Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

The vocational route to higher education in Finland: Students’ backgrounds, choices and study experiences

List of AuthorsHaltia Nina, Isopahkala-Bouret Ulpukka, Jauhiainen Annukka

PublisherSAGE Journals

Publication year2022

JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal

Volume number21

Issue number3

Start page541

End page558

Number of pages18




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Division between academic and vocational education is a predominant feature of both upper secondary and higher education in Finland as well as in many other country contexts. This article focuses on a minority of higher education students, those who have not proceeded to higher education through the traditional academic track but have enrolled through the vocational route. We deploy the concept of institutional habitus and utilize Eurostudent VI survey data (N=7318) to analyse the backgrounds and study experiences of higher education students with different kinds of educational backgrounds. Our findings indicate that those enrolling through the vocational route are more often mature students from lower parental educational backgrounds. They have often completed a longer study path and began to see themselves as future higher education students later in their life course. There are also differences in how students with diverse educational backgrounds experience their sense of belonging to the higher education community. This paper focuses on Finland but has relevance for other European countries as the institutional structures and practices discussed in this paper are evident internationally.

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Last updated on 2023-27-06 at 10:35