A record proportion of Scottish students are celebrating gaining their place at their first choice university.
Posted Tue 9 August 2022 - 09:30

Following the return to examinations this year, a record 60.1% of Scottish students gained a place at their firm choice university, up from the pre-pandemic level of 57.5% in 2019. This figure will rise as more confirmation decisions are made over the coming days.

Today has also seen continued success in widening access, with a significant closing of the gender progression gap for young people in Scotland (19 and under). In 2019, 50% more females progressed to higher education than males. Today that has narrowed to 39% (from 47% last year). 

Participation of young students from the most disadvantaged areas (SIMD40) is reassuringly up from pre-pandemic levels, with 23.9% of all acceptances from SIMD40 areas compared to 23.4 last year and 22.4% in 2019, reaffirming the continued support to widen access in Scotland.  

Other key points from today’s release include: 

  • The overall number of Scottish students accepted is 30,490, up from 28,750 in 2019.
  • Of those accepted, 29,630 will be studying in Scotland – an increase of 1,740 on 2019.
  • The number of students accepted on to nursing courses is 2,960 – up by 450 compared to 2019.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: said: ‘I’m delighted to be here in Scotland today to join universities as they look to welcome students in the coming weeks. 

‘Today sees a record proportion of young people from Scotland gaining their first choice, showing a continued commitment and flexibility from universities to supporting students despite the disruption over the last two years. 

‘I am also pleased to see continued success in widening access.  During the pandemic, both UCAS and the whole education sector has put the interests of the most disadvantaged students at the core of our work. The reduction in the gender gap is also to be welcomed, following years of sustained focus from the higher education and government in Scotland to address gender imbalances. 

‘Whilst many will be celebrating this morning, there will be some students who have not gained their places and are assessing their options. Be assured, there is plenty of choice available to you and UCAS is here to help. We expect there to be around 30,000 courses available in Clearing across the UK, and our Clearing Plus service will provide personalised choices directly to you. 

‘Acceptance numbers across Scotland will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks as more students’ places are confirmed, particularly those studying qualifications where results are not published today, such as A levels.’

All of today’s statistics are available here.  

For students who wish to explore their options in Clearing, visit ucas.com/contactus 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

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Notes for editors 

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 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. 

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. 

All figures specific to Scotland are compared against SQA Results Day 2021 and 2019. 

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