Frequently asked questions


Q: What qualifications do I need to do a SWAP access programme?
A: There are no formal entry requirements. However, some courses may require you to demonstrate your capabilites in specific subjects, such as maths or physics. 

Q: I have studied at university before. Am I eligible?
A: If you already hold a university degree, then you do not meet the SWAP eligibility criteria. If you have previously studied at university, but did not complete your degree, please contact the SWAP East Office for further guidance.

The access programme

Q: Which courses/universities will my SWAP qualification allow me to apply to?
A: Use our progression route finder to research what degree programmes are available to you at partner universities.  This will also tell you what SWAP profile grades you will need for entry and if there are any additional requirements (e.g. National 5 Maths). 
Q: Do I have to pass all of the units on the course?
A: In order to successfully complete the programme you will need to achieve at least 18 credits.  For most students this will mean that they must pass all of the units on the programme. 
Q: I am struggling with a particular subject, can I drop it?
A: Dropping a subject may mean that you will not achieve sufficient unit credits to pass the programme. We strongly recommend that you avoid dropping any of your subjects but if this is something you are thinking about you should speak to your SWAP tutor and/or the SWAP office for advice.  

Q: Will the access programme give me a qualification and will I get a certificate on completion?
 A: Successful completion of the access programme is a pathway to higher education, but it is not a qualification in itself. The programme is made up of SQA units and at the end of the year, you will receive from SQA a certificate showing which units you passed/failed. You will not see your SWAP profile grades listed on the SQA certificate. These grades are given to you by the college solely to give the universities evidence of how well you performed during the year. If you are holding an offer from a university, your results, including your profile grades, will be sent by SWAP to the university in early July.

Applying to university
Q: When do I need to decide my university choices? 
A: You will start working on your university application (UCAS application) around October. The UCAS deadline is 26th January (for those applying to Medicine, Vet Medicine & Dentistry the deadline is 15 October), but most colleges will require your application to be completed by December, to allow your tutor time to write a reference.

Q: How many universities can I apply to?
A: You are allowed up to five choices (only 4 for Medicine & Dentistry). These are choices of degree programmes rather than universities and you can, in most cases, apply to more than one degree at the same university. However you would not usually make more than 2 choices to one university. Edinburgh University will consider 1 choice only. We strongly recommend that you apply to more than one university and that you use up as many of your choices as possible. Individual universities will not see where else you have applied to. 
Q: Can I apply to a university outwith the SWAP East region?
A: Yes you can apply to any university, however only SWAP East partner universities have formally agreed to consider applications from SWAP students and so they are your best chance of getting an offer of a place. If you are considering applying to a university in another part of the UK, it is a good idea to check first with the admissions office if they will be willing to consider your application. SWAP will also help by sending information about the access programmes to the relevant admissions offices. SWAP West partner institutions may also accept SWAP East applications for a number of degrees, but please check with the SWAP office if you are planning to apply to a university in the west of Scotland. 
Q: What should I put in my UCAS application?
A: Please use our UCAS Guide for SWAP Students to help you complete the UCAS form correctly. Remember to use the SWAP East buzzword when you register with UCAS. The Education section of the application form can be tricky for SWAP applicants, so PLEASE refer to the guidance notes when completing this. Remember to list all the units that you are undertaking on your SWAP programme and include details of any qualifications achieved before the access programme. And remember to mention in your personal statement that you are a SWAP student.
Q: Can SWAP check my UCAS application?
A: Since there are hundreds of SWAP students and only a small team at SWAP East, it isn’t possible for us to check every single application. Your tutors will likely have considerable experience in dealing with UCAS applications and will help keep you right. SWAP East can help with questions about completing the application or about your choices. Feel free to contact us for help. 
Q: I am not ready to apply to university yet. What can I do?
A: Your SWAP profile grades are valid for at least two years, so you could wait and apply to university next year if you prefer. Or you could apply to do an HNC at college, possibly with a view to going on to an HND or a degree. Have a look at college websites to see what is on offer – colleges tend to open for applications in January, but some may open earlier. 
Q: I’ve received a university offer but it’s not based on my SWAP programme. I’m confused about what they want. What should I do?
A: Please contact us for advice.
Q: I’ve been rejected by all my university choices. What can I do?
A: Please contact us for advice. 
Q: How can I fund my university studies? 
A: If you are planning on doing a degree at a Scottish university or an HNC/D at a Scottish, you apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for tuition fee funding. Applications are submitted online via the SAAS website. There are also many other sources of funding available, depending on your circumstances. Read our funding guidance for more information.

Q: When can I apply for funding?
A: To ensure that your funding is in place by the start of your course, you must normally apply to SAAS no later than the end of June. The application process opens in early April. You can submit your application as soon as you receive your first conditional offer; you do not need to wait until you have accepted an offer.

Q: How much funding can I get?
A: If you are ordinarily domiciled in Scotland, SAAS may cover your tuiton fees and give you a loan. There are also bursaries available, depending on your personal circumstances. You may also be able to access additional sources of funding, such as university scholarships. The value of these vary.

Q: I am not from Scotland, can I get any funding?
A: If you are not ordinarily domiciled in Scotland (i.e. you have lived in Scotland for less than three years), you are not normally entitled to SAAS funding. However, there are
exceptions and you should contact SAAS to be sure. 

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