Getting In

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Scottish Wider Access Programme - SWAP - Adults into Higher Education

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As an adult, you may think you can't get into university because you don't have the school qualifications that are usually needed. Or, maybe you feel that you are too old, or it's just not for you possibly because no one in your family or none of your friends has gone to university.

So, you may be surprised to hear that it is possible to get in - even if school is just a distant memory! You are never too old.  Even if you have been at work (or out of work) for years, or lack formal qualifications, you can still get into higher education.

What you may not realise is that you may have built up a range of skills from previous jobs, or from bringing up a family, and these may be the exact skills that universities are looking for; being able to communicate with others, or work in teams and solve problems, for example. A Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) develops these skills and prepares you to succeed in higher education. 

You could attend a SWAP running in your local college. These courses are designed specifically for adults and prepare you for entry into higher education. Successful completion of an Access programme at college can lead to progression onto a university degree course. Universities recognise the value of SWAP courses and regularly accept applications from SWAP students. Most SWAP Access Programmes are one year full time. 
For a list of SWAP programmes in Scotland visit the SWAP website at:

You can also search for SWAP courses in Planit - just type 'SWAP' in as a keyword in the search box (at the top right hand corner of the page), select 'Courses' from the drop down menu next to it, and we do the rest. You can refine your search results to your local area.

SWAP gives independent advice to adults about opportunities to access higher education. There are many adults who have the potential to succeed at university, but missed out first time round, for whatever reason. The friendly staff at SWAP can give advice if you want to access higher education but lack the necessary qualifications. 

If you are not sure what you'd like to do and would like general advice on options, you can contact any SWAP member organisation or telephone the SWAP East or SWAP West offices: 
SWAP East - Tel: 0131 650 6861  
SWAP West  - Tel: 0141 564 7206

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