At Sciences Po, we see each candidate as a singular individual with a unique combination of talents, interests and passions. There is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" profile. We choose students for who they really are, and we want each and every one of them, regardless of their origins, secondary school, social and economic background or academic journey, to have the same opportunity to show their potential and convince our jury.
That is why, starting in 2021, all applicants - whether French or international - will be evaluated in the same ways, on identical criteria. The evaluations are demanding, and require diverse and complementary qualities. We make our evaluation criteria clear and transparent in order to give all the best talents a chance to be selected.
Our new and unified admissions procedure is divided into three pathways corresponding to the circumstances of each candidate. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find out which pathway applies to his or her circumstances at the time of applying.
Applications for the undergraduate programme at Sciences Po are subject to certain eligibility criteria. Accordingly, candidates are eligible to enter Sciences Po in the first year of the Undergraduate College if they are currently enrolled in study for a general or technological French Baccalaureate (FR), or an equivalent foreign diploma of secondary education. They must be preparing to sit these assessments for the first time, over the course of the academic year underway.
- Applicants who have obtained their Baccalaureate or equivalent foreign diploma in the 12 months prior to sending off their application may be permitted to apply, as an exception and on certain conditions. In particular, the candidate should not have been enrolled at another institution of higher education during all or part of these twelve months. This includes institutions offering preparatory classes for the Sciences Po admissions procedure.
- Candidates may only submit one application to the Sciences Po undergraduate programme.
- Candidates may only submit their application through a single admissions pathway.
Four Evaluations for all applicants
The new admissions procedure consists of four separate evaluations, which are the same for all applicants. This plural assessment requires students to have achieved academic excellence throughout their last three years of secondary school, confirmed by the results of their Baccalaureate diploma or equivalent. They must know how to present themselves and express their motivations in writing, and be able to convince the jury in an interview.
Whatever their academic journey and whatever subjects they have chosen at secondary school, all candidates have the same opportunity to demonstrate their talents and potential.
The first three evaluations constitute the application. Complete and rigorous, the application allows all candidates to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and well-rounded, with diverse academic qualities and extra-curricular activities. Upon evaluation of their applications, candidates are awarded three marks out of 20:
- A mark out of 20 for the candidate’s performance in their Baccalaureate exams or foreign equivalent
- A mark out of 20 for the candidate’s academic performance throughout the last three years of secondary school. This takes into account all marks obtained over the three years, as well as the student’s overall progress during their academic career, perseverance, feedback from teachers, socio-economic situation of the school, etc.
- A mark out of 20 for three written pieces: an essay in which the candidate describes their activities and areas of interest, another in which they defend their motivations and reasons for applying to Sciences Po, and a personal statement.
These three marks out of 20 are totalled to give a mark out of 60. In order to proceed to the next step, candidates must obtain a mark equal to or higher than a minimum mark defined by Sciences Po each year. This minimum mark will be established by the admissions jury officially, after examination of the results and in view of the quality of applications.
Candidates who have obtained the necessary mark will be invited to an interview, which is the fourth and final evaluation for admission. This meeting between the institution and the candidate is an essential part of the admissions procedure. The interview provides a new perspective on the candidate, which is distinct from the other evaluations since the examiners are not given access to the application. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to engage in discussion, attitude in response to questions, and the strength of their potential for success.
The interview takes place remotely, and consists of three stages:
- The candidate introduces him/herself
- The candidate is asked to choose between 2 images which he/she will comment on and analyse
- The candidate and the examiners will discuss his or her motivations.
After the interview, which is also graded out of 20, the jury totals the four marks out of 20 to give a final admissions marks out of 80. Candidates must obtain or exceed a minimum admissions mark defined annually by the university, in order to be accepted and become students of Sciences Po. This minimum mark will be established by the admissions jury officially, after examination of the results and in view of the quality of applications.
Please note: The following minimum A and B marks have been set by the president of Sciences Po for the 2021 intake and for all admissions pathways:
Mark A : 45/60
Mark B: 60/80
The Admission Decision
Each of the four evaluations carries equal weight in the admission decision: it is the combination of all these results that qualifies the candidate or not. The interview mark complements the other three marks obtained in the application phase. Selected candidates are chosen for their ability to shine in different and complementary lights.
Two platforms for each admissions pathway
All applicants are assessed against the same expectations. French and international secondary school students follow the same procedure, using two different platforms:
- Parcoursup for those preparing to sit the French Baccalaureate (FR);
- The Sciences Po admissions website for those preparing a foreign secondary school diploma.
A selection of the best talents
A commitment to selecting students with diverse talents has been at the heart of Sciences Po's educational principles since its creation. This new admissions procedure supports and reinforces our ambition to provide an education valuing openness, adaptability, critical thinking and the ability to build bridges between disciplines.
The new procedure also strengthens Sciences Po’s commitment to advancing equal opportunities through proactive policies, such as our Equal Opportunity Programme, launched twenty years ago. With evaluation criteria that reward both academic performance and extracurricular activities, and abolish the “eliminatory” oral exam (formerly the deciding factor of Sciences Po’s admissions process), the procedure gives a fair chance to all applicants, in all their diversity and in whatever field they may excel.
Finally, thanks to its presence on the Parcoursup platform, Sciences Po is now accessible to all students in France, across all regions and secondary schools. The application process is more approachable than it once was: Sciences Po appears as a choice amongst others, with clear evaluation criteria and requirements.