• Sweden's news in English

Lund reviews foreign student admissions

TT/The Local · 4 Aug 2010, 08:13

Published: 04 Aug 2010 08:13 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Criticism has mounted in both Sweden and Denmark during the summer over the new admissions system introduced in time for the autumn term 2010.

The criticism has partly concerned the fact that applicants with foreign qualifications end up in their own quota group which is at times so small that few, or even none, get accepted, despite sound merits.

According to the new regulations places are allocated to a percentage of applicants in each group, resulting in a small risk of the foreign group not securing any places.

According to Lund University the system could be in breach of requirements to offer a fair and equal treatment to all and, in respect of Sweden's EU commitments, has now introduced its own admissions system for students with foreign grades.

In practice the decision means that applications will be handled on a case by case basis in the incidence of no one being admitted from the specific quota group.

"I think we have found a sound solution. I hope that more follow our example," said Per Eriksson, Lund University head, to news agency TT.

Despite the fact that there are few people affected it is important that they can compete based on their grades and not as a group on a quota basis, he said.

"Even if there aren't that many it means a lot for the individual student. We do not want to reduce the number of foreign students, we want to increase it. We have a very mathematical system, international it is very often a straight grades comparison," said Per Eriksson.

Story continues below…

According to a university press release the issue concerns the review of around 120 of the total 1,100 courses that can be applied for, with an expected 75 students admitted in this way.

The Local reported in July that the Higher Education and Research Minister Tobias Krantz had indicated that the new admissions rules will be subject to a national review following criticism.

"We have to be honest and say that we could not foresee all of the consequences. We will appoint a new commission to go through this properly," Krantz said while stating that "the core of the reform will remain the same".

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:13 August 4, 2010 by comentatir
I really do not see why they are craving for international students. You do not take care of them when they arrive after all. Besides not the best students of our globe end up in Sweden to be honest. This mathematical system of yours that compares grades is not enough to distinguish good students than others. The grades might also differ from country to country even school to school according to the difficulty of the school or the quality of students in a school. I even have doubt that Swedish academia has ever heard this thing called Bell Curve or Curve or whatever you name it that is used for grading in many places. The reason for foreıgn students having better grades here in Sweden is a subject of a totally different discussion...
11:13 August 4, 2010 by Puffin
Surely Bell Curve grading is old fashioned these days - you are guaranteeing that a certain percentage get certain grades that 10% (or whatever) get grade A regardless of whether they are worthy of it.
11:22 August 4, 2010 by comentatir
Well you are right to a certain extend but also there might be some cases that a professor might be really harsh when asking questions and nobody can take what they might deserve. It has both advantages and disadvantages, lets say.

But the main point is just comparing grades of two students should not be enough to accept one of them into a university.
11:44 August 4, 2010 by Puffin
It's a problem but what else can you do - anything else is dreadfully expensive and hard to administer with students living overseas - for domestic students there are a number of admissions systems - grades only count for around a percentage of places - many are allocated on the SweSAT exams (Högskoleprov) - however this would be expensive to administer abroad if there were only a couple of test centres

I know some Universities evaluated Bachelor essay quality for admissions to masters courses - but when you have 100s of applications to labour cost of having committees spending a month to read all bachelor essays was huge - so most went back to grades
11:51 August 4, 2010 by skatty
I don't get it; Swedish is not a common language in EU, and I suppose there are some particular programs for higher education in English for EU students, which means automatically a separate admission system for EU students, regardless of regulation methods. Either, the EU student should manage all subjects in Swedish, which means a possibility of admission with ordinary Swedish students, or all the programs are in English even for Swedish students, which means a lower quality of education in general because Swedes can't talk English!
12:31 August 4, 2010 by villjobba
"Either, the EU student should manage all subjects in Swedish, which means a possibility of admission with ordinary Swedish students, or all the programs are in English even for Swedish students, which means a lower quality of education in general because Swedes can't talk English! "

And you cannot write proper English either because you don't "TALK" English. You SPEAK English! :-)
12:37 August 4, 2010 by skatty

Consider it a mistake in the level of "the small people .." by Carl Henrik Svanberg!
13:14 August 4, 2010 by witsltd
I agree that Sweden needs better control of incoming foreign students. Introduction of tuition fee will help slightly, but there are many hopes in that law.

