Higher Education/UCAS

Most people interested in going on to university apply through UCAS during S6. Occasionally S5 pupils will apply but for this, you need to be very clear about what courses you want to go for and also about having a good chance of achieving the necessary entry requirements. PSE classes in S6 will help and support you through the application process. The main website to use as a starting point for university information is www.ucas.com

If you are interested in careers in medicine, veterinary medicine or law you should register with Reach as soon as possible – using this link. Ideally you should register with them from early in S4.

If you are interested in studying a visual creative subject like art, design, architecture at university, you should register with ACES Access to Creative Education in Scotland. ACES are a project for students S4-S6 that will help you explore your options and apply for the course that is right for you. For more info and to register check here 

If you are interested in studying at a conservatoire,  there may be different deadlines for your UCAS application, especially when applying to study music. Check for info on deadlines and the application process here 

It is important to learn as much as possible about the process of applying to university, including entry criteria. Please follow the guide below to find out more about UCAS timeline and more:HE Entry Guide 2023-24 May Update orignal (1)

2024 Entry deadlines:

02 October , 18:00 (UK time) – Music courses

31 January 2024, 18:00 (UK time) – most drama, dance or musical theatre courses

RCS Music school pre-recorded Open Day session here 

Info on applying to  Royal Conservatoire of Scotland here 

For undergraduate courses starting in 2024, your application should be sent by one of these dates to ensure consideration by the conservatoires:

  • 16 October 2023, 18:00 (UK time) – for courses at Oxfrod and Cambridge, most courses in medicine, vet medicine / science, and dentistry
  • 31 January 2024, 18:00 (UK time) – for most undergraduate  courses

If you are attending Musselburgh School and are interested in Higher Education you may get some support from LEAPS look out for more information during PSE and in assemblies.

FOR S5 pupils interested in higher education courses (college and uni); check the S5 Resources by LEAPS here 

Whether you are in S5, or at the start of S6, it is really important you do some background research and preparation so that the application process works as smoothly as possible for you. Some courses will need you to have some related work experience. Others will need a lot of detailed and varied specific work experience. All university applications can benefit from having life and work experience and extra curricular activities to help add to your personal statement. An ideal time to get some more experience is during the summer break between S5 and S6 and this can be planned out well in advance.

Most university courses require you to have good Higher results – usually between 3 and 5 good Highers as their minimum entry requirement. The subjects required will vary from course to course.

It is really important that you make sure you ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK INDIVIDUAL COURSE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS ON INDIVIDUAL UNIVERSITY WEBSITES to ensure you have the most up to date information. 

More HE options: HNC/HND 

If you are not sure you can achieve these entry requirements but want to continue your studies beyond S6, you should consider HNC/HND courses – which can be a good alternative route into a degree, as well as a useful qualification in their own right. HNC/HND courses are usually run at colleges and for most of them you apply individually to the specific college.

HNC/HND courses usually require 1-3 Highers as entry. You can find out more about HNC/HND’s on www.planitplus.net It is also important to consider applying to HNC/HND courses as a possible back up plan to your university applications.

SCQF Framework shows how different Scottish qualifications compare. Link here

Make sure you attend Open Days for any universities that you are seriously considering.  You may need to book your place for these online – so plan ahead for this. A list of Open Days and University Websites https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/events-and-open-days

UCAS annual  Higher Education Exhibitions: bring together representatives from higher and further education institutions in Scotland and elsewhere. They can offer advice as well as information of a variety of courses and learning pathways.

For more information and to book check UCAS  , or speak to your Guidance Teacher.

Those interested in applying for courses in Medicine, Vet medicine and Dentistry should check here for 2024

Entry tests for courses in Medicine, Dentistry and Law:


Medicine related extra material:

Medical School Council have useful advice and guidance on work experience for those interested in studying medicine.

Please check Work experience | Medical Schools Council (medschools.ac.uk)        AND    work-experience-infosheet.pdf (medschools.ac.uk)

BMAT for some UK medical, dental, biomedical and veterinary degree programmes

LNAT  – National Admissions Test for Law : 02/08 Registration begins; 01/09 Testing begins;

Information on funding for HE is available on www.saas.gov.uk

Here is the UCAS How to Guide for Personal Statements

Give yourself plenty of time to work on your personal statement, as this is a key factor in universities deciding on possible offers of places.

Part of your research and planning should also include looking at career options and types of jobs related to your chosen degree. Check ideas Prospects; What can I do with my degree?  here 

The HE-Websites-27p6nsl-179jhbk-1 (1) hand-out has links to other websites you may find useful.

Finally, you should find out what UCAS Clearing is , especially before your exam results come back in August . Link to Clearing here 

If you need more help with looking at university to see if it is a good option for you – or you need any help with the planning or application process, you can come along to a  careers drop in session in the school library during lunch break most Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays and see how we can help. No appointment required for these sessions or ask your guidance teacher for a meeting with us.