As teenagers in Scotland receive their exam results for higher education, a chaplain has been sharing his hope for students to grow in their faith as they enter university.
Around 140,000 pupils across Scotland received results on Tuesday for their Nationals, Highers, Advanced Highers and national certificates.
The number of Scottish pupils to get top grades at Higher has bettered pre-Covid figures, with 77.1 per cent receiving marks of A to C this year, according to figures from the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA).
Although this is an improvement on the 74.8 per cent of pupils recorded in 2019, the pass rate has fallen from last year, which saw a pass rate of 78.9 per cent.
It was a similar picture for National 4s and 5s and for Advanced Highers. The SQA confirmed earlier that it planned to take "a sensitive approach" to grading this year, continuing to take into account the ongoing impact of the pandemic on education.
As teenagers begin to consider their next steps into higher education, Rev Dr Donald MacEwan, chaplain at the University of St Andrews encourages Christians that, contrary to popular opinion, university can be a great place to grow in your walk with God.
He tells Premier News that St. Andrews, Scotland has an abundance of student-majority churches: “Faith is very much alive, at least in this university. There are a number of churches which are really full of students - undergraduates and postgraduates. For example, the Baptist Church and some of the more independent evangelical churches, also the Catholic Church in St. Andrews, and the University Chapel where I and my colleagues lead services. Many of these are majority student worshipping congregations, the majority of the people going into home groups, study groups or discussion groups will be students.
MacEwan explains that the University’s student-led Christian Union offers a good transition into university life for both believers and those looking to find faith for the first time, particularly for international students.
“There may be students, for example from China or from parts of Europe, where there was very little in the way of Christian faith - they often find that St. Andrews and university life is a time to really explore new philosophies of life and to get involved with reading Scripture for the first time.
“I conduct baptisms of students most years, and very often they're from Asia, or from other parts of the world. So there are students who almost see leaving home as the first chance in their life to explore questions of faith,” he added.
MacEwan advises new students to seek out university faith groups at Freshers’ Fairs and to visit local churches to help them explore their faith.