The study, conducted by Yandex Education experts, included nearly 6,000 participants who had won school competitions in a variety of subjects during the previous five years. In addition, the specialists evaluated the results of the country's biggest contests from official sources. The survey found that, in addition to the quality and relevance of education, winners of math and computer science contests considered whether their preferred university offers students to intern at top IT companies when choosing their future alma mater.

“Every year, more than 600 contest winners enroll at ITMO University, accounting for over half of all tuition-free positions. They know that our university will provide them with not only high-quality fundamental education, but also in-demand skills to succeed on the market. ITMO co-organizes the country’s largest competitions, as well as runs its own, in partnership with its industry partners such as Yandex. This is how we attract more and more bright applicants who are to head cutting-edge scientific and technological projects and grow the industry, IT, and AI in Russia,” notes Vladimir Vasilyev, Rector of ITMO University. 

The Open Competition is the primary source of such applicants for ITMO University; in 2023, the university accepted 77 of its winners or prize winners, which made up for roughly 13% of all applicants enrolled through contests. The Olympiad Phystech for school students (49 applicants, or 8%) comes in second, followed by the National Technological Contest (48 applicants, or also 8%).

The United Interuniversity Mathematical Olympiad. Photo by Kirill Dzhenzherukha / ITMO Mediaportal

The United Interuniversity Mathematical Olympiad. Photo by Kirill Dzhenzherukha / ITMO Mediaportal

According to the study, the majority of competition participants (84%) in mathematics, computer science, physics, and robotics enter universities that collaborate with Yandex Education. ITMO University's Information Technologies and Programming Faculty, which runs joint programs with Yandex Education, is one of the top five university choices among math and computer science winners. 

Students at ITMO complete their internships at major companies and take part in hackathons, conferences, and workshops led by notable industry experts from both the university and beyond. Additionally, contest winners are eligible for financial support. First-year students can receive a special ITMO.Family stipend: winners or prize-winners of international or national competitions for school students can get as much as 25,000 rubles per month. Also, applicants who enroll through contest results have advantages when settling into their dorms.

The educational programs offered by ITMO University’s Information Technologies and Programming Faculty continue to be popular among contest winners. Aside from programming and computer science courses, applicants are also interested in an in-depth study of mathematics.