Sciences Po

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Posted

Hello everyone,

My dream is to go Sciences Po to study International Affairs, and with the recent opening of the Paris School of International Affairs I am now even more attracted. I'm asking for people to help me figure out what my chances are for getting in. I went to a state school in the southeast, majoring in International Studies and French and minoring in Public Policy. I was a student in a small, selective international studies institute on campus that is structured much like PSIA. My thematic concentration was International Governance and my regional concentration was Europe. In the int'l studies institute I wrote a 70 page masters-style thesis on an extreme Islamic group in France and its ties to nations in North Africa. I finished with a 3.85, graduating from the school's honors college as well. I was in a few organizations like Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, a fraternity, and I have some campus leadership experience. I also studied abroad three times: once in China, a month Parism and a semester in Angers, France (so I speak French pretty well). Right now I am working in a law firm ( I thought I wanted to go to law school, but now I have decided otherwise!) to get some professional experience.

What are my chances? Does anyone have any advice for the personal statement?

Thanks!

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Posted

Being a french native speaker who has studied political science and works in politics, I can assure you that Science Po is CRAVING for international profiles. That's their main weakness. They want to be more competitive throughout the world and they do know that they need to accept more and more international students. So, as a foreigner, your chances automatically raise drastically. So relax. ;-)

Secondly, the cultural gap is HUGE between French education system and the american system. That's what you need to be carefull about. I have the opposite problem actually, I had to adapt myself to US criterias. For instance, a very good french recommendation letter will be considered as a bad one in the US. Why? French people don't brag, don't flaunt about themselves. It's frown upon. We're way too modest (not for everything I admit, but for some reasons when it comes to application and to personal branding, we're more than shy). So, be carefull.

On the other hand, US universities are so competitive, so well-known, that international applicants have no other choice than adapting. French universities need foreigners. So don't over adapt yourself. They want you for exactly what you are. But keep in mind that the culture is totally different. "I'm the best" kind of SoP might be unappropriate here. If you really want to be accepted, why don't you get advice from the international community of Science Po. They'll tell you what to do.

Good luck!

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Posted

Thanks for the help! How would you suggest I write my SoP? I wasn't planning on bragging a lot, but I would like to know what you think.

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Posted (edited)

I don't want to venture an advice on your SoP. I know how hard is the application process, how insecure you can get, and how much attention you pay to other people advice. I didn't graduate from Science Po but from La Sorbonne, and I do have many french friends there but I don't know any international student enrolled there. My advice won't be relevant and might even mislead you. Each school has its own criteria and when it comes to international students, these rules change and are not similar to the ones relevant for natives. So, no. But I can't tell you this : Generally, Science Po has expectations similar to top american schools. But again, you're a foreigner so they might be less demanding. My american cousin started her studies in the US (community college or something like that, nothing really outstanding, she travelled a lot though), and got accepted in Science Po. If she had been french, I think she wouldn't have been admitted. To be honest, french students I know in Science Po and in La Sorbonne had a stronger background. But she was american : she got in. So RELAX, from what I read, you're worrying too much and your background is way better than hers!!! You'll be fine ;-)

Be aware that your french needs to be very good (at least if you're applying for a master in french). You have studied European affairs apparently, your choice makes total sense. Be confident in your SoP, don't brag as you could afford to do in an american application, i'm just saying (I was so suprised by this...). I encourage you to get in touch with the international community of Science Po. And if I can help you out with french I will be happy to do so.

Bonne chance et surtout, aies confiance en l'apport que tu représentes pour une université comme celle-ci. A nouveau, attirer les étudiants étrangers est un enjeu majeur pour les grandes écoles françaises. Ne néglige pas cet avantage ;-)

Edited by FrenchMess

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Posted

Have you applied/gotten an answer yet?

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Posted

I believe that the original poster is currently attending Sciences Po

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Posted (edited)

I've been looking around for Sciences Po acceptance criteria and I see some familiar names here. Might as well try to get some opinions here as well.

