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Over 90% of applicants secure upper secondary school places

A majority of the country's 9th grade graduates have been able to secure places in upper secondary schools this year. However the best schools target the cream of the crop with very high average grade requirements.

Oppilaat opiskelevat Tikkurilan lukiossa
Students in Vantaa's Tikkurila upper secondary school. Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Competition is fierce to join the prestigious Ressu upper secondary school in Helsinki. The school, which has been ranked one of the best in the country for several years, had the strictest selection process this year, requiring freshmen to achieve a minimum overall average grade of 9.42 out of a possible maximum of 10.

In comparison, the highest required average in Espoo was 9.08 at Kuninkaantie upper secondary school and in Vantaa 8.25 in Sotunki upper secondary school.

The lowest average grade required for entry was in Helsinki’s Vuosaari upper secondary school, which required its freshman to have an average score of 7.25. In Espoo, the cut-off figure was 7.83 in Leppävaara upper secondary school and in Vantaa, 7.42 in Lumo upper secondary school.

Second chance in vocational stream

This application season, 66,600 young people snagged spots in upper secondary and vocational schools, meaning over 90 percent of a total 73,500 applicants were accepted.

Upper secondary schools in Helsinki and Vantaa will welcome nearly 7,000 new students this fall, while Espoo and Kauniainen will open their doors to 1,700 students. 

"We filled all the spots in our upper secondary schools, and were not able to offer places to all the candidates," says ‎Mervi Willman, Helsinki’s Deputy Head of Education.

Students left empty-handed need not fret, as some vocational schools still have openings available.

"On the vocational school side we had some degree programmes that had more applications than we could cater to, but there might still be some places left," Willman says.

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