The school year is divided into five seven-week periods. The total number of courses required in high school is 75. The students can complete their high school studies in 2-4 years. Depending on the length of their studies, the students must choose 4-7 courses per period, sometimes even more. To allow more time for sports, for instance, the student can choose a lighter schedule and longer study program. It is even possible to take a whole period off if needed.

The school day is usually from 8.20 to 15.10. The length of the school day depends on the individual study program. The training sessions for the athletes are mainly held from 7.30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. At the beginning of each school year the students receive the teaching program and time table for the whole year. This enables them to take into account their own individual needs and interests in planning their own schedules on a long-term basis. In this, they are assisted by Group Advisors and special Guidance Counselors. In the non-graded system, students are not confined to a certain year level, but can choose courses according to their own ability and standard.

Each seven-week period ends with a test week. The students receive their course grades on the last day of the period. After each period, they receive computer lists showing the grades of all courses taken and their grade point average. Retests are arranged several times a year for those who have failed courses. A student is entitled to one retest for one failed course; should he fail again, the course must be repeated. If a student wishes to improve his other grades, he must repeat the course.

The curriculum is based on the national system. In addition to the courses set forth in the national curriculum, Mäkelänrinne offers optional, applied and integrated courses in various subjects. One example of the wide choice of subjects in Mäkelänrinne is the extensive language program, which offers advanced courses in English, Swedish, German, French and Russian. Instruction is given even in elementary and intermediate Latin, Spanish and Italian. The majority of the students choose advanced courses in Mathematics. In Physical Education, students may express their wishes as to the events offered in each period. Groups are then formed accordingly in a wide range of events.

Approximately half of the first-year students (210 new students/year) are admitted on the basis of academic achievement, and half on the basis of academic and athletic merits combined. The selection of students applying to special training programs is partly based on recommendations by various sports associations. Those admitted represent the top of their age group in their field even internationally.

Special top training is offered in a number of sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball, ice-hockey, squash, badminton, track & field, orienteering, golf, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, diving, sailing, judo, dance sport, floorball, figure skating and synchronized skating. The respective sports associations choose a good coach, who is then employed by the school. Thus, the association is responsible for the training, which aims at top performance on the international level. In other sports (58 different events), a student can pursue an individual training program, which is monitored by the school.

The number of students in active training is remarkably high in Mäkelänrinne: in 2015, for instance, they numbered 580 out of a total of 820. Sports courses may constitute one-third of the total number of high school courses. Yet, the athletes must meet the same academic requirements in the Matriculation Examination as any other students. 

The Matriculation Examination comprises extensive tests in four obligatory subjects and an unlimited number of optional subjects. The tests are offered every spring and autumn. The obligatory subjects are: Finnish for all students and three subjects as follows: Swedish, one foreign language, Mathematics and Humanities and Natural Sciences. These four tests can be taken during one test period, or divided over three consecutive periods. There is no time limit for the optional tests.

Mäkelänrinne is involved in many associated and partner school programmers. Our extracurricular activity programme for the year 2015-2016 included more than 15 international school-visit exchanges, competitions and joint projects. Our partners come mostly from the Baltic countries, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Germany, Netherlands and Denmark. Our school has frequently represented Finland in international school tournaments, such as the World Football Tournaments, the World Basketball Tournaments and the ISF World Gymnasiade.

Both the exchange students and the foreign athletes who choose our school are offered excellent opportunities to attend classes and participate in the special top training programmer in for example ice-hockey, swimming, orienteering, sailing and dance sport.