Undergraduate Admissions, Evaluation 3: The written pieces
The written pieces constitute the third evaluation of the application. They are designed to give a more detailed picture of the candidate: his or her personal background, motivations, intellectual ambitions for Sciences Po, as well as critical thinking and writing skills. The three written exercises are included within your application.
Three writing exercises
The written pieces consist of three exercises, which are evaluated by two separate examiners:
- A personal statement about the candidate’s personal background, activities and areas of interest.
- An essay outlining the candidate’s motivations and intellectual ambitions for Sciences Po.
- An essay on one of five proposed themes.
The candidate's personal background
According to their background, each applicant is invited to describe in each section and within 1500 characters (including spaces) their activities and areas of interest.
- The four sections you have to develop are the following:
- your animation or management or teamwork experiences,
- your civic or voluntary engagement (charity organisations or other context),
- your professional experiences (work placements or internships)
- sports, cultural activities, experiences abroad or additional languages spoken besides those studied at school
We do not expect a list of your various activities and commitments but rather a reflection upon your own story that will help us get to know you better through a few concise and analytical lines.
Motivations for applying
In this section, you should make a clear and considered declaration of your motivations for applying and your interest in the intellectual and educational mission of Sciences Po. You must demonstrate a solid knowledge of our Bachelor’s degree curriculum, programmes and campuses.
You will be asked to demonstrate your motivation for Sciences Po by answering three questions, and to articulate for each of them a clear and considered answer:
- Please explain your interest in studying social sciences and humanities at Sciences Po. How do these studies respond to your curiosity and questions you are currently asking yourself? (2500-3000 including spaces)
- The Bachelor of Arts Degree at Sciences Po is offered on several campuses and proposes different specializations. Please specify your two choices and your specific interest in each of them. (1500-2000 including spaces)
- Over the course of your secondary studies, what classes or workshops have motivated or supported you in your application to Sciences Po? (1500-2000 including spaces)
This part of the application gives candidates a chance to demonstrate their critical thinking and writing skills through an essay responding to one of five proposed themes:
- Amongst the texts you have studied in secondary school, which would you recommend to a friend and why?
- Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
- For what cause would you refuse to take a stand and why?
- If you had the opportunity to talk to an important political leader in your country, who would you choose, what would you tell her/him and why?
- What brings you joy? Explain and elaborate.
Guidelines for writing your essay:
- Applicants should select and respond to just one of the five questions proposed by Sciences Po within 3000-4000 characters (including spaces):
- The text should be personal and written by you alone. A sincere and authentic response is expected of each candidate.
- The essay is not an academic exercise. It is a written piece geared towards assessing your writing and critical thinking skills.
Calculation of your mark
At the end of Evaluation 3, each examiner awards the candidate, independently, a mark out of 10. This double assessment of the written pieces is totalled to give a mark out of 20 for the third evaluation of the admissions procedure. Both examiners have an excellent knowledge of the foreign education system and the Sciences Po Undergraduate College.
- Candidates from the French secondary school system must write their written pieces in French, even if they are interested in the Undergraduate College’s programmes in English.
- Candidates from foreign secondary school systems (applying through the Sciences Po admissions website) have the choice of writing their written pieces in one of two languages: either French or English, depending on the language of the programme(s) they wish to enrol in at Sciences Po.
How Can I Prepare for the Written pieces?
Sciences Po considers each candidate as an individual with a unique combination of talents, interests and passions. Whatever your background, skills or previous experience, your responses to these questions are a chance for you to tell us a bit more about yourself. We are not looking for a particular kind of background and there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Don’t just try to tell us what we want to hear: instead, write what you want to say, in the way you want to say it.
In order to best prepare for this evaluation, it is very important that your written pieces are honest, sincere and that you prepared them alone, without any outside help. Should this not be the case it could distort the exercise and you may be penalized in your mark.
Texts prepared with the help of a third party are recognisable and may have disciplinary consequences. Candidates will not be monitored while writing their written pieces but anti-plagiarism software may be used during the evaluation process.