More than 30,000 applicants have been accepted into a Scottish university or college as school pupils across the country received their exam results yesterday.
The number is five per cent up compared to results day last year, according to admissions service Ucas.
It was also revealed pupils have taken a record number of Highers – despite a slight drop in the overall pass rate.
More than 140,000 youngsters found out their results yesterday – the first time the National 4 and 5 qualifications have been awarded.
The qualifications were brought in as part of the Curriculum for Excellence reforms, with the bulk of pupils in S4 now sitting them instead of Standard Grades. The pass rate for the National 4 was 93 per cent, with 114,173 passes recorded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
Meanwhile, pupils achieved 173,131 passes at National 5 level, resulting in a success rate of 81.1 per cent.
Students passed 147,899 Highers. Candidates sat more than 9,000 more Higher exams than last year, although the pass rate fell slightly, from 77.4 per cent to 77.1 per cent.
A total of 18,171 Advanced Highers were awarded, as well as 144 Scottish Baccalaureates, giving pass rates of 81 per cent and 81.8 per cent respectively.
For Intermediate levels 1 and 2, the pass rate dropped to 73.2 per cent and 77.9 per cent respectively this year.
There were 30,350 applicants accepted into a Scots university or college as of midnight.
Fatuma Mahad, Ucas director of operations, said: “Congratulations to everyone who has secured a place at their chosen university or college in Scotland.
“Staying positive will put you on the front foot if you’re looking for a place in clearing. Remember, the best way to succeed is to prepare thoroughly then call universities and colleges for an intelligent discussion about the courses you’re interested in.”
Minister for learning Alasdair Allan said: “The fact there has been such a marked increase in the number of Highers attained is a real success story.
“Students are now sitting a greater number of Highers, demonstrating real ambition and aspiration among young learners to achieve the best qualifications they can.
“I am also encouraged to see so many young people attaining National qualifications, which are an important component in Curriculum for Excellence.
“This is a significant achievement for our learners and our schools, and clear evidence of continued improvement in Scottish education.” Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive and Scotland’s chief examining officer, said: “We would like to wish all candidates continued success as they set out on a wide range of different pathways – whether that is moving into the workplace or a training scheme, returning to school or taking up a college or university place.”
EIS teaching union general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is gratifying to see the positive attainment rates in the new National qualifications, particularly in light of the challenging circumstances in which these new courses were introduced.
“It is of great credit to the work of our schools, pupils and teachers that the diet has been so successful at a time when budgets have been declining and workload pressures increasing.”