Upper Secondary Schools
After students complete grade 9, they apply to mulitiple schools that they would like to attend for upper secondary school. This process is done after taking a career class with their study counselor, visiting events such as Next Step where schools share about their study programs and talking with their family. The application process is done online and includes a ranking system for interest in schools and a student’s grade point average (GPA) from grades 7-9. All over Finland, students complete this process at the same time.
Christine McCartney (fellow Fulbrighter) created a fantastic info graphic outlining the many paths that a student can take.
Over 90% of students who finish basic education continue on voluntarily to either general studies in an upper secondary high school or vocation school. According to Statistics Finland 2011 data, 50% (31,600 students) of students continued on into upper secondary school and 41% (25,912 students) of students continued into vocational studies.
The 9% (5,688 students) of students who did not immediately continue their studies did one of three different things:
It is difficult to get a sense of how many students fall into each of the above categories because statistics are not gathered at the national level. What is clear is that the overwhelming majority of students in Finland continue on past the compulsory education and voluntarily continue their studies.
The following is a video that Christine McCartney made talking about the value that Finland places on student choice for their educational paths. Check out Christine's webpage for more videos and information.