The question I have is why so many people says that Swedes do not speak English? After living in Sweden for five year; and being both in educational and business institutions, I totally disagree with this idea.

Can you justify your opinion? Why do you think Swedes can not speak English?
13:42 August 4, 2010 by skatty
@witsltd, if you are asking me

I mean English for higher education. As you know most of foreign TV programs use Swedish text and the original language; so, Swedes can understand and talk (conversation) with others in English, but there are huge differences to sit in an American or English class taught by an American or English teacher, than a Swedish teacher (I tried it). Most of the Swedish teachers, who try to teach in English, try to use simple words, their sentences are clumsy. I mean they can communicate in English but not teach. You see if a foreign student wants to study in an American school should pass TOEFL, but there is not any evaluation method to qualify a Swedish teacher to teach in English, it's important to be qualified to teach in English.
13:59 August 4, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Shouldn't the primary purpose of the Swedish University system be to educate Swedes first and foremost. Especially because there are so few seats available; unlike US universities where importing students is a profitable business. In America anyone can get into university. That might sound bad, but actually works well.
14:20 August 4, 2010 by bob3000
@Marc the Texan

I think you are right. But in Sweden education has never really been seen as a business - free education for all is about giving everyone a chance, regardless of family background or origin.

If you can get the grades, you have the intelligence, and your finances will not impede you. That's 70's socialist optimism for you.

But the days where we have money to pay for that ideology are at an end. So the state education system needs to supplement the cost with fees from foreign visitors.

It is typical that having invited foreigners to have free education in the past and rather than forcing them to learn Swedish to have that free education - Swedes have pretzeled themselves and curriculums, to teach in English -

Typical that they should also be criticized for it. Truly no good deed goes unpunished.
16:27 August 4, 2010 by glamelixir
Grading is totally obsolete. I agree. I have a 128 iq (Sorry to mention this but I am trying to explain that grades does not necessarily means high grades) and I tend to excell in those subjects where I am really interested, the teachers are demanding and giving the best of them and represent a challange, on the other hand, those subjects where teachers are mediocre or I find boring or too obvious I just pass with no effort and not really care about getting more than a c or an 8, or even abandoning.

Students should be evaluated individually by the record of things studied plus personal interviews and other tests if you want, but not for numbers on a page. Not all teachers around the world have a same parameter to evaluate so that does not really reflects much.
16:41 August 4, 2010 by Artificial Intelligence
Skatty, I couldn't have said it better!

Swedes are not good at English (they only know basic English). And the most annoying part of it, is having the Swedish lecturers teach foreign students. In my opinion, Swedish lecturers who didn't obtain their degrees from an English speaking country....should not venture teaching in English, because they deteriorate our English ;-(
17:51 August 4, 2010 by Swedesmith
Glamelixir, success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
21:41 August 4, 2010 by sparc
@Swedesmith: Since we are talking about higher education and not generally, I have to say that this is not absolutely true unless enforced as a requirement.

In my perspective we can separate university students as extremely bright, really bright and simply bright. Having been in the company of people from the first two categories for most of my life, I can attest to the fact that people of extremely high perception do not always learn to try very hard and get bored easily.

In a society where everything is abundant, personal incentives that encourage perspiration are becoming scarcer steadily and the extremely bright tend to drop out of the grade marathon rather soon in their high school years... Are the best minds unwelcome or unworthy of a chance? Is their academic performance, usually graded by people not skilled to assess their value, the only criteria for the options they ought to have?

Mathematics can model and explain everything... However, the math employed in this situation simply do not cut it! On the other hand, the means are not enough to conduct an interview for every applicant. Not when there is no tuition, hence the applications tend to amount into the thousands.
22:09 August 4, 2010 by Swedesmith
@sparc: No statement is ever 100% true (except for this one).

