The Sciences Po University, also known as Paris Institute of Political Studies, is a France leading university in the social sciences established in 1872. The University was founded as a private institution by Émile Boutmy to promote a new class of French politicians.Show more
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I would summarize Sciences Po as a school that offers so many possibilities and openings. Both in the wealth of meetings, in the quality of educational content, or professional opportunities. This school offers everything to flourish to the point that the main danger is to be trapped in the “bubble” Sciences Po.
I joined Sciences Po through the “Equal Opportunities and Diversity” Programme (Conventions Education Prioritaire), a programme created by the former director of Sciences Po, Richard Descoings in order to bring more social diversity to Sciences Po. This, added to the fact that scholarship students don’t pay any tuition fees makes me affirm that Sciences Po does much more efforts than other French Grandes Ecoles to attract students from the whole country, be it students from the Parisian suburbs, from overseas territories, from rural areas or from Paris itself.
I did my Bachelor on the Campus of Poitiers, a campus specialised in Latin American Politics. The programme was enriching although intensive. We had around 32 hours of classes in 1st year, in addition to the presentations and essays we needed to prepare at home. A positive point was the fact that classes were taught in 4 languages: French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. I started my Bachelor not speaking any Portuguese and graduated with a C2 level, which shows the efficacy of the language classes on this campus. Moreover, most teachers were always available to answer questions and to students. The Latin American programme met all my expectations, although I was exhausted at the end of it.
Then, I did my Master’s on the Campus of Paris, in European Affairs. We had fewer classes than in the Bachelor, which meant we had more time to study outside the contact hours. However, I’d say that the teachers were less committed in Paris. Some teachers were in charge of classes in English but were making only a few efforts to speak in English. In other classes, the teachers were professionals who had never taught before. This system can be interesting, but only if those teachers are committed to their job, which was not always the case. I’d have also liked to receive more feedback on my essays rather than only a grade on my final transcript.
Overall, I’d say that Sciences Po is an excellent university, but there are still things to improve. Among the positive things, I also have to say that the administration is very supportive of students who have financial issues. There are always student jobs offers on the internal Sciences Po website. I’d recommend this university, but I think students who want to join Sciences Po must also keep in mind that Sciences Po is a particular world, where you can find the worst and the best people.
It is a bit difficult to rate Sciences Po. Let’s say that you can find the best and the worst at the same time – in terms of ethics, content of the courses and methods.
However, this school taught me a lot: how to communicate with people, how to speak in public, research and analytical skills… It gave me the opportunity to live abroad and study anything I pleased, to learn new languages and to work in an international environment.
The most important, maybe: this school fosters and supports initiatives. Should it be associations, self-managed collectives, debates…
Sciences Po helped me to grow up and to develop my mind. Despite the downsides, I still warmly recommend it.
I went to Sciences Po in the frame of a post-master in urban planning. It was a great and intense experience.
I only regret that the classes weren’t in the main building, rue Saint-Guillaume, where the heart of Sciences Po beats. We were quite far from all the intellectual synergy.
I was an exchange student in Siences Po Paris studying International Relations. It was one of the best experiences in my life. This university has a really rich offer with a lot of interesting courses. What I liked the most is that professors were specialists in their field and the focus mostly on the practice which was really important for me, I also had a chance to be a part of few interesting projects. I strongly recommend this university to everybody interested in political sciences.