A total of nearly 153,000 students applied for tertiary education places during the spring application period that ended on Wednesday. According to the National Agency for Education, this year saw approximately 1,500 applicants more than last year vying for roughly 49,700 available seats.
The most sought-after educational institution for applicants was the University of Helsinki, which received a record number of applications -- nearly 29,000. Among students looking to attend universities of applied sciences, Helsinki’s Metropolia University of Applied Sciences was the most popular.
The universities of Turku and Tampere also announced a rise in undergraduate applications this year, but partly attributed the increase to combining applications for medical and legal studies with the general application round. This allows aspiring undergraduates to sit the same entrance exam for selection to the same line of study at several different universities.
Visual arts, natural sciences most popular fields
The field that featured the highest proportion of applicants relative to the number of available study places was the visual arts, where the ratio was roughly 26 applicants per available seat. Other highly competitive university programmes included theatre and dance (some 19 applicants per place) and psychology (around 18 applicants per spot).
In universities of applied sciences, applicants will find it toughest to get accepted to study natural sciences, where an average of seven students are competing for each classroom seat. Other popular study programmes included social, health and sports studies as well as culture – with nearly six and five applicants per place respectively.
Students applying to study technology and transport at universities of applied sciences as well as those aiming to qualify in theology at universities will face less competition than their peers.
In terms of absolute numbers, universities received the highest number of applications for students wishing to pursue business studies, while applications for social, health and sports studies topped the numerical rankings at universities of applied sciences.
According to the education agency, 80 percent of applicants were first-timers. Educational institutions have reserved 63 percent of available study places for this group. Education officials introduced a quota for first-time tertiary education applicants in 2016.
Aspiring undergraduates will know if their applications have been successful by the end of June.