HSE - Saint Petersburg Ranks Among Top 10 Most Selective Universities in Russia
In a recent survey considering the average Russian Unified State Examination scores of first-year enrolees at Russian universities in 2019, HSE - St Petersburg ranked 7th and 5th for the highest exam score averages among students entering state-funded positions and fee-paying positions, respectively. The average exam scores of new HSE enrolees were 92.0 (for those receiving merit-based state funding) and 80.6 (for those paying full tuition). These averages increased by 1.5 and 1.8 points from last year.
Annual Russian university student admission surveys have been conducted in Russia since 2009 and provide an important measurement not only of applicant merit but of university reputation and prestige. The surveys also inform applicants' choices of universities. In 2019, the Higher School of Economics and Yandex, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Rosobrnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science), conducted a study in order to assess the competitiveness of student admissions at Russian universities from the standpoint of first-year enrolees' average Unified State Examination scores.
According to the study authors, the average examination score of all Russian university students who enroled in a Russian university in 2019 (both in state-funded and fee-paying places) increased from 2018. Among students enroling in state-funded places, the average exam score rose by 1.3 points (from 68.7 to 70 points), and the average score of students enroling in fee-paying places grew by 1.2 points (from 62.3 to 63.5 points).
Among Russian universities accepting more than 100 students, 15 Moscow universities, 6 Saint Petersburg universities, 2 universities of Nizhniy Novgorod, one university in the Novosibirsk region, and one in the Perm region ranked among Russia's top 25 universities for the highest average exam score averages of new enrolees receiving state-funded merit-based financial aid. Topping the list were: MIPT (97,3), MGIMO (96,2), HSE University in Moscow (95,4), NRNU ‘MEPhI’ (93,6), ITMO (92,7), SPBU (92,4), HSE University in Saint Petersburg (92), MSU (91), RANEPA (90,3), and Russian Foreign Trade Academy (90).
The average Unified State Examination score earned by first-year students who enroled at HSE - St Petersburg in 2019 was 79.6 points, which is 2.8 points higher than last year's average. Saint Petersburg ranks second among all regions of Russia (after Moscow) according to this indicator.
48 universities in Saint Petersburg (40 state universities and 8 private) were included in the survey. Three of them - ITMO, SPBU and HSE – St Petersburg – were included in the group '90+'. 2019 enrolees of 15 universities earned an average score of 80 or higher, while at 5 universities the exam score average of new enrolees was lower than 70.
The full table with the research results is available at this link.
Universities that lead the rankings in fee-paying enrolee exam averages more or less coincide with those that lead in state-funded enrolments. The average exam score of first-year enrolees at the top-ranking Russian universities was 70 or higher, and there were 5 universities at which the average examination score of first-year enrolees was above 80. Universities of this latter group include: MIPT (88.6), HSE (83.8), MGIMO (83.6), SPBU (80.7) and HSE – Saint Petersburg (80.6).
The average State Examination scores of fee-paying enrolees in Saint Petersburg rose to 67.9 points (the average for Russia is 63.5), which is higher than HSE - St Petersburg's 2018 average by 1.6 points.
Applicants are opting for fee-paying places in top universities
Survey authors noted an interesting trend: the number of young people opting to apply to fee-paying places in leading universities instead of state-funded places at mid-range or second-tier universities is on the rise. Many applicants who did not earn scores on the Unified State Examination that were high enough to grant them a state-funded place at a top-10 university preferred to apply for fee-paying places at those same universities rather than apply for state-funded places at universities which rank in the top 10-20 range in the national rankings.
Thus, it can be said that institutional reputation is becoming more and more of a commodity in Russia. Applicants are now differentiating between universities that are more selective and those that are less so. A significant portion of applicants therefore choose to invest in their futures by opting for fee-paying places at more competitive universities.
Interest in new trends is growing
The study also shows that areas connected with promising modern professions, such as digital technologies (including in the humanities), creative industries, well-being, and ‘soft skill’ development are gaining significant popularity in fee-paying student admissions. This conclusion is based on an analysis of the increase in average Unified State Examination scores and the rise in demand (i.e., the number of applicants) for fee-paying places in various fields of study.
Traditional leaders in fee-paying student admission, which have included public policy, law, management, and economics, are gradually decreasing in popularity and giving way to fields in which propsective students see more opportunities. While families have already started feeling this trend, private universities have not (or have not yet managed to adjust their programmes to it) and continue to recruit students predominantly in socio-economic fields.
Sergey Kadochnikov, Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg Director
This year's survey demonstrates that university reputation is becoming the primary factor high school graduates take into consideration when choosing a university. For today's prospective students, factors such as educational quality, international study and research opportunities, and potential positioning for the labour market take precedence over financial considerations (i.e., earning a state-funded place at a less prestigious university).
Another noticeable and extremely pleasing trend for us is the growing demand for interdisciplinary and supra professional competences like soft skills. Soft skills are not only needed in management and communications positions. Today, almost all tasks which involve creativity and non-routine intellectual work require advanced supra special competences. This, in turn, explains a huge demand for graduates with degrees in the humanities among IT-companies: they can go beyond well-established frames, speak 'the same language' with different kinds of people, and present technically complex products in a competent and accessible way.
It is important not to forget that hard skills should be developed as well. All the professions demonstrating a sustainable growth of demand for economics of knowledge require good social skills and a solid knowledge of mathematics. These professions, for instance, include highly qualified engineers, business analytics, web-designers, and programmers.
The extended version of press release version and full tables of monitoring can be seen on the project website - https://ege.hse.ru/stata_2019