Greta Jusyte: Academics

Greta Jusyte

Last week was my first official week as an exchange student at Sciences Po. The campus is extremely small and so is the student body. I feel like I’ve already met and recognize all of the students. The campus is currently under construction, so it seems as if I cannot escape the Drexel construction curse. Nonetheless, it is located in an old Jesuit college, so the old building is beautiful. It also holds a quaint library and had places for students to hang out or work on homework. In addition, academics at Sciences Po are extremely different from what I’ve been accustomed to in the United States.
For one, there is a strict attendance policy. You’re only allowed to miss two seminars or else you fail the class. In addition, the two absences must be excused with a doctor’s note or some other document justifying the absence. Further, participation and oral presentations make up a huge sum of the grade in most, if not all, of my classes. All of the presentations also have a standardized outline that consists of a research question and a thesis. It’s different than what I am used to, but I am excited to try something.
Similarly, the grading scale at Sciences Po greatly varies from the American grading system. Rather than receiving grades A through F, or a percentage from 0 to 100, we receive a grade from 0 to 20. Additionally, members of the administration who interact with exchange students mentioned that rarely anyone receives a 20 or even a 19. In fact, only a handful of extremely bright students receive an 18 and a 14 is said to be good. This grading system is extremely challenging because it forces me to shed away from turning everything into a percentage. However, I am usually really hard on myself when it comes to grades, so this system might change that attitude.
I love this school so far. Everyone is nice, passionate, and bright. Almost all of the students on campus speak two or more languages. Reims has been treating me extremely well.