Appeal of the university is at an excellent level, attractiveness of the student city is the biggest factor contributing to the willingness to apply for or recommend studies

For several years now, the University of Oulu has been using as an aid in monitoring the development trend of its appeal the ‘Kun koulu loppuu – Nuorten tulevaisuusraportti’ (When school ends – Future report of young people) study, which examines plans related to the choices of Finnish secondary school pupils and upper secondary school pupils as regards fields and choices of education. As part of the study, the appeal of different universities is measured.

The appeal of the University of Oulu was assessed as excellent in all areas in the 2020 study. Impressions of the University of Oulu have developed positively over the past four years and, in particular, assessments of the university’s communications, dynamism and atmosphere have improved. Despite excellent results, the appeal of the University of Oulu lags behind that of the other Finnish universities that participated in the study, such as the University of Turku, University of Helsinki, Tampere University and Aalto University.

The study also examines the link between the appeal factors and the willingness to apply for and recommend studies. In 2020, a new question about the attractiveness of the student city was added to the study.

“The results show that among young people in Finland, the student city status plays even a greater role in applying for and recommending studies at the University of Oulu than any appeal factor of the university itself. Thus, with the positive development of the city, the appeal of the university will be further strengthened,” says D.Sc.(Econ.) Hanna-Mari Aula, Senior Advisor of T-Media.

It is easy for respondents to take a stand on the attractiveness of the student city and more difficult on issues based on impressions, such as the quality of teaching or the studying atmosphere, of which the respondents do not have personal experience.

In willingness to recommend student cities, Oulu should rank higher

Among Finnish youth, the most recommended student cities in Finland are Tampere, Helsinki, Turku and Jyväskylä. Also Espoo ranks slightly ahead of Oulu in willingness to recommend. The willingness to recommend Oulu is the highest in Northern Finland and Ostrobothnia.

“The situation with the most recommended student cities has remained the same for the past 6 years. The three most common arguments in recommending Oulu are a good reputation as a student city, being large enough in terms of size and that it is a good place to live. However, its reputation as a student city has been decreasing since 2017. The key reasons behind not wanting to recommend Oulu are its too remote location, distance from the current place of residence or not knowing the city at all,” says Timo Myllymäki from the Oulu office of Taloustutkimus.

In terms of student city reputation, Oulu lags behind Tampere, Turku and Jyväskylä and is on the same level as Helsinki.

“A central location, fame and well-functioning public transport are factors, alongside student city reputation, in which the control cities are stronger than Oulu. In affordable housing and closeness to nature, Oulu ranks better than the control cities,” says Timo Myllymäki.

The University of Oulu hopes for active cooperation in the development of Oulu as a student city.

“In terms of the size of the city and the number of students in higher education institutions, Oulu’s ranking should be at least one placing better in the comparison of the student cities. We cannot nor would we want to influence the geographical location of the city, but much could be done to ensure that the impressions of Oulu are not focussed on its remote location and that young Finns do not know Oulu at all,” says Marja Jokinen, Communications and Marketing Director of the University of Oulu.

Last updated: 22.9.2021