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Access to universities in Brazil

marzo 31, 2021
estudiar acompanante terapeutico Access to universities in Brazil

All the details concerning your professional future are important, and therefore you should know the access methods to the universities in your country.

Brazil currently has one of the most promising educational systems in Latin America, the University of São Paulo or the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul are, for example, among the most important in Latin America, and in the world ranking of universities they are within of the 50 best in the world.

The country has achieved these results after years of work in the construction of a solid Higher Education system, which still has a long way to go, but which is moving forward.

How is access to universities in Brazil?

Among the many transformations that the higher education level has undergone, we cannot fail to highlight its access method, which is characterized by being diverse and adaptable to the different social and economic realities of the students.

Admission to universities in Brazil

We said before that diversity is part of the essential characteristics of the method of entry to the Brazilian Higher Education system, but why do we say this? Because in Brazil there is no single method of access to higher education, in fact, although in recent years this issue has begun to stabilize to ensure that any student, from any part of the country, can enter public universities, following a In the same method, the truth is that many higher-level institutions still use other modalities to allow access to future students.

Of course, there are two methods that stand out above the rest: the ENEM and the vestibular test.


Also known as the National High School Exam, this is the test created by the Ministry of Education in Brazil to assess, in the first instance, the general quality of secondary education. At least in those terms it was born, however today its significance is due to the fact that the ENEM is the entrance exam to public or federal universities in the country and also to private institutions.

The ENEM It has become the most important test in Brazil, since practically all public universities in the Brazilian territory already adopt it as a method of entry for students, through the Unified Selection System (Sisu).

This selectivity test is carried out annually and all students who are about to graduate at the intermediate level or who already have completed secondary studies can participate in it. The only difference at this point is that the former will not have to pay the fee of 35 reais for the right to an exam, while those who are not regular students of an intermediate level institution will have to pay it. Of course, there are exceptions, since young people who belong to a low-income family group will not have to pay this fee either.

The ENEM is usually performed during the month of November of each year, consisting of a written essay and four tests of 45 multiple-choice questions.

So far in 2014, more than 9.5 million people have already registered for this exam.

Vestibular exam

This is an exam still adopted in many institutions in the country. At the University of São Paulo, for example, it is the method used to give students access to the institution’s study programs.

In general, the vestibular is designed to assess the knowledge acquired by the student throughout their training in primary and secondary school.

This kind of exam is administered by institutions that have been created for this particular task. FUVEST, VUNESP, CESPE and COMVEST are some of the most popular commissions in the sector, in charge of taking the exams of universities such as São Paulo, Paulista State University, University of Brasilia or the State University of Campinas.

The structure of this selective test may vary depending on the evaluating institution, but in general terms, the exam is usually divided into two parts. In the first, the student must answer a series of multiple-choice questions about different subjects.

In order to carry out the second part, the first must be passed and in that case, the test will consist of demonstrating, through specific explanations, that the student can apply the acquired knowledge in a practical way. Also in this instance, specific questions are usually answered about the faculty to which one wishes to access.

Admission to private institutions of Higher Education

It is necessary to detail that in Brazil each higher level institution will be able to choose its own method of admission to the training programs they offer and this is independent of the fact that the institutions are public or private, since the autonomy of this decision applies to any type of higher education establishment.

In any case, we can say that in the segment of private institutions there is greater flexibility with regard to access methods for students.

Various admission methods are offered in various private institutions of Higher Education. From the access through the qualifications obtained in the ENEM, the traditional vestibular, the entrance course with subsequent exam, or even exams that are carried out through the Internet.

General entry requirements to the Brazilian Higher Education level

In Brazil, it is a general requirement for students to enter the higher educational level, to have completed secondary studies. Students must also be over 18 years of age or otherwise have a legal guardian who responds for them.

Another requirement, which we have already made clear, is to carry out the previous selection process (ENEM, vestibular, etc.), whatever is used by the institution to which you wish to enter.

It is interesting to note that those students who have not completed their secondary studies but who wish to do the ENEM or the vestibular, will be able to do so and if they pass these exams, they will have to regularize their situation, finishing their secondary studies, in order to enroll in an institution of the upper level.

Documentation to submit to enroll in a university in Brazil

There is a series of specific documents to present to any institution of Higher Education in Brazil, in order to enroll in a degree study program.

  • Identification document.
  • CPF.
  • Certificate of completed secondary studies.
  • Recent 3×4 photography.
  • Qualification certificate obtained in ENEM (in case the institution uses this method of admission).
  • Entry application duly signed and completed.