panel of three members: a representative of the President of Sciences Po and two professors or professionals. It involves a commentary on a press article in French, English, or another language depending on the language requirements of the campus (refer to the prerequisites of each programme for more information on languages).
Applicants are given 30 minutes to review the text after which they must present a structured analysis in a 10 minute exposé. A discussion of 20 minutes ensues during which the panel will ask questions regarding the article and other more general topic questions.
Prepare the text presentation (30 minutes)
You will receive a current affairs article 30 minutes before appearing in front of the panel. Use this time to read the text and develop a structured analysis by drawing out the key elements. Do not merely summarize the text but extract the main idea and situate it in its historical, cultural, or social context. You must do this without positioning yourself in the argued implications by taking a strictly personal perspective.
You must keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers, what is important is to demonstrate the capacity for reflection, and the sense of critical analysis and deduction. Neither is it a matter of having in depth knowledge on the subject matter but rather on being able to formulate a structured argumentation of the text.
The interview (20 - 30 minutes)
The first 10 minutes of the interview are devoted to the prepared presentation of the article. It must be clear, structured and must not exceed 10 minutes.
The admission committee will ask the applicant complementary questions about the commentary itself, as well as on the subject of the article (10 minutes maximum).
The last part of the interview (10 minutes) consists of general knowledge and more personal questions regarding motivation and career objectives, academic and professional expectations, interests and extracurricular activities,
The interview aims to confirm elements assessed in the application form and to verify the following:
- the applicant's general knowledge
- the applicant's language level
- the applicant's capacity to analyze and summarize the text
- the applicant's potential and capacity to adapt to a new environment
- the applicant's motivation and enthusiasm in pursuing studies at Sciences Po
Tips to prepare for the interview
- Keep up with current events. The admissions panel expects you to be well informed about what is going on in your country, your region, and in Europe. They are looking for you to take a critical approach to the news you read or hear.
- Prepare for the text presentation. Work on your critical thinking skills, your ability to analyse and interpret information in order to situate a text in its proper context and construct an organised presentation (introduction, thesis and conclusion). Bear in mind you will have 30 minutes to prepare your presentation and 10 minutes to deliver it.
- Practice your public speaking skills. Have a friend, family member or teacher ask you some questions about current events, Sciences Po and/or yourself. Pay attention to your body language, speak distinctly in a confident voice and ask for feedback.
- Get to know Sciences Po. The admissions panel expects you to be familiar with Sciences Po, the programmes we offer, our learning and teaching methods and student life on the campus you are applying for.
- Arrive in advance, or at least on time. Make your travel or commute arrangements well in advance. Plan to arrive at least 15 or 20 minutes early. Dress for confidence and comfort. Bring a photo ID, your invitation to the interview, some paper, a pen, a bottle of water, and a wristwatch since you will not be able to access your phone during the preparation time or the interview.
And moreover, stay calm and relaxed! The purpose of the interview is both to assess whether you suit our programmes and study environment and to see if we are the right choice for your future plans and expectations.
The admission decision
A final committee determines the admission decisions which takes into account both the evaluation of the application form and the appreciation of the interview panel. They meet in Paris on a rolling basis each year between February and June.