Applying to study

Finding the entry requirements for each course

Entry requirements for each course can be found in our online course finder.

We would also recommend looking at the admissions statement for your course, which provides in-depth detail about what we are looking for in an application and specific information for mature students. Admissions statements for all of our courses.

At the University of Bristol, work experience cannot usually be used in place of academic qualifications. However we do value what your life experience brings to the learning environment.

More information about admissions for those completing an Access to HE Diploma.

Applying for university

For the majority of our undergraduate courses mature students apply through UCAS. Some of our courses, including the Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities are direct entry, meaning that you apply directly to the University. More information about applying to the University of Bristol.

Providing a reference

As part of the application process you will be asked to provide a reference. If you are studying at a school or college when you apply then they will provide a reference for you. If you are applying independent of a school or college then you will need to provide details of a referee. This person should ideally have known you in an academic capacity. However if you don’t have anyone, then an employer or someone who has known you in a formal capacity would be acceptable. Your referee cannot be a family member or friend.

Your application, along with the reference, must be submitted by 15 January 2018 (or 15 October 2017 for medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science). Late applications are possible, however, it depends on the availability on the course as to whether your application is considered.

Writing a personal statement

On your application form you will be asked to complete a 'personal statement' which is your chance to tell the university why they should offer you a place on the course. For a guide on how to complete a personal statement please see the UCAS website.

Top tips for mature student personal statements

Your personal statement is an essay where you can explain why you want to study and why you should be accepted. Make sure every paragraph in the essay answers the question "why should the university choose you?". We would recommend using the P (point) E (example) A (analysis) method of essay writing. For example:

"I have demonstrated excellent skills in problem solving and analysis (point) through taking part in the University of Bristol's Access to Bristol programme. During this, I had to use my mathematical skills to develop a phone app (example). This will benefit me at university because it shows my ability to apply my learning to a variety of problems and real life scenarios (analysis)."

Ask someone else to read your personal statement to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

Be specific about why you would like to study the course. About two thirds of the personal statement should be about the course you would like to study.

We want to hear about your life and work experience, but link it back to the course you would like to study. Your life story might be interesting, but unless you link it back to studying your course at university, it will not contribute to answering the question, ‘why should the university choose you?

You have more transferable skills relevant to completing a degree than you probably realise. For example:

You might be a working parent with excellent time management skills. This would help in a university degree where you will have to manage your own time and meet essay deadlines.

Through the work experience you did 12 years ago you may have learnt how to work independently which will help with the independent study you have to do at university.

Through your life experience you may have more confidence to ask questions and participate in seminars than some younger students. You can make valuable contributions to the learning environment by bringing a different world view and opinions about issues.

Medