University entrance exams to be replaced by alternative admissions procedures this spring
The Finnish universities have concluded that, due to the coronavirus situation, organising traditional entrance examinations is not possible without compromising the safety of those involved. What makes guaranteeing safety impossible is the severity of the pandemic, the difficulty of identifying those at a higher risk for serious illness, as well as the risks associated with the examination situation itself.
In all, the Finnish universities organise hundreds of entrance examinations, which involve tens of thousands of applicants and thus cause large crowds of people to move within Finland and come into contact with each other. In line with the authorities’ instructions to avoid physical contact, the Finnish universities’ vice presidents for education have decided that the entrance exams in the spring and summer of 2020 will be organised using alternative means.
‘While we understand that this is a difficult and perplexing situation for the applicants, we simply cannot put anyone’s health at stake. There are up to thousands of participants in individual examinations. This means that whatever the precautions, the applicants’ arrival to and participation in the examinations would inevitably lead to a considerable number of contacts between people. Under these circumstances, we have no way of guaranteeing the safety of the applicants and staff involved’, says chair of the Unifi meetings for vice presidents for education Petri Suomala.
The universities will implement their student admissions procedures in a manner that takes into consideration the special characteristics of each field, while also making use of the joint admissions procedures as before. Traditional entrance examinations being out of the question, the universities may choose from a host of other means of admitting students, such as digital admissions procedures, online courses, certificate-based admission or the open university route. Small-scale entrance examinations may be organised taking careful precautions.
The shared objective of the universities is to start the 2020–2021 academic year in the autumn in accordance with the normal schedule.
‘The changes require no action from the applicants at this point’, says Suomala. ‘The alternative admissions procedures will take into consideration the applicants’ viewpoint and safeguard the equal opportunities for all eligible applicants to gain admission’, Suomala continues.
The universities will disseminate information on the changed admission procedures as soon as possible regarding the examinations scheduled for April. The details on all other entrance examinations will be communicated no later than 30 April. Information on the detailed examination arrangements will be disseminated before the examinations take place. This information will be made available in the Studyinfo portal and on the universities’ webpages, as well as on the webpages dedicated to the various joint admission procedures. In addition, all applicants are expected to read the email address they have given in the Studyinfo portal to ensure that they stay updated on the situation. Applicants should contact the admission services of the university which is responsible of the study option.
Chair of the Unifi meetings for vice presidents for education
Universities Finland UNIFI
tel. +358 40 591 8044
admissions.tau [at] tuni.fi
+358 0294 520 400 (from Monday to Friday between 12.00 and 14.00)
Vice President for Education
tel. +358 40 721 5204
marja.sutela [at] tuni.fi (marja[dot]sutela[at]tuni[dot]fi)