I also have been around the extremely bright. I went to school with a kid who had an IQ that was up in the stratosphere. He is now a drug addict. I however, being of modest intelligence, have managed to carve out a nice living simply by working hard and not giving up when things got tough. I have seen this time and time again.

I am not discounting intelligence or education. I am promoting work ethic. Couple that with an able mind and then you really have something.

I also might add that if a bright student (or any student for that matter) is bored with their coursework, perhaps they need to seek a more challenging subject or teacher.
14:36 August 5, 2010 by comentatir
Of course Swedes are not good at English because they are Swedish! To state such an observation you must have made a comparison with another nationality! Name a country where they speak or teach in English better than they do in Sweden. Then you would make sense. Don't talk without logical support please!
12:34 August 6, 2010 by LeoKinmann
IMO the Swedes THINK they are good at English. While in reality they make tons of mistakes, phrasing and wording the Swedish way which totally wont make sense for a foreigner. On general, I'd say Swedes are better at English than the French, German, and for instance, most of the European folks other than the British. However, when it comes to teaching, it's simply not enough. Once I read from a paper that when the Swedish lecturers are using English, 30% of the knowledge is lost; and when students listen and fail to perceive the lecturer, an additional 30% is lost from there. Which adds up to almost half of the course content.
13:45 August 6, 2010 by bob3000
Give me a break -

Some of the people on this forum talking about language skills in Sweden....please... the level of grammar and basic English language skills being displayed are at best questionable - and you are the ones talking about the Swedes.

- it seems these posters can barely speak/write comprehensible English. Glass houses, people, glass houses.

Again, I say,

"It is typical that having invited foreigners to have free education in the past and rather than forcing them to learn Swedish to have that free education - Swedes have pretzeled themselves and [the] curriculums, to teach in English -

Typical that they should also be criticized for it. Truly no good deed goes unpunished."

If you feel passionately about being taught in correct and proper English, I'm sure the UK will be more than willing to accept your money (£40k/year non-EU citizen).
15:14 August 6, 2010 by skatty

Ok, I started the question about the language because I don't get the basic reason of the problem. The article mentions about the Swedish respect and commitment to EU on admission system. I have concluded what they mean about the admission is about EU students (not Scandinavian), because almost nobody talks Swedish in EU, then logically these students have to go through a separate admission system, anyway; so, why there is a question about "their own quota group", unless they are talking about the Scandinavian students, who can talk Swedish and in this case there has been agreement between Scandinavian even before Sweden join to EU! About the international programs, which are in English lectured by Swedes and foreign teachers, there is not any evaluation on the ability of teachers in English language; however there is evaluation on the ability of the students in English by TOEFL! And I tell you some Swedes can't teach in English.
20:17 August 10, 2010 by bob3000

"there is not any evaluation on the ability of teachers in English language; however there is evaluation on the ability of the students in English by TOEFL!"

Your argument breaks down somewhat, in so far as, there are TOEFL evaluations for teachers teaching in English - job applications (even in Sweden) often state the requirements for TOEFL levels.

From you last screed, I'm going to presume English is not your 1st or perhaps 2nd language?
23:34 August 14, 2010 by stmanpule
All over the world, i think Sweden is the only european country that is offering free education for her citizens and non citizens at large. Go to Russia, forget the fact that you are paying for your programme of study, you must learn the Russian language for a year before proceeding with your own. If Sweden can offer you free education, there shouldn't be a big deal in learning the language for at least 6 months or a whole year. I did SAT in 2008 and i scored 965 and at the end of the day i could not gain admission into the University of North Texas because i dont have the $25,000.00 i was ask to pay. if i had the opportunity to learn Swedish for two years and study for in Sweden, i would have gone for it with great Ecstasy.

11:32 August 21, 2010 by CyberMaurya
Yet another way to show the world that how precise Lund university in choosing students but don't have any long term visions. Whole staff at this university is being complacent and old. Most of them don't know what are they talking about. Don't waste time at this university at all.
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available