student putting a sling on another student’s arm

Access to University Study (SWAP)

  • Are you a mature individual with few or no formal qualifications?
  • Have you been out of education for at least three years?
  • Would you love to go to university but feel you’ve missed your chance?

Then why not ‘SWAP’ to North East Scotland College?

The Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP) is a partnership of colleges and universities in Scotland.  SWAP access programmes are specifically aimed at adults who have been out of fulltime education for some time and who have not studied at university before.

A SWAP access programme could be for you if:

  • You don't have any qualifications above SCQF level 5 (Standard Grade/Intermediate 2, GCSE, National 5) and you have been out of full-time education for 3 years of more. OR
  • You have qualifications at SCQF level 6 or above (Highers, A Levels, HN) and you have been out of full-time education for 5 years or more. AND
  • You are able commit to college on a full-time basis (around 18-20hrs per week) and you aim to progress to university or HNC/D level study.

The courses are a year-long set at Higher level and on successful completion can help you progress to a university degree or a college HNC/D course.

‘92% of SWAP (East) students who passed their access programme in June have now moved on to higher education.’

Our courses

North East Scotland College will be offering three exciting new SWAP courses from August 2018. Our programmes are designed to provide a supportive environment for adults returning to education.

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Returning to education

Not confident about returning to education?

Taking that first step can be daunting but you will have lots of support from classmates and your college tutors, and you'll be with other SWAPPERS, many of whom will be in a similar position.

Don't let finance be a barrier

Most SWAP students are entitled to have tuition fees paid for their SWAP programme and entitled to a college bursary to help with living costs.

Peer support

It's about peer support for adult returners on SWAP access programmes — helping them prepare for higher education. Their mentors are 1st and 2nd year SWAP students now at university.

"We are lucky enough to have the fantastic opportunity to better ourselves — to realise our dreams and potential — thanks to these courses. Not taking that opportunity would be a tremendous shame." SWAP East access student 16/17

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Find out more

For more information on the Scottish Wider Access Programme visit:

This SWAP video showcases some case studies.

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