Your steps to Finland
A checklist of the essential things you need to consider
Welcome to our website! You’ll find a lot of useful general information on our pages to assist you if you’re considering applying for higher education in Finland.
We recommend that you get familiar with the basics of all of the issues listed below, already before starting with your application. For example, even if you have not applied yet, it makes sense to become fully familiar with the visa/student residence permit requirements and related procedures. And it is also very important to consider how you’ll be funding your studies, already before you submit any applcations.
- Find the right programme
- Check the entry requirements
- Check how and when to apply
- Plan your finances
- Visas and student residence permit
- Student accommodation and other practical issues
- Where to turn if you need advice?
Under each section, you’ll find links to the relevant pages of our Study in Finland website. By following the links you’ll find more info on each subject.
1) Find the right programme
There are lots of English-language degree courses available in Finnish higher education, so you do not necessarily need to speak Finnish in order to study here.
First of all, you should seek out and choose the degree programme options you might be interested in, either by visiting the database of English-language study programmes, or by checking out the individual institutions’ websites.
Note that at Study in Finland we are not in a position to “recommend” any particular institution or degree course to you. At the end of the day, only yourself can decide what is the “suitable” or “best” programme option for you. Start by narrowing down your choices by contemplating your own primary study interests, then search the database for suitable degree course options, visit the institutions’ websites, compare between different alternatives, etc.
Detailed information on the programmes is available on the institutions’ own websites – the links in the database will direct you to the correct pages.
- Study programmes database
- Full list of Finnish higher education institutions
- FAQ on institutions and degrees
- FAQ on language skills
2) Check the entry requirements
In order to be considered an eligible applicant, you need to fulfill certain general criteria. On top of that, individual degree programmes may each have their own specific set of additional requirements.
You may need to pass an entrance examination (especially when applying for polytechnic/UAS undergraduate entry). You’ll also need to show you have the required level of English proficiency.
If you have any questions relating to your entrance exam options, entry requirements, or other issues relating to your eligibility or your application, you must turn directly to the institution you’re applying to for advice. Check out the institutions’ Admissions websites and contact their Admissions Services if necessary!
- General info on eligibility criteria
- Evaluation of your diplomas
- Language requirements
- Some general advice on entrance examinations (mainly concerns entry to polytechnic/UAS Bachelor’s programmes)
- FAQ on admissions and exams – including Important info on entrance exams for non-EU applicants
- Admissions websites of the individual universities/UAS’s
3) Check how and when to apply
Once you’ve decided which study programmes interest you, you should check how and when to submit your application to those programmes. In most cases, an on-line application system is in use.
How and when to apply depends on the programme you’re interested in. You’ll find advice on this on the ‘How to apply‘ section of our site. Also, the institutions’ own web sites include info on the application procedures.
NB: Study in Finland is not an admissions office, we only provide general info on the admission procedures. For detailed admissions-related queries, you need to turn to the institutions’ Admissions Offices for guidance.
- How to submit your application
- Application times
- Use of educational agencies – why is this not recommended?
- FAQ on applying
- Student selection – what happens after applying
Currently, there are no application fees when applying to Finnish higher education.
We do not recommend the use of any fee-charging educational agencies or consultancies when applying to Finnish higher education. You should submit your application independently, via the official admission routes. Please see section ‘Use of educational agencies‘ for some reasons why!
4) Plan your finances
Right from the start, it’s worth considering how you will finance your studies in Finland. Even when tuition itself is free of charge, you still will need to be able to independently cover your everyday living expenses in Finland.
Scholarships are mainly only available for Doctoral level studies and research – for example, there are no undergraduate scholarships available and Master’s scholarships are quite rare, too.
Keep in mind that even when scholarships exist, they are not awarded to all applicants “automatically”. So please remember to draft a realistic and valid financial plan for your studies in Finland.
5) Visas and student residence permits
If you are invited to Finland to take part in an entrance examination, and/or if you are eventually accepted as a degree student, you’ll need to acquire the necessary entry documents to Finland. When applying for a student residence permit, you usually need to visit the local Finnish embassy in person. If your home country does not have a Finnish embassy, you usually need to travel to a Finnish embassy in some neighbouring country. Therefore it is very important that you check the visa/student residence permit application procedures well in advance!
What kind of entry documents you need depends on your nationality. Also make sure you understand the difference in Finland between a “visa” and a “student residence permit”!
It is VERY IMPORTANT (especially for non-EU/EEA students) to carefully read through the FAQ on admissions and exams section of this site (about possible issues regarding visas and entrance exam invitations to Finland)
Detailed information on visas and residence permits is available from the immigration authorities – the Finnish embassy in your home country, or the Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI. Please refer to the below pages for general-level guidance.
- Visa information – short visits to Finland (less than 3 months duration)
- Student residence permit information – long-term degree studies in Finland
- Health insurance matters
- Cost of living (“How much money will I need?”)
6) Student accommodation and other practical issues
Once you’ve received your official letter of acceptance, you can start arranging the practical issues of your student life in Finland. Your hosting Finnish institution can advice you best on local student accommodation options and other such matters.
So please first visit the website of the university/UAS you have been accepted into, there you can usually find advice pages for new degree students regarding issues like student registration, welcoming sessions, campus maps, and so on. Some higher education institutions may also have printed orientation guides available for their new degree students.
You might also be interested in knowing about your opportunities to work part-time during your studies – while we at Study in Finland do not have any info on job vacancies, we’ve collected some general advice and links concerning these matters on our site. Remember that info on possible part-time jobs is usually only available “on location”, so it is likely that you will only be able to start searching for possible part-time jobs after you have actually arrived in Finland.
7) Where to turn to if you need advice?
You’ll find the basics of all the above issues explained on our http://www.studyinfinland.fi website, so please go through the above-mentioned sections carefully. Also be sure to read through all the advice given to prospective students on the institutions’ own web sites!
If, however, you need to ask something, please contact the correct authorities acording to the advice below:
- Detailed info on the admission procedures, entry requirements, your eligibility, degree courses, student accommodation: Finnish higher education institutions’ Admissions Services & admissions sites
- Detailed info on visas & student residence permit issues: – Finnish embassy in your home country and MIGRI
- General questions concerning study options in Finland: CIMO / Study in Finland: www.studyinfinland.fi/contact – on Facebook www.facebook.com/studyinfinland
We hope this checklist assists you…
…however do remember that it is essential you carefully check all the details on the Admissions pages of the Finnish higher education institution you’re applying to, since a set of general guidelines like this cannot include all possible details.
Good luck with your application!
-Study in Finland team