Finland has long been an appealing choice for international students, and recently, students from Bangladesh have demonstrated an avid interest in studying there. Like top destinations, Australia, Canada, UK, USA, New Zealand or other countries, Finland is becoming very popular among Bangladeshi prospective students. In this blog, we will navigate the steps for acquiring a Finnish degree, from applying to receiving a visa.
Step 1: Select program or course to study in Finland
Select a suitable program by considering your prior education, preferences for advanced academics, and potential job opportunities. Note that many programs are available in English, although proficiency in Finnish or Swedish may be required for some. Ensure that you meet the admission requirements for your chosen program, including academic qualifications, language proficiency tests (e.g. IELTS, SAT or TOEFL), and other specified university requirements. Finland offers a viable option for high school students looking to change their educational focus; for example, transitioning from a commerce stream to an information system program for a bachelor’s degree is entirely feasible. Moreover, students with a study gap are also accepted.
Step 2: Select finish university
Explore Finnish universities that offer programs aligning with your preferences and outlook. Finland has numerous reputable institutions providing over 500 programs at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These include 13 research-focused universities emphasizing curricula enriched with research and 24 universities of applied sciences concentrating on practical applications to prepare students for industry standards. Consider factors such as location, acceptance rates, and institutional reputation. Seek insights from alums or current students through social media (if possible), browse online resources, and thoroughly examine official university websites. Utilize the government-recognized Studyinfo.fi for an efficient and tailored search.
Step 3: Know Finish education system
First, familiarize us with the country’s application system. There are three types of applications:
● Joint- This refers to a system where an applicant can apply for six courses concurrently with one application form. Two intakes are available for programs offered in English (Spring and Autumn). The most active one is the autumn session (September), which has the highest number of applicants and has its window commencing in September of the prior year and ending in the following January.
● Separate- This involves direct applications to universities, apart from centralized application periods. This process is more flexible, with variable deadlines for distinct programs, but timelines and requirements must be followed attentively. Exhaustive independent research is vital in this case.
● Rolling- This refers to the custom of institutions accepting applications all year round instead of only during designated admissions times. This gives potential students the liberty to apply whenever they’re ready. One can obtain admission decisions sooner due to rolling admissions. However, applicants must remain aware of specific program deadlines and submit their documents promptly.
Once the university and intake have been decided, it is now time to apply. It is mandatory to prepare the following documents-
● Passport- With validity till the end of the program duration.
● Certificates and Transcripts- Minimum eligibility is an average of 60% or a GPA of 2.50 out of 4.0. All official documents for previous academics should be collected. It is a compulsion to attest these from your particular educational boards, then the Education Ministry, and finally from the foreign ministry. You can also check university-specific requirements as some only ask for the latest educational documents to be attested.
● English Language Proficiency- IELTS with a minimum target score of band 6.0 to 6.5. Research-based universities usually require 6.5. However, it is wiser to sit for an SAT (with a minimum target score of 1000) instead of an IELTS (some universities may also permit TOEFL or PTE).
For master’s degrees at specific institutions, a 6.5 IELTS score can help the student waive the job experience requirement.
● Letter of Motivation: This letter should elaborately convey why this program and its relevant entities interest the student. It is necessary to be specific to the curriculum and the corresponding university. This letter also aids in securing a scholarship and thus requires vigilant efforts.
● CV- Having an efficient and concise Europass curriculum vitae is favourable, notably in terms of a master’s degree.
● Additional requirements- For a master’s, it is recommended to prepare at least 2 Letters of Recommendation (from a professor/supervisor/boss) supplemented by an Experience certificate with 2 years of minimum practice in a relevant field. Feel free to add research articles, publications or conference papers (if any).
Students are advised to thoroughly go through program-specific pages on the official institutional websites and Studyinfo.fi to ensure that all requirements are met. Observe the instructions for application that the university provides. Applications are usually online. Make sure you hand in all necessary documents. The Studyinfo.fi portal is used for applying, and it’s important to know that there is no application fee for study applications to any Finnish university.
Step 4: Prepare for Entrance exam
Clearing the Entrance Exam is the next big step. Before receiving admission offers, specific study areas at certain universities ask students to take an online examination (in English) to evaluate their eligibility. This procedure takes place in two phases-
- Written Exam: This stresses the Reasoning (20 points) and English Language skills (20 points) of the candidates, along with Mathematical skills (20 points) for most of the areas. Subsequently, there would be sections of field-specific evaluation for advanced skill sets.
- Group Interview: Upon passing the initial phase, students are required to submit some acceptable documentation to get a pass to the second stage. At this level, groups of 8-10 candidates are interviewed and they might even need to complete an assignment or just an essay towards the end of the session. Applicants need to earn a field-specific cut-off score to conclude this entrance selection process.
An SAT score above 1400 can lead to direct admission, waiving this exam requirement, and securing a full scholarship. For joint applications, the topper from this examination is also awarded a full scholarship, but this is limited to one student per subject.
