The Transition

While students in the Dual BA Program come from all over the world, the one experience common to all students within the program is movement. Between campuses, and between continents, Dual BA Program students are always in motion, which allows them to take advantage of the best aspects of international education, not only in the classroom, but also as they apply to their day to day lives.

Students who are offered admission to the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po will have a robust support network available to help them prepare for their arrivals in France and New York.

Detailed information is included in the acceptance packet for incoming first-year students, as well as the third year transition packets that students receive in the spring term of the second year in the program.

Students who have confirmed their intent to enroll in the Dual BA Program and submitted their tuition deposits by May 1 will be assigned a Columbia University University Network ID (UNI) and a Sciences Po Student ID Number. This ID number allows students to activate their Sciences Po Student Space, access their Certificat de Scolarité, and begin the administrative registration process.

Certificat de Scolarité

The Certificat de Scolarité is issued by the main Sciences Po administrative offices in Paris during the first week of May, after all incoming students have confirmed their intent to enroll in the Dual BA Program. This document is the one that must be used to fulfill the “acceptance letter” requirement for obtaining a student visa, as it includes the beginning and end dates of students' terms in France as well as the relevant campus address.


Campus France/PASTEL

Campus France is a French government agency that helps students complete the visa application process and serves the needs of international students within France. Students from the 31 countries that adhere to the CEF Procedure (Procédure Centre d’Etudes en France) must begin their visa applications through Campus France, using the PASTEL process, which is completed through the Campus France website.

In the 31 countries in which the CEF procedure is active, the Campus France local office offers applicants interactive online assistance, information, and guidance using a personal messaging system, and the PASTEL process is the first step in completing an application for the Visa Long-Séjour.

For more information on how to create a PASTEL profile, refer to the user guide on the Campus France website.

Active CEF Procedure countries are:

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Benin
  • Brazil
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo (Brazzaville)
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • India
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Senegal
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United States
  • Vietnam


As students begin their final semester at Sciences Po, they will receive a Third Year Transition Packet. This packet will contain information on what to expect when students arrive on the Columbia campus, instructions on how to apply for University Apartment Housing, student visas, English-language proficiency testing, and updates to their financial aid awards, if applicable.


Students who do not hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residence must apply for an F-1 student visa for the duration of their studies at Columbia University.

ALP Essay Exam

In the spring of their second year, students who are not native English speakers will also sit for the American Language Program’s Essay Exam, which will be administered on their campus. The purpose of the ALP Essay Exam is to certify students' English proficiency before they begin classes on campus in New York.

Students will be asked to handwrite an essay in response to a short reading prompt. Every effort is made to offer passages that are easily understood and can be answered by any person from any field of study. There are new prompts for each administration of the ALP Essay Exam, and students will be given 105 minutes to complete the paper-based test.