All applicants for secondary education (ISCED 3) in Finland use a joint application system. In the spring of 2017, 54% of candidates applied to vocational education and training (VET) programmes and 46% to general programmes in upper secondary education. In recent years, VET applications have slightly decreased (56% in 2016).  Approximately 39 700 applicants applied for VET, 3 360 applicants fewer than the previous year. The available number of starting places in vocational education and training is 43 900, of which 1 900 is in Swedish-language training.

Popular fields of study have remained the same. The most popular in vocational education and training is still healthcare and social services. Other popular fields are automotive and transport engineering, business and commerce, architecture and construction, electrical and automation engineering, beauty care, and hotel and catering.

In some cases, candidates are invited to take aptitude tests arranged by vocational institutions. Applicants whose mother tongue is other than the language of instruction, or whose language skills have not been verified, participate in a nationwide, uniform language test. The results of student selection are published by education institutions in June 2017.