Foregoing a year off – extending careers

Student organisations have published their solutions for graduating more rapidly. What do students think about this?


Lowering the age at which students start to study, better guidance counselling at upper secondary schools and universities, the opportunity to take exams while doing national service, and more opportunities to study in summer.

These are some of the proposals that student organisations believe will accelerate the transfer of students to working life and extend careers by nearly three years.

It was calculated that the measures contained in the declaration issued February 24th by the National Union of University Students in Finland, the Union of Finnish Upper Secondary School Students, the Finnish Federation of Vocational Trainees SAKKI and other student organisations will bring as much as EUR 8.4 billion to the State’s coffers.

Lowering the age at which students start studying could speed up graduation by 18 months. The average age at which Finnish students start their university studies is currently 23.

Sociology student Lotta Kortteinen embarked on her studies in 2005. The start of her studies was delayed by an exchange year during upper secondary school, two years of travelling and one failed attempt at the entrance exams.

The guidance on studies offered by the organisations as a means of speeding up the process would not have made any difference to Kortteinen.

“I wanted to see the world before I started studying. I knew exactly what I wanted to study.”

On the other hand, a common, national entrance exam could have brought her studies forward by a year.

“If my points in the entrance exams had been good enough for a study place outside of Helsinki, I would definitely have taken it.”

According to the student organisations, offering studies in summer could speed up graduation.

“It’s already possible to take a lot of subjects in summer. The only thing that is not possible is contact teaching in my major subject, but even the department’s staff have to go on holiday at some point – as well as the students,” Kortteinen comments.

The declaration’s last proposal is better steering for graduates into work in their own field.

In this respect, Kortteinen is doing better than average. She got a job within her own field in the Federation of Green Youth and Students - ViNO before graduating.

“Mind you, I won’t graduate within the hoped-for time frame,” she says.

The declaration on the website of the National Union of University Students in Finland (in Finnish) » »

Summer studies at the University of Helsinki’s Open University » »

Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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