Online application increased the popularity of universities

The number of people applying to study at the University of Helsinki in 2009 reached almost 22,000, which is 2,000 more when compared to last year.

 university students

The popularity of university studies is increasing throughout the country. The overall number of applicants in the whole country has increased by 16 per cent from last year.

This year saw the introduction of the online joint application process, through which one could apply to several universities by submitting one electronic admission form. The joint application system for universities covers all the main application rounds, 600 degree programmes in total.

“The electronic admission form made applying easy, which probably explains some of the increase in the number of applications. Another reason is the economic recession. That is always a time when people are interested in educating themselves, providing security in economically uncertain times,” says Vice-Rector Hannele Niemi.

The number of applications to the University of Helsinki increased, particularly to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and the Faculty of Science, both receiving over 25 per cent more applications than last year. The faculties of Arts, Biosciences, Social Sciences and Pharmacy also grew substantially in popularity.

Faculties most popular among applicants were, as in many years previously, the faculties of Arts, Behavioural Sciences and Social Sciences.

Around 15 per cent of applicants are admitted to the University of Helsinki. Vice–Rector Niemi is eagerly waiting to see how this year’s school-leavers fare in the entrance exams. The share of recent school leavers among those admitted decreased substantially last year, when universities were no longer allowed to give them extra points.

“The Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament has since issued a statement whereby rewarding extra points to recent school leavers could after all be possible. The new interpretation could not, however, be taken into account this year,” Niemi says.

Being admitted into higher education is not easy in Finland: only 40 per cent of the each year’s school leavers are able to continue their studies directly after upper secondary school. The gap years and prolonged study times have led to a situation in which the average age of polytechnic graduates is 25 and university graduates 27.

Text: Kati Puhakka
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Translation: AAC Noodi

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