Undergraduate Admissions: One Procedure For All Candidates
- Undergraduate Admissions Procedure 2021 © Sandrine Gaudin / Sciences Po
Starting in 2021, all applicants to Sciences Po’s undergraduate college - whether French or international - will follow the same admissions procedure. A multifaceted assessment consisting of four evaluations, with clear, transparent and identical criteria, in order to select the best talents. Explanations below.
Applying for Sciences Po Bachelor’s degree: one procedure for all
At Sciences Po, we consider 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, and academic journey to have the same opportunity to show their potential and convince our jury.
This is why, starting in 2021, all candidates - whether French or international - will be evaluated in the same ways, on identical criteria. The evaluations are demanding, and require diverse and complementary qualities. The evaluation criteria is also clear and transparent in order to give all the best talents a chance to be selected.
A chance to shine under different lights: four separate evaluations
The new admissions procedure consists of four separate evaluations, common to all candidates. This plural assessment ensures that admission be granted to students who have achieved academic excellence throughout their secondary education, confirmed by the results on their Baccalaureate exam or equivalent, who know how to present themselves and express their motivations in writing, and are able to convince the jury in an interview.
The first three evaluations constitute the application. Complete and rigorous, the application allows all candidates to demonstrate the diversity of their academic qualities and extra-curricular activities, their proficiency and their complementarity. The evaluation of this application results in three marks out of 20:
- A mark out of 20 for the performance on the French Baccalaureate exams or its foreign equivalent
- A mark out of 20 for the academic performance of the candidate over the final three years of secondary school, which takes into account all marks obtained, but also progress made by the student during his or her academic career, remarks and appreciations from teachers, and the socio-economic situation of the school.
- A mark out of 20 on three essays: a personal statement in which the candidate describes his or her activities and areas of interest, another in which he or she defends his or her motivations and choice to apply to Sciences Po, and an essay.
These three marks out of 20 are added up to give a mark out of 60. In order to proceed to the next step, the candidate must have obtained a mark equal to or higher than the minimum mark, which Sciences Po defines each year.
Candidates who have obtained the necessary mark may move on to the 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 application, which is decorrelated from the other evaluations since the examiners do not have access to the application. The candidate must demonstrate his or her ability to conduct an exchange, his or her attitude in response to questions posed, and the strength of his or her potential for success. The interview takes place remotely, and consists of three sequences:
- The candidate introduces him/herself
- The candidate is asked to choose between 2 images which he/she will comment 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 adds up the 4 marks out of 20 for a final admission mark out of 80. Candidates must reach or exceed a minimum admission mark, set by Sciences Po each year, in order to be admitted and become a Sciences Po student.
Each of the four evaluations carry equal weight in the admission decision: it is the articulation of all the results that qualifies the candidate or not. The oral mark complements the other three marks obtained in the application phase. The candidates selected are chosen for their ability to shine in different and complementary lights.
One procedure, two platforms
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 a French Baccalaureate, and Sciences Po's admissions portal for those preparing a foreign secondary school diploma.
A selection of the best talents
The choice to select students with diverse talents has been at the heart of Sciences Po's educational principles since its creation. This new procedure reinforces and supports our ambition for an education that values openness, adaptability, critical thinking and the ability to create bridges between disciplines.
Furthering social and geographic diversity
This new admissions procedure, with evaluation criteria that values academic performance and extracurricular activities, is designed to give a fair chance to all candidates, in all their diversity and for whichever field in which they may excel. We know from experience that it is not enough to invoke diversity for it to exist in practice, no more than decreeing equal opportunities for them to be realistic.
For twenty years, Sciences Po has implemented a unique commitment to social and geographic diversity in French higher education. Today, our policy has driven our student body to be made up of 25% CROUS scholarship students, 49% international students, and nearly four in 10 students receiving financial aid. Our decision to combine our admissions procedures, redefine our evaluation criteria, and be present on the Parcoursup platform, is a demonstration of our ambition to take our equal opportunity policy even further. Thanks to this reform, Sciences Po will increase the number of CROUS scholarship students to 30% of each new undergraduate class, instead of 25% today.