Get to know our school and apply

Ressun lukio is an upper secondary school located in the very heart of Helsinki, within easy distance of excellent traffic connections. The school has about 900 students and 60 teachers. The students are 15-18 years old.

How to Apply

Pre-year - How to apply from Finnish comprehensive schools

Pre-year - How to apply from abroad

DP1 - How to apply


Two upper secondary school programmes operate on the campus of Ressun lukio. The Finnish-language programme follows the Finnish national curriculum and they study in the main building in Kalevankatu 8-10. The English-language programme follows the international IB Diploma Programme and operates in the new building in Ruoholahdenkatu 23. Either of these examinations gives general university entry qualifications.

The IB Diploma programme is aimed at students who want an internationally-recognised diploma for their further studies and careers. They come from many different schools, both from Finland and abroad. The language of instruction is English. 

Our students live with their families: the school does not arrange accommodation. Due to the great number of applications, it is not possible to admit applicants who want to be exchange students or who would like to move here alone, without a guardian. Priority is given for applicants who can show that they are living with their parents in the greater Helsinki region.

The school is run by the City of Helsinki and does not charge for tuition. School meals and the health services are free. Those students who do not fall under the extended compulsory education in Finland will have to purchase their textbooks, study materials and pay final exam fees.

Ressun lukio became an authorised IB school in 2002. Our IB DP graduates have succeeded well above the global average in their studies and have been admitted to universities throughout the world, including Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, London School of Economics, Harvard and Yale.

See separate info for pre-year applicants from Finnish comprehensive schools, pre-year applicants from other school systems and DP1 applicants.

Welcome to Ressu IB 

Ressun lukio IB DP World School celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022. 

We have strong traditions, but at the same time we have always been a modern, progressive and liberal school. In today’s world, knowledge and knowhow are more important than ever. Our IB students have an excellent opportunity to develop themselves, thanks to the variety of IB DP studies on offer.

Our IB World School is known for its good atmosphere, international spirit and numerous educational development projects. It is excellent to study, succeed, grow and work in Ressu. Our IB student council is actively involved in the school's operations by organizing special days and activities.

The IB Diploma programme is an academically challenging  and balanced programme of education with demanding final examinations. It prepares students for success at university and in life beyond. The IB DP has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. IB Diploma studies prepare students for success in higher education and to be active participants in a global society. The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.

Ressun lukio became an authorized IB World School in 2002. The IB Diploma Programme we offer is an internationally acknowledged two-year programme, preceded by a preparatory year.  Our story has been a success. Students have excellent gained excellent study places at science universities in both Finland and abroad, including the best universities in the world. Over the years our students have excelled in many academic professions on all continents.

Ari Huovinen


Our school was founded in 1891. From its very beginning Ressu was a pioneer school – we were the first in Helsinki to teach humanistic subjects and modern languages, as opposed to just Latin. Ressu students – all boys – were geared towards careers in  trade, industry and government.

In autumn 1892, having operated its first few years elsewhere, the school moved into a building which had previously served as a centre for physical therapy

– this building now forms part of the two lowest floors in the present-day Ressu building. 

Because of the influx of students, a new, third floor and a new wing towards Kalevankatu were added in 1895. The building got its present form in 1912-1914 and the only major addition in the renovation project of 1980-1981 was a second staircase to improve fire safety.

In 1950, as the fights between Finnish and Swedish-speakers calmed down, the name was further abbreviated to “Helsingin Lyseo”.

As Helsinki started the comprehensive school system in 1977, the school was asked to choose a new name based on its location – Kalevankatu, Kamppi or Lönnrot. However, the old students launched a massive campaign, and the school was allowed to retain its old nickname and was called “Ressun lukio”. 

Together with the advent of comprehensive school, two major changes occurred: instead of the state, Ressu was now governed by the city of Helsinki,  and the old boys’ school became co-educational – a fact which still amazes old students visiting the school.

Finnish educational policy is changing and becoming more international. In the past couple of decades, Ressun lukio has been in the vanguard of this educational development work. We were among the first schools to develop the present nongraded system based on courses and to use a system that allows students more freedom in choosing their subjects, courses and their matriculation examination tests.

We continue to be involved in various projects. We offer our students a chance to get an additional official certificate in the French language (DELF) or in the German language (Sprachdiplom). Our students are actively involved in the Young Entrepreneurs programme. We serve as a teacher training school and arrange courses in cooperation with Finnish universities. Ressu is still true to its old pioneering spirit.

Last but not least, Ressun lukio became an authorized IB World School in 2002. The IB Diploma Programme we offer is an internationally acknowledged two-year programme, preceded by a preparatory year. Our first IB DP class successfully graduated in 2005. The annual IB DP intake has risen from 25 to 100 students. Ressun lukio has occupied two separate buildings since autumn 2020. The Diploma Programme is mainly taught at Ruoholahdenkatu 23.

Ressun lukio Kalevankatu 8-10
Ressun lukio Kalevankatu 8-10

The representatives of Ressu Student Council  ie Oppilaskunnan hallitus (OPKH) work actively for the welfare of the students. They represent all Ressu students when school-related decisions are made. Their goal is to make Ressu an even better study place for everybody. Ressu Student Council is divided into two separate sections, one of them is devoted entirely to the IB students.

The Council organises all kinds of events during the year: Christmas and Spring festivities, Culture Week, Spring Barbecue Afternoon etc. The student board cooperates with Suomen Lukiolaisten Liitto (SLL), which is the national organisation for upper secondary school students in Finland, often sending a delegation to the big annual SLL meeting.

If you want to join, come to the general meeting in the autumn. Every student can vote and be a candidate for the council. By taking part, you can make sure you will be represented by capable and well-qualified people.

FIBS(Link leads to external service) (Finnish International Baccalaureate Society) is the name of the IB students’ union in Finland. The purpose of FIBS is to protect IB students’ rights, to unite Finnish IB students and to spread information about the IB in Finland.

Use the following link to access some examples of our former students´career paths

Ressujen ura- ja elämäntarinoita(Link leads to external service).

Ressu Chess Club
Ressu Chess Club