SQA Results Day: What next if you've applied to university?

This article was last updated on 24 June 2021.

Planning on leaving school and going to uni? How your results have turned out might affect your options.

Use our handy decision tree to work out what choices you have and what might suit you best.

I have applied to go to university. What shall I do if…

...my grades are what I expected?

  • Great! Well done you. If your grades are as expected and you have met the conditions of your offer, UCAS Track will update and you will be accepted onto your chosen course.

  • But if you’ve changed your mind and want to go for your insurance choice, you’ll need to contact the university to see if they can still offer you a place. Then if your firm choice agrees to withdraw your offer, you will be entered into Clearing where your insurance choice can then make you an offer.

  • Remember there are no guarantees, and once your firm offer has been cancelled, you can’t automatically go back to it. You can always discuss your options with a Careers Adviser on the SDS Exam Results Helpline if you wish to explore your options.

...my grades are better than expected?

  • Result! You can either go for your firm choice, or you could be in a position to change courses.

  • UCAS Adjustment allows students who have met and exceeded the conditions for their firm choice to apply for a different course whilst retaining their original offer. Adjustment is available between 10-18 August and is totally optional.

  • If you might be interested in using Adjustment, contact the SDS Exam Results Helpline for advice to help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

...my grades are worse than expected?

  • Try not to worry – you still have options no matter your results.

  • Your teachers should explain your provisional results with you before the summer break. From Friday 25th June to Thursday 12th August 2021, you can register with the SQA that you want to appeal. It’s helpful to do this after talking to those who know you and your work best – but the final decision to appeal is yours. If you decide you want to appeal after 12th August, you can ask your teacher to submit an appeal to the SQA for you. The final date for this is 27th August. There’s a helpful explanation of this year’s appeal process for learners on the SQA website.

  • If no-one is able to offer you a place, you will be automatically entered into Clearing to help you find an alternative course. Find out more about Clearing on the UCAS website.

  • If you have met the conditions for your insurance choice, this will be confirmed and UCAS will send you a letter in the post. This letter will confirm the course you will study and explain if there’s anything else you need to do.

  • But, if you’re in a situation where you haven’t met the grades for your firm choice but they haven’t declined the conditional offer yet, give them a call. Even if you didn't meet the conditions, the university or college might still be prepared to accept you or may be considering whether to offer you a place on an alternative course.

  • Don’t panic, there are still options even if you still don’t hold any offers, and there is nothing suitable through Clearing. You could look at applying for college, which can be a great stepping stone towards university – and some courses can lead to direct entry to university. You could also try again to get the grades you’d need for your desired course.

Where else can I get advice?

SQA will run its Candidate Advice Line on 0345 279 1000 from Tuesday, 10 August 2021, answering questions about your results, and your Scottish Qualifications Certificate.

The Skills Development Scotland Helpline number is 0800 917 8000 and is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. This is the number to call from now until 9 August to discuss provisional results and what they may mean.

Skills Development Scotland's Results Helpline will be available from 8am on Tuesday, 10 August 2021, contactable on 0808 100 8000. Their expert careers advisers will be on hand to discuss options and next steps such as course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, Modern, Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships and jobs or volunteering.

As well as running from 8am to 8pm on results day, SDS's Results Helpline will also be open on 10 and 11 August from 8am to 8pm, 12 and 13 August from 9am to 5pm and 16 to 18 August from 9am to 5pm.

Your guide to SQA results day
Staying positive
Forging your own path