New UCAS figures show nearly three-quarters of young Scottish students have been accepted by their firm choice of university.
Posted Tue 8 August 2023 - 09:00

Figures released today for SQA results day (8 August), show 72% of young Scottish applicants, aged 19 and under, (18,780) have gained a place at their first choice university, up from 69% last year (18,680) and 65% in 2019 (15,670).

In total, 30,050 Scottish students have been accepted, compared to 30,490 in 2022 (-1%) and up from 28,750 in 2019 (+5%).

This is against a backdrop of a lower number of total Scottish applicants (all ages) compared to last year – 44,490 down from 48,000 (-7%) last year and 47,220 in 2019 (-6%).

The total number of Scottish mature applicants (aged 21 and over) largely accounts for the decline in overall applicants, at 15,370 this year, down from 17,850 in 2022 (-13%) and 19,590 in 2019 (-21%).

Other key stats include:

  • The number of accepted Scottish students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (SIMD40) is broadly similar last year – 9,140 in 2023 compared to 9,270 in 2022. For young people, aged 19 and under, there has been a slight uplift, to 4,780 this year compared to 4,660 in 2022.
  • International acceptances at Scottish providers are stable year-on-year, with 3,370 non-UK acceptances, compared to 3,380 last year.
  • The number of accepted applicants to Scottish providers (all ages, all domicile) has fallen for subjects allied to medicine from 5,200 in 2022 to 4,860 this year (-7%), education and teaching from 2,950 to 2,510 (-15%), and social sciences from 3,050 to 2,920 (-4%).

UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said:

“Today I am delighted to see record numbers of young Scottish people celebrating receiving their first choice. While the number of overall applicants is down, we typically see a fall in mature applicant numbers when employment rates are high.

“Today’s figures show that demand for going to university or college is still healthy and much higher than pre-pandemic levels. Students who have applied have been more likely to secure a place which demonstrates how the admissions system is continuing to deliver for students as they make the next memorable step on their higher education journey.

“For any students who may not have received the grades they were hoping for, there is still plenty of choice available to you, with tens of thousands of courses in Clearing and our Clearing Plus tool able to help match you to personalised choices.”

View all of today's statistics

For students who wish to explore their options in Clearing, visit for all channels to access help from UCAS advisers.

The Skills Development Scotland Exam Results Helpline offers free, independent careers advice for students with unexpected results on 0808 100 8000.


UCAS Press Office

07880488795 (monitored regularly)

Notes for Editors

The interactive dashboard will go live at 0900 BST 8 August 2023.

UCAS uses the term ‘young applicants’ when referring to applicants aged 19 and under.

The proportion of young Scottish students accepted at their firm choice of university refers to main scheme applicants (those who applied before the 30 June deadline).

In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education that is not included in UCAS' figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland – this proportion varies by geography and background within Scotland. Accordingly, figures on applications and application rates in Scotland reflect only those applying for full-time undergraduate study through UCAS.


UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education.

Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or a degree apprenticeship.

We support 1.5 million students every year to explore entering higher education, employment and apprenticeships and manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

We also provide a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies, and employers, including apprenticeships.

We’re a successful and fast-growing organisation, which helps hundreds of thousands of people every year. We're committed to delivering a first-class service to all our customers — they're at the heart of everything we do.


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