Finnish universities are set to undergo a significant reform in their entrance examination process starting in 2025, aimed at simplifying the application procedure and broadening access to higher education. The Rectors’ Council of Finnish Universities (UNIFI) has proposed reducing the number of entrance exams from around 120 to just nine national exams, streamlining the process for prospective students.

This reform is designed to alleviate the pressure on applicants and allow them to apply for a wider range of study fields and universities. The new system will enable candidates to use a single entrance exam to apply to multiple programs, enhancing educational equality and accessibility.

Streamlined Process and Increased Accessibility

Marja Sutela, Chair of the network of vice-rectors for education at UNIFI, highlighted the benefits of the new approach: "Many fields of education already have experience with joint entrance exams, which have been shown to increase educational equality and regional mobility. This reform will further support these goals."

Under the new system, applicants will be able to select up to six different study programs during the second joint application period in the spring. Currently, preparing for multiple entrance exams is a significant challenge, but the reform aims to address this issue by allowing applicants to take a single exam for multiple fields.

Key Features of the Reform

  1. Reduced Number of Exams: The consolidation into nine national exams will significantly reduce the burden on applicants, allowing for a more manageable application process.
  2. Simplified Preparation: The amount of advance material required for the exams will be drastically reduced, with materials released only a few days before the exams. This change ensures that applicants do not need to start preparing until after the results of certificate-based admissions are announced.
  3. Focused Assessment: The new exams will emphasize the ability to understand and apply provided materials, with some sections tailored to specific fields to assess relevant subject proficiency.

Enhanced Exam Scheduling

To further ease the application process, the new system will avoid scheduling multiple exams at the same time, addressing a common issue with the current system. This change will allow applicants to focus on one exam without worrying about conflicting schedules.

Implementation and Next Steps

The draft proposal for the new entrance exams was open for public comment earlier this year, receiving positive feedback and considered largely workable by the universities. Necessary adjustments have been made based on the feedback, and the final details will be published by the end of October on yliopistovalinnat.fi and Opintopolku.fi.

Tanja Juurus, Project Manager of the student admission development project, expressed optimism about the reform: "This initiative is a significant step towards making higher education more accessible and manageable for all applicants. By reducing the number of exams and simplifying the preparation process, we hope to create a more equitable and efficient system."

The reform, which applies to written entrance exams for degree programs participating in the second joint application period in 2025, marks a major shift in how Finnish universities manage student admissions. It promises to enhance the overall experience for applicants and support their transition into higher education.

For more information on the upcoming changes and detailed guidance, prospective students are encouraged to visit yliopistovalinnat.fi and Opintopolku.fi in the coming months.