Sciences Po/Columbia Dual Degree 2020 Admissions

Hey y’all-- couldn’t find a forum of students applying this year so I figured I’d start one :slight_smile: Post info/questions/concerns/stats/etc. Best of luck to everyone!

Thanks for creating this. I was wondering, does anyone know the title of the essay? I am keen on applying to the programme and would like to get some writing done before September, but you can only get to it after submitting the application. Because I still have to decide which campus, and a host of personal information has to be confirmed, I don’t want to submit anything yet.

Hey! You should be able to access the essay section on the Dual Degree application website, but the essay is basically “why do you think this program would be a good fit for you?” given that you’d be spending 2 years at each of those schools, the academic subjects they focus on, where they are, etc. Basically your standard “Why?” essay, and they give you 750-1000 words.

Hi everyone,

Hope you are doing well! This is the @GSTourGuides account, run by a Dual BA student on behalf of the Office of Admissions at the Columbia University School of General Studies. Please feel free to reach out to this account by tagging us in posts or sending us direct messages. We are always happy to be in touch! You can also contact us at, (212) 854-2772, or (800) 895-116.

As for the essay prompts, you can find a PDF of all of the information you will be expected to provide on your application, including essay questions, here: Please note that you cannot submit this PDF copy; it is just for reference and only complete applications submitted online will be reviewed.

The prompts for the two required essays are as follows:

  1. Describe how your experiences or ideas have shaped your decision to pursue the Dual BA Program. Why are an international academic experience and a two-year focus on the social sciences important to you as you consider the ways in which it may influence your future? Successful essays should not only identify and describe specific elements of the Dual BA Program that meet your needs as a student, but should also explain why the region of focus that you have chosen for your time at Sciences Po is compatible with your aspirations, academic or otherwise. (750–1,000 words)

  2. As a mathematician in ancient Greece, Euclid made a famous statement to King Ptolemy, “there is no royal road to geometry.” Given your success, can you describe a failure, either personal or academic, that you have experienced (where you lacked a “royal road” to be followed), and what you have learned from the experience? (500–750 words)

Please be in touch with more questions! The Office of Admissions looks forward to reading your applications.

Thanks so much for your reply! Your help will definitely be much appreciated by everyone on here who’s applying :slight_smile: Quick question: I thought the second essay had been removed, is it still a part of the application? I couldn’t find it anywhere on the application website.

Hi @adwin17,

You are right! My apologies and thank you for pointing that out. This year, the only the first essay will be required.

Best of luck with the application process and please feel free to continue posting your questions here!

Thank you for creating this thread @adwin17 !
@GSTourGuides , I was wondering if there is an opportunity to submit some extra supplementals (such as an art portfolio) on either the Columbia or Sciences Po applications, and if so, if it would help my chances at admission ? Also, if I take extracurricular classes outside of school, would those teachers be eligible to write one of the letters of recommendation ? I feel like my extracurricular teachers know me much better than my schoolteachers, as they have had me as a student for far longer and have had more chances to interact on a meaningful level with me.
Thank you for taking the time to read and answer these questions !

I am the parent of a student, so this is in no way an official answer to your question, but I can tell you what my daughter did. She had one letter from a High School teacher who knew her for about 3 years, and she had one letter from the Principal of her Saturday Chinese School which she attended for about 10 years. She is in France now and we are all extremely pleased with her choice to attend the dual BA program.

Could any students/parents of students/anyone knowledgeable about the program speak to the importance of taking high level math and science courses in high school? I know the program is focused on the social sciences, but is it still a necessity to take such courses to get in?

Hey, I’m also applying for this program. I sent an email a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t get a reply so I’m gonna post my questions here.
Are all SAT scores required when applying (including SAT Subject Tests)?
In late March, I took the STAMP Test (a language test) for Japanese. I received credits for elective requirements at my high school as well as the State Seal of Biliteracy. Will there be a section on the application where I can include this?

From what I know, they need some kind of standardized testing, like the SAT or ACT when you apply. They don’t require subject tests, but there’s a way to report them on the application website. They also let you submit a resume, where you can put the STAMP test and the State Seal. Hope that helps!

@GSTourGuides would it be possible to guide on what was the IB score range of the latest cohort. My DD did attend an information call from Columbia few months back so we have an understanding of the requirements but could you guide on the acceptance rate of the dual BA program currently.


@GSTourGuides Hi! One of the admissions officers in Sciences-Po visited my school last week for a talk and told us that Sciences-Po didn’t accept letters of recommendation from language teachers for the application. I was wondering if this is true for the Dual B.A. program as well?


Thanks for being so responsive @GSTourGuides . I’m a tad confused; the application you’ve posted here includes two essay prompts but the pdf version on the Columbia website indicates only one? Am I missing something?
Kindly clarify. TY

Oops, never mind. I see that you already answered. Disregard.

@jcrvch333 To answer your first question, you won’t be able to submit extra documents like this with your application. Your admission will be decided based on the information/documents that the application asks you to provide.

It would be preferable to have at least one recommendation letter from a teacher who has seen you in a classroom setting, as it is important for the admissions office to have the perspective of somebody who knows you in an academic setting. However, you may include another letter from somebody you know outside of the classroom, like a mentor or extracurricular supervisor or something similar.

@adwin17 As you pointed out, this is a program that focuses on the social sciences. As such, it is not necessary to take any high-level math or science courses. As long as you have demonstrated interests in the social sciences and international outlook (through coursework, extracurriculars, etc.) you will be in good shape!

@soul.child All applicants from anglophone high schools are required to submit their SAT or ACT scores. According to the admissions page ( “Subject Tests are not required for admission and will not affect admissions decisions.” However, you will be able to submit your subject test scores if you have taken any SAT subject tests.

Students from non-anglophone systems are still “strongly encouraged” to submit their SAT/ACT scores with their application.

As @adwin17 said, you can also submit a resume where you can include any other certificates or standardized testing that you would like admissions to see.

@DBA2020Mom We have not published official statistics on average standardized testing scores for admitted cohorts. While required for the application and important for the admissions team, the admissions office will consider all applications holistically rather than focusing only on applicants’ individual statistics.