Category Archives: Sciences Po

Sciences Po Admissions Rate

The overall admissions rate at Sciences Po was 22.6% in 2016, for all its programs.

Of course, that includes both undergraduate and graduate programs (in addition to dual degree programs). If you just look at master’s students, then around 30% were accepted in 2016. The overall undergraduate admissions rate at Sciences Po was 18.5% in 2016.

If you are applying as an international student, you may be wondering if that’s a positive or a negative thing.

International master’s students have a slightly higher acceptance rate to Sciences Po than French students.

The acceptance rate was about 37% for international master’s students in 2016. Hurray!

These rates make Sciences Po a very competitive institution. While it isn’t quite as competitive as Harvard, one of the main reasons may be that it just doesn’t get as many applicants.

In 2017, Sciences Po ranked #4 in the world for Politics and International Studies (just behind Harvard, Oxford, and LSE). Yet, it only had 16,669 applicants (and that includes all of its degree programs). Harvard, in contrast, had 39.044 applicants for undergraduate school alone. 

You can check my math and find other really great statistics here.

PSIA Programs at Sciences Po

Understanding the difference between the various PSIA program can be a little bit tricky.

The thing is, all of the students at PSIA (Paris School of International Affairs – Sciences Po) take classes together. Technically the school offers eight different master’s programs:

  • International Security
  • International Economic Policy
  • International Public Management
  • Environmental Policy
  • International Development
  • International Energy
  • Human Rights and Humanitarian Action
  • Development Practice

So what’s the difference between them? How should you decide which one is right for you?

This issue was the topic of my blog post in September of last year, and I think it’s a good one– especially as the application season heats up again! Read everything I had to say about it here.

An Application Misspelling

A reader writes:

“Hi Maija!

I just came across your site when I searched for an LSE Sciences Po comparison, wish I came across it before I handed in my application. (One year MPA at Sciences Po).

I’m writing you because I have a dilemma. I made a deadly mistake on my Sciences Po application -miss-spelling the name of the institution! And I’m wondering if I should contact admissions and attempt to send a revised one. It’s been two weeks since the deadline and the website states the decision will be given end of June.

I’d be happy to provide more detail and really hope you can offer me some guidance!

Many thanks in advance,

Misspelling”

Dear Misspelling:
Ah! I can imagine how nerve-wracking that must feel.
Unfortunately, there’s really not anything you can do. Since the deadline has already passed and it is already June, chances are that they have already reviewed your application and made a decision on it. At this point, you just need to wait and see what the decision was.
That said, assuming the rest of your application was well-written and without typos, it is highly unlikely that misspelling the name of the institution is going to be a major factor in their decision. If your background and essay are up to par, you should receive an offer of admissions.
University staff understands that most students send off many, many applications. While a single misspelling doesn’t look good, it is hardly the most important factor in your application.
Relax, breathe, and try to do something else while you wait for your admissions decision. As for the future, try to get a second pair of eyes to look over your admission essays in the future.
Best,
Maija

 

Looking for a second pair of eyes to review your application? I can help!

March 15 Deadline & Rush

Wow! In just one week, I received a rush of requests for Sciences Po application reviews from eleven different applicants— ten Master’s degree students and one undergraduate student.

Thank you to all of my readers for keeping me busy.

It has been a joy to read through all of your life experiences and motivations for pursuing careers in policymaking, development, international journalism, and more.

I am more than happy to help out anyone (applying to any university) who contacts me with their letter of motivation.

The Sciences Po international undergraduates still have until May 2 to submit their applications.

I look forward to hearing from those Sciences Po Master’s students who will be admitted in the coming weeks– and also to reading what the 2018 applicants will have in store for me, starting in just a few months.

Read my other posts:
Sciences Po Applications: Is It Bad to Submit at the Last Minute?
Can I Appeal My Rejection?

Nationality and College Admissions

I recently received this comment from a reader regarding nationality and college admissions:

“My education is [nationality] and it makes me feel insecure.”

Some countries are well-known for their great education systems, and others less so. You could be Malaysian, Portuguese, Moroccan, Syrian or Mexican. The exact nationality isn’t important. The question remains the same:

Should your nationality make you feel insecure about your college application?

And put another way: Should being from a country with excellent educational statistics grant you the right to feel confident?

As one of my all-time favorite quotes goes:

“Talent is universal. Opportunity is not.”

I always thought it was Hillary Clinton who said this. However, a frenzied Google search is making me second guess that. (I’d be grateful if any reader wants to investigate that one, but regardless of who said it it’s an excellent quote).

University admissions boards should understand that not everyone has the same opportunities.

Frankly, if you went to school in a wealthy neighborhood public school in the United States and weren’t president, vice president or secretary of at least one student club, then you’re probably not going to get into an ivy league school.

But if you are a bacha posh girl who grew up dressing as a boy just so that you could attend school in Afghanistan, then you probably weren’t trying to garner extra attention by running for student body president. Moreover, nobody would expect it of you. And it shouldn’t affect your admissions decision for college.

Some people are given a silver spoon at birth. Not just in terms of money, but also in terms of opportunity.

Universities want to accept the best and brightest. But they should also understand that it’s easy to be smart and accomplished when you have everything going for you since birth.

Any college where international relations or humanitarian issues are taught (or really economics or politics at all, for that matter) should be intimately aware of the disparities that exist between countries. More importantly, they shouldn’t discriminate based on nationality.

But do they?

Sciences Po claims that it doesn’t. In fact, like many other universities, Sciences Po strives to have a multicultural student body with individuals from many nationalities and many socioeconomic groups. Yet, there’s a caveat:

Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink) has a new podcast out called Revisionist History. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone.

In particular, he has a wonderful episode called “Carlos Doesn’t Remember.” (It’s free by the way!) In this episode, Gladwell talks about how the American school system isn’t truly a meritocracy. Even though universities accept students based on merit, that “merit” is often a direct result of a student’s socioeconomic status. A child from a wealthier family will have more opportunities throughout childhood, and will therefore likely have more “merit” when it comes time to apply to college.

In other words, they might accept a bacha posh girl, but she would first have to apply and, second, at least need to make a certain minimum score on her college entrance exams. But she isn’t likely to have the forethought or resources to do that given the struggle she went through just to get a basic education.

Although Gladwell focuses specifically on the American education system, the same can probably said for most well-known universities throughout the world– Sciences Po, London School of Economics, etc.

Here’s the good news for you:
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably going to apply to college. You probably also have a decent college entrance exam score. And that means you have the upper hand.

If you have taken advantage of the opportunities that are available to you and– very important– can express that to the admissions committee, then your nationality and the school you attended should not make you feel insecure.

As far as larger life lessons go:

Regardless of whether or not you get accepted to your dream school, if you worked hard for your accomplishments then you should be proud of them.

Ultimately, the most important thing isn’t your nationality or your school’s ranking. Rather, it’s showing what you can do with the education and opportunities that you’ve had.