Scholarships– It is also better to look for scholarships when choosing a particular subject at any Finnish university. The universities are usually liberal in providing scholarships to students. An applicant can get a partial or even a full scholarship. Research-based universities allocate about 50% to 100% of grants, whereas the Universities of Applied Sciences only allow up to 50% of stipends. The credibility of an applicant’s profile is judged concerning the documentation mentioned above, academics, language skills and outcome of the entrance examination while evaluating candidates for scholarships.
Finland presents various grants for overseas students. Certain universities provide for students’ living costs (usually for master’s). Postgraduate Finland Scholarships for those outside the EU and EEA are starting at a minimum of 5000 EUR.
Early bird scholarships (10% to 70%) are also implemented for students (at any educational level), who deposit their stated tuition fees within a given time window, according to their acceptance letter.
It is highly recommended that students meticulously explore the bursary opportunities and financial assistance options available for international students from the official web pages.
The students need to bear in mind that tuition fees in Finnish universities are quite affordable, mostly ranging from 10,000 EUR to 15,000 EUR per annum.
Step 5: Wait for decision letter or admission letter to proceed Finland residence permit
At this point, applicants receive an acceptance letter which can be conditional or unconditional. Once additional requirements are ticked and tuition for the first year is deposited, students should quickly prepare for a visa, also known as a Residence Permit (RP).
Necessary Documents to apply for a visa:
- Valid Passport
- CNIC(Birth Certificate / National Identity Card)
- Academic Documents (attested) and CV
- English Language Proficiency
- Certificates of extracurricular achievements and jobs (if any)
- Acceptance letter and Scholarship letter(if available)
- Proof of University Legal Fees
- Statement of Purpose
- Two Passport-size photographs
- Visa Application form
- Receipt of Visa Processing Fee
- Student’s Bank statement- bearing withstanding amount of 6720 EUR
- Sponsor’s identity documents, financial documents, Tax and TIN certificates and bank statements paired with solvency. Relationship and sponsorship affidavits should be enclosed too. A CA valuation report will further help clarify the economic stance of the sponsor.
- Income Tax Certificate for the past 2 years
- Police Clearance Certificate
- Health Insurance- this must be comprehensive and bought ahead of time
- Medical certificate and Corona Vaccination Certificates
- Marriage Certificates (if any)- this should be verified and attached to the required paperwork for the spouse application.
The final step in closing the visa application is to fly to India to face the Finnish Embassy and then wait for the results! With a 95% acceptance rate, there are high chances to get a student permit approval in Finland.
Step 6: Prepare to fly Finland
Now that the residence permit (RP) is granted, immediately arrange accommodation. For living expenditures, calculate 500 to 700 Euros per month.
If some time can be permitted before flying, applying for part-time jobs online is definitely wiser. A maximum of 30 hours of part-time work is permitted for international students, with an average of 11 to 17 EUR per hour.
It is time to book the tickets and ultimately fly to your destination. For a Bangladeshi student, the total projected cost from the commencement of the application procedure until its conclusion would be only 15 lacs BDT.
One should become acquainted with the campus, academic regulations, and Finland’s culture, customs and social norms. This will help with better adaptability. Finland provides integration services to assist international students in blending in.
Before proceeding further, here is a quick overview of why Finland is better than other countries for international degrees. Not only does the country have a world-class education system with some of the highest-ranking universities, but the career opportunities in sectors like technology, renewable energy and health care are amazing, too. The country has a vibrant and diverse community, making it the perfect environment for international students to blend in with the Finnish culture. Also, only two years of work placement post a Finnish degree is enough to apply for a PR and Finland, at present times, is the best country to opt for if you’re thinking about spouse visas.
For ease of access, the list of universities in Finland is given below-
List of 13 research-based universities in Finland
- University of Helsinki
- Aalto University
- University of Turku
- University of Tampere
- University of Eastern Finland
- University of Oulu
- University of Jyväskylä
- Åbo Akademi University
- LUT University
- University of Vaasa
- University of Lapland
- Hanken School of Economics
- National Defence University
List of Applied Science Universities (UAS) in Finland
- Arcada University of Applied Sciences
- Centria University of Applied Sciences
- Diaconia University of Applied Sciences
- Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
- Humak University of Applied Sciences
- Häme University of Applied Sciences
- JAMK University of Applied Sciences
- South-Eastern Finland University of Applied
- Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
- Karelia University of Applied Sciences
- LAB University of Applied Sciences
- Lapland University of Applied Sciences
- Laurea University of Applied Sciences
- Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
- Oulu University of Applied Sciences
- Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
- Savonia University of Applied Sciences
- Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences
- Tampere University of Applied Sciences
- Turku University of Applied Sciences
- Vaasa University of Applied Sciences
- Novia University of Applied Sciences
- Åland University of Applied Sciences
- Police University College
Finland student visa fees for Bangladeshi students
To apply for a Finland student visa, you need a long-term residence permit (more than 90 days) to pay 350 euros for the electronic application, and the paper-based application fee is 450 euros.
Therefore, organizing carefully and initiating the application process ahead of time should be the prime concern of any student studying in Finland. Make sure to contact the university’s international admissions office and any peers or professional agency if you have any questions. Good luck with your studies in Finland!