Universities of applied sciences have begun to prepare carefully for student admissions in spring 2021. The aim is to make choices that ensure equal treatment of applicants and the organisation of the entrance examinations in a safe manner for health. Entrance examinations are organised throughout Finland in several locations, following the instructions and recommendations issued by the authorities (Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare).
-Preparation for student admissions in spring 2021 is completely different from last year. We have had time to assess the implementation and problems of the two-stage entrance examination for universities of applied sciences organised in May and June 2020, says Executive Director Petri Lempinen from Arene, the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.
Last March, due to the spread of the coronavirus, Finland moved to emergency conditions at the same time as the joint application process began. Changes to student admissions had to be made quickly. At that time, decisions on a two-stage remote and in-person examination were made in a situation where the authorities had closed the facilities of educational institutions from teaching, and there were plenty of restrictions in force in the country, for example, the shutting down of the Uusimaa district.
During the covid-19 period, all activities taking place on the campuses of universities of applied sciences have been guided by instructions and recommendations issued by the authorities (Ministry of Education and Culture, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare). The teaching has an established hybrid model in which necessary contact teaching is arranged on campuses, taking into account safety distances and hygiene. Otherwise, e-learning is used.
The UAS entrance examination was also organised twice last year in exceptional circumstances. Around 36,000 applicants participated in the in-person examinations held in June and October. There is no information that the entrance examinations would have launched transmission chains.
-By organising a one-step commuter test, universities of applied sciences want to remove the suspicions of the possibilities of fraud that were discussed in connection with remote tests of higher education institutions in 2020. Because of the equal treatment of applicants, it is important to eliminate the possibility of abuses during the exam performance, Lempinen explains the background to decision-making.
University of Applied Sciences entrance examination in exceptional circumstances
During the application period for joint applications, applicants register for the UAS entrance examination in the Studyinfo.fi service. Entrance examinations are organised throughout Finland in several locations.
Applicants have the possibility to choose the place and time of the exam from the available options. The applicant may also choose an entrance examination location in a university of applied sciences for which they have not applied, but which is located near their own place of residence. This reduces travel related to participation in entrance examinations.
Universities of applied sciences can organise entrance examinations on eight different days, which divides the number of applicants into smaller groups than usual. This enables compliance with health and safety guidelines. Universities of applied sciences decide on the number of entrance examinations they use.
The joint entrance examination is used in 22 universities of applied sciences to select students for studies leading to a bachelor's degree. The same exam can be used to apply to different universities of applied sciences and education in different fields. Universities of applied sciences have separate admission procedures for studies leading to a master's degree.
Joint application period in March 2021
Applications for Finnish-language and Swedish-language training for universities of applied sciences starting in autumn 2021 will be submitted in the joint application period from 17 March to 31 March 2021. In the joint application process, applicants apply for studies leading to a bachelor’s degree (Polytechnic) and a master's degree. 22 universities of applied sciences are involved in the joint application process. The Police College of Finland and Högskolan på Åland organise separate application periods.
In March, the applicant may apply for a maximum of six training programmes. Approximately half of the starting places of the university of applied sciences qualifications are filled with a certificate-based admission and the rest with an UAS entrance examination. Universities of applied sciences decide for each study programmes how many starting places are reserved for students with certificate-based admission. The certificate-based admission has separate starting places for applicants with a matriculation examination (Finnish or international) and for those with a vocational upper secondary qualification.
All universities of applied sciences use the same scoring models for matriculation examination and vocational upper secondary qualifications completed after 1 August 2015. Those who have completed a double degree participate in the certificate-based admission based on both the matriculation examination and the vocational upper secondary qualification. In addition, international EB, IB and RP/DIA degrees are taken into account in the scoring models.
As a rule, all applicants may take the UAS entrance examination from 31 May to 9 June. If the applicant has been selected through a certificate-based admission, they do not need to take the entrance examination. However, in the entrance examination, one can aim to be admitted in a possible place to study that they placed higher in the order of preference.
After the certificate-based admission and the entrance examination, the applicant is offered one study place. They can confirm only one study place in education that begins in the same academic term.