Can I Appeal My Rejection?

I recently received this message from a reader who wanted to know if she could appeal her rejection:

Hi Maija,

I would really appreciate your advice with an issue concerning my Sciences Po Application. Unfortunately, today I received my rejection from the University. However, I am very much confident that there must be some sort of mistake.

I know this might sound too self-confident, but I am sure that I had an excellent application. I prepared every single component in advance, from recommendation and motivation letter to a well-planned gap year that perfectly fits the Student Profile of PSIA.

Plus, I was really expecting an offer– especially since two students from my home University with worse grades, less practical experience and an overall average profile got admitted. I know that all sounds a little arrogant, yet I was very confident with my application and therefore really irritated about my rejection.

Could you give me any advice in this manner. How can I deal with this Situation. Would it make any sense to contact the Admission Office directly?

So, there are a couple of issues to be addressed here.
The first is “Can I appeal my rejection?”
The answer is that yes, you can always contact admissions and politely request that they take a second look at your application. As far as I am aware, Sciences Po does not have a formal avenue for students to appeal an admissions decision. Nevertheless, you can find the appropriate email addresses/phone numbers online quite easily.
The second question is “Will it work?”
The answer is probably no. It’s very rare for this tactic to actually work. There might be a compelling reason to try if there is some new and important information that you did not include in your initial application that you think will make the difference. However, it does not sound like that is the case in this instance.
Perhaps the more important questions here, though, are:
“Was my application not excellent?”


“Did these other two students with worse grades and less practical experience really have better applications than I did?”
If you think your application was excellent, then it probably was.

(I did not personally review this student’s application, nor did I review the applications of the other two students mentioned.)

Sciences Po is an extremely competitive university and, unfortunately, they often have to reject even some of the most qualified applicants. They just don’t have space for all of the excellent students who are interested in attending their programs.
Keep in mind that Sciences Po looks for much more than good grades and good practical experiences.
If you look at their international graduate admissions criteria, you will see that, beyond academic and professional background, Sciences Po also takes into account the applicant’s career plans and personality.

Did you accurately explain what your career plans are and how Sciences Po can help you to achieve them? Did you show intellectual curiosity and a strong capacity for leadership?

 Even given all of the admissions criteria, perhaps you truly were a better applicant than your peers.

Maybe you were just unable to express that clearly in words.

It is also possible that Sciences Po thought you were “too good” —
meaning that you are already able to pursue your career goals without first completing a master’s degree. While your peers need a Sciences Po master’s degree in order to continue in their fields, you are actually in a good position to go ahead and start working on what you want to do now.
Whatever the case may be, I encourage you not to despair. There is a great opportunity for you on the horizon!
Perhaps you will spend a year working in your field. Maybe you will travel and see more of the world. You could even decide that another university program is ultimately a much better fit for your particular goals. Rather than seeing this rejection as something negative, see it as something positive.
All the best,
Read my post about dealing with a college rejection.

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