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Recruitment and admissions in colleges

Equitable student recruitment is key to advancing opportunity and creating a diverse student population in your college.

Colleges in Scotland have a variety of different admissions processes and practices designed around their individual working contexts. Currently, the sector is undergoing a process of regionalisation, and colleges that are merging are reviewing and integrating inherited admissions policies. Advance HE has worked with several colleges in Scotland as they embedded equality into admissions through its mainstreaming programmes.


Some of the approaches the colleges took included:

  • clearly communicating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in admissions.
  • encouraging disclosure of equality and diversity information so that services are in place to meet individual needs.
  • attracting more applications from underrepresented groups through a range of communication and stakeholder engagement activities.
  • developing systems and processes for analysis and evaluation of equality data and action planning across all aspects of admissions, progression and attainment.
  • ensuring students and staff are aware of their rights and responsibilities under equality legislation and the barriers and discrimination which might affect groups with protected characteristics.


We are currently working with a group of admissions managers and practitioners from eight Scottish colleges and SPA to develop guidance on equality in college admissions. This aims to assist colleges to examine how people with protected characteristics are considered throughout their admissions processes and share effective practice from across the sector.

Further resources: Education Scotland aspect report: Meeting the needs of learners and employers through effective planning, application and admission processes in Scotland’s colleges

Related Publications

Equitable admissions for underrepresented groups

Ensuring admissions processes are equitable and free from inadvertent discrimination

Equitable admissions in Scottish colleges

This guidance aims to familiarise college staff involved in recruitment and admissions with relevant equality principles and provide information on essential equality concepts