I woke up in sheer horror this past Saturday morning to a text from one of my classmates in my French class stating that our French class was half way through. It was 12 noon, I had just woken up, recovering from the long week of assessments and sleepless nights I endured during the week, so decided to sleep in I replied ” Wait, what we have class today, I did not get any notification”.
This is when I learned that at Sciences Po, if a class gets cancelled at any time during the term — like this one was a few weeks go, the professor can decide to reschedule the class for a Saturday. What’s worse, the professor does not notify you, it is up to you to check your class schedule in your online Sciences Po Portal each week to see whether there are any changes to your class schedule. Advised by one of my classmates, I logged onto my Sciences Po student portal to check my class schedule for that week and lo and behold there was my French class scheduled for Saturday.
The major difference between classes here is that unlike at Drexel where the professor usually tells you in advance that they might not be available for the class, at Sciences Po , you simply receive an email from the registrar’s office to let you know that class is cancelled, this can happen a day or two before you have your class and the teacher is not obliged to send out an email reminder to follow up on their absence or work to do in their absence. It’s up to you to keep an eye on your email at all times and monitor your class schedule on a daily basis to see when the make up class will be. So on my part, I just have to be better organized and seek further clarification if I do not understand something.
You might ask, well you only missed one class, so what’s the big deal? Similar to Drexel, Sciences Po has a strict attendance and punctuality policy, which in my opinion is less lenient than Drexel’s. At Sciences Po, you’re only allowed to miss two classes without any proof needed, but if you do miss class more than 2 times you get a ‘Default’ on your transcript. Also, if you are consistently late to class, the professor can decide to mark you as absent. You know what the kicker is though, even if you do have a valid and documented reason for not being able to attend class, Sciences Po’s academic rules and regulations specify that any student having reached the maximum number of absences authorized for a course, regardless of the reason, will receive a “DF” (default) on the academic transcript. The Sciences Po jury (examinations committee) is the only body able to reverse this decision which is based on documentation provided by the student and handed to the the academic registrar’s team. So basically even if you do have documented proof of absence, it is up to the jury to decide whether the proof you provided is valid.
Given the strictness of the attendance and punctuality policy at Sciences Po, I would highly recommend to anyone that they check their Sciences Po email and class schedule daily and, if you can join or form a group chat with the people in your class. It is not only helpful in terms of home work and announcements, but can help you with finding out when a make up class is scheduled. As mentioned above unlike Drexel where your class is fixed for a set day and time and seldom changes, classes schedules at Sciences Po get cancelled and rescheduled for different days and times quite frequently.