The sports program
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.