Firstly, a logistical question: The Web site says the last date to be considered for the Emile-Boutmy scholarship is March 13. I had originally presumed that those who applied earlier might be offered a place early, but would not be given financial aid until after all candidates were reviewed. However, I have seen that candidates in past years have been accepted and offered scholarship money quite early (December/January). I am going to apply by sometime next week, but will I have lost out on available scholarship funding due to applying this "late"?

I would like to apply to the Master's in International Public Management at PSIA. Here are the basic academic qualifications:

B.A. from American in DC, Print Journalism and German language/Minor in International Studies

GPA: 3.75

GRE: 730V 720Q 5W

I don't think they care so much about GRE.

As far as languages and "international experience", I have lived in Germany for a total of two years and in Austria for one (I got a Fulbright teaching assistantship) and my German has been rated at the C2 level by European standards. I also studied abroad in Turkey during university and have now been living in Turkey for nearly two years working at a consulting and publishing company, editing and occasionally writing economic forecasts for developing and emerging economies. My Turkish is at something like the B2 level. I've also had a lot of other random jobs and internships, generally in the communications field.

My major weakness, as I see it, is that my senior thesis isn't so great. One of those cases in which the research didn't really come together as I wanted or expected it to. I didn't get a bad grade, but it is not my best work, nor is it really relevant to the type of career I hope to pursue. I have discussed this with Admissions and they told me to feel free to attach some other writing samples that might be a better representation of my interests (such as the economic analyses I've written for work).

I am interested in switching gears and getting into more NGO work (possibly still in a communications capacity) and I find myself more and more drawn to researching transparency issues and journalistic freedom (observing the rather frightening conditions for journalists in Turkey will do that to you, heh). I feel that the IPM Master's is really perfectly aligned with what I want out of a program -- continued focus on languages (I am determined to learn French, which is what I would be taking for the language component), a wide array of quantitative methods/analysis courses, an opportunity to pursue a concentration in the Middle East and an internship or study abroad opportunity.

Anyway, could anyone who's been accepted tell me a little bit about themselves? Will a lack of French knowledge hurt me a lot here? What about my thesis predicament?

Edited by ef8763a

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Posted

ef8763a,

I don't know about SPo, but just a few thoughts from a fellow expat in Turkey.

If you are in Istanbul, PM me and I will send you a list of NGO's that you might be able to work for, probably on a volunteer basis though. I also know of some volunteer-based organizations badly in need of volunteers, again, in Istanbul

Have you looked at Boğazici University in Istanbul? They have a good program that people know regionally (definitely nowhere near the level of the top American Schools or even SPo), so if you are committed to this area, it might be a good fit. Your scores are definitely far and above the average there, plus, as I am sure you know, you will have an in with one of the tighter/more american stuyle alumni groups in Turkey.

Either way, I wish you the best of luck, and envy your language skills. My Turkish leaves a lot to be desired.

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Posted (edited)

ef8763a,

I got accepted to the IPM program of SPo earlier this Feb.

I'm a bit out of time now and I'll either write a post here or send you a PM.

Anyway RELAX, it doesn't matter at all that you don't speak French :) I have no knowledge of French hehe

Good luck!

Edited by cresxxl

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Posted

Question---just received an e-mail saying my application was "admissible", did anyone else receive this e-mail? And if so, how much longer can I expect to wait before I hear the final decision regarding my candidacy? Thanks.

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Posted

Question---just received an e-mail saying my application was "admissible", did anyone else receive this e-mail? And if so, how much longer can I expect to wait before I hear the final decision regarding my candidacy? Thanks.

I remember that I at least received 2-3emails saying that my application is 'admissible' before the final result came out...

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Posted (edited)

I got an e-mail from them updating me because one of my profs hasn't sent in his recommendation (which he promised he would do more than a month ago). He's gone MIA, not responding to e-mails. I don't get it. Going to call him today and tomorrow to try and figure out what's up. (Kind of annoying with the time difference.) I presume "admissable" means that all of your documents and recommendations are in.

ETA: And in French "admissable" means "eligible", so yeah...I guess it is eligible to be looked at by the committee.

