Three Helpline users report their experiences of the information service to Joan Elrick. Disappointments have heaped on to each other ever since Lindsey McCandless, aged 18, received her Higher results. After a desperate and fruitless search for an appropriate course, the former Notre Dame High pupil in Glasgow was shocked to find that her three Highers and seven Standard grades are not enough for an HNC course. She has been offered a place on a GSVQ course, but fears this will be "like starting right back at the beginning".
Lindsey's problems started when her results fell short of a "three Bs" requirement for the psychology degree course she had set her heart on.
A disappointing C in biology is being appealed by her teacher. If successful, she will have a A and two Bs; so she sought immediate advice from the Helpline on alternatives.
A long and frustrating bid to get herself on a local HND social sciences ended with Lindsey having to draft in her aunt to help her get through to an appropriate person. Weeks on, Lindsey found that the course did not exist.
In the meantime, she had put in a second call to the Helpline. "It took nearly a week for them to get back to me, and by that time some of the college courses were close to starting. I think they were just too busy," she says.
Lindsey's careers teacher suggested she inquire about an HNC course at Anniesland College, but her hopes were dashed again when she found that a D result in Higher geography counted against her as she needed it as a second "social subject" alongside English. "It's terrible. My mum's really angry about this. She can't believe someone with three Highers and seven S grades can't get on to an HNC or HND course. I don't know what I'm going to do."