VAMK increased by 66% the number of primary applicants – diversification is a cornerstone

Finnish higher education attracts tuition-fee paying students. The results of the first national joint application for the English-taught degree programmes foresees a tremendous growth in the number of applicants and indicates diversification in international enrolments.

TEXT | Sirpa Rutanen and Juha Vierola

In total, there were 32 700 applicants to Finnish higher education institutions’ English-taught degree programmes and art study programmes in the national joint application. This is around 10 000 more than in 2021. ( press release 27.01.2022)

VAMK increased by 66% the number of primary applicants compared to 2021. A significant proportion of the first-time applicants were new entrants, accounting for about 77 per cent of all applicants. Furthermore, the amount of applications received for VAMK tripled compared to year 2021. (

Diversification mitigates the risks in international student recruitment

Diversification helps higher education institutions to balance and manage risk, and to improve the student experience in the process. “A diverse classroom mitigates risk, but more importantly, it drives education quality and prepares students for a global world,” says Studyportals CEO Edwin van Rest. (ICEF Monitor 2.2.2022)

VAMK’s applicants represented a great variety of different nationalities. The most attractive geographic recruitment countries for VAMK include e.g. India and Vietnam. These are nations having large numbers of youth in college age. But also the prospective students i.e. from Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Morocco have found VAMK’s degree programme offering appealing. (

This is very encouraging news in terms of international student recruitment strategy. Strategical educational agent partnerships are vital in specific target markets, but with the help of digital marketing, one can quickly address uncharted markets. Expanding the campaign reach to a wider pool of destinations helps managing risks in unstable world situations and in sudden market fluctuations.

Admission to Finnish Higher Education

The majority of applicants at VAMK and nationwide in Finland are admitted to Bachelor programmes on the basis of International UAS exam. The exam is a joint digital entrance exam for Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences to be used for the first time in spring 2022 joint application round. The digital entrance examination replaced the field specific on-site entrance examinations arranged in previous years.

The International UAS Exam answers the growing demand of transparent student selection and ensures wide participation regardless of applicant’s whereabouts.  From the applicant’s point of view, the exam is straightforward and requires no prior preparation or pre-reading materials.  The exam consists of two phases; the first phase is a digital entrance examination, and the second phase consists of a group discussion arranged online.

In total, 12 054 applicants participated in the first phase of the exam, meaning 72,4% of all invited applicants. The application process continues in March 2022 with the interviews and the final admission results will be published by 3 June 2022 at the latest. ( 9.2.2022)

  • ICEF Monitor. A post-pandemic push to diversify international enrolments. 2.2.2022. Referred 25.3.2022.

  • Finnish National Agency for Education’s (OPH) press release. 32 700 applicants to higher education institutions’ English-taught study programmes and art study programmes. 27.01.2022. Referred 25.3.2022.

  • Applicants and selected candidates. Referred 25.3.2022.

  • Universities of Applied Sciences executed the first phase of the International UAS Exam with success. 9.2.2022. Referred 25.3.2022.

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