Edited by ef8763a

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Posted

Hmm so when they told me that the recommendation was missing, the status at the bottom of the TopApply page was "sans recommandation". Now there is no status at the bottom, but at the top it says "Votre candidature a ete validee", which I believe is different that what it said before.

So...does that mean the application is in and I'm good to go?

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Posted

My espace candidat also no longer has a status update. Only a few days ago it said "admissible", and now there's nothing at all. Very confusing.

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Posted

My espace candidat also no longer has a status update. Only a few days ago it said "admissible", and now there's nothing at all. Very confusing.

Same thing happened to me, do you know why it is?

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Posted

The whole TopApply system is just kind of weird. I had e-mailed to make sure all my recommendations were in and they got back to me today saying that everything is fine and they will be looking at the application soon, so I gather everything is on track.

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Posted (edited)

Admitted today (waiting on funding), can anyone offer any insight into the Intl Security program?

Edited by lecorbeau

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Posted

Still waiting over here...got the status update yesterday saying it's "admissible" and has been passed on to the selection committee. I am trying to figure out who has been looking at it all this time if not the selection committee?

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Posted

@Decaf: Any updates? "Admissible", I think, means that your file has passed preliminary screening and will now be considered by a jury of some sort to actually make a decision. Have you received your decision yet?

I was admitted to Sciences Po last week and am, like lecorbeau, waiting on funding. I recently learned that recipients of the Emile Boutmy scholarship will be notified in May. More waiting, then...

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Posted (edited)

First March, then April, and now, apparently, May. Sciences Po's disorganization put me off to such an extent that I rejected their offer of admission outright a few weeks back.

Edited by lecorbeau

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Posted

Wow, sorry to hear that. Sciences Po's loss, I should imagine. Did you let them know of this? For a grande école proud of its politique d'ouverture internationale (which, to be fair, is very impressive), it would seem like something they might want to work to improve.

Where/how did you hear of the March and April dates for the scholarship results? And where did you decide to go instead?

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Posted

I called and e-mailed to confirm the "end of March" deadline for the Emile Boutmy scholarship. So I waited for almost three weeks to accept any offers of admission so as to have all the information on the table before making my final decision. March comes and goes, I e-mail again. They respond with an e-mail, without explanation or apology, saying that it is actually ~April 20th and now I'm reading on this thread that it has since been changed to May. As you might guess, I was furious.

Sure, I could write a more formal letter to their administration, but what's the use? When Sciences Po asked me to wait until April I made it clear to them that I was declining their offer as a direct result of their handling of the Boutmy scholarship. Writing a letter would merely get a form response (a week later) thanking me for my e-mail and that would be it.

Also, keep in mind I am not so naïve as to make my decision based on this single event. Context is important. Weeks prior I had been talking to current and past Sciences Po students who unanimously complained about its laughably inferior library (which I've seen in person), a bureaucratic administration poorly organized on every level, the chaos that has resulted from the influx of new students, and I personally feel that now with the passing of Descoings the future of the institution (and all of its well-intentioned reforms) are in serious jeopardy. Furthermore, I realized that after two years in Paris at Sciences Po I would be $70,000+ in debt absent financial assistance. The scholarship fiasco was merely the straw that broke the camel's back.

So a few weeks back I paid my deposit for another school (IHEID in Geneva) which has shown itself to be much more organized and infinitely more solicitous for the needs of their students and applicants. While I would much prefer to be in Paris as a city, attending university there at Sciences Po, at least from what I have gathered, would have been nothing short of nightmarish.

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Posted

I was also accepted a few weeks ago (after a very long wait) and was told that I would know about the Emile Boutmy scholarship by "the end of April." Now I e-mailed them and they told me "by May." I had e-mailed UCL awhile back and asked if I could postpone the date I needed to accept by and they said I could put it off until the first week of May...so we'll see.

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Posted

Now, I'm in the same boat, waiting for an admission decision. I hope I don't jinx myself.

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Posted

I was admitted here in February and they told me end of the month then for the scholarship notification. Then end of March, then I accepted a different offer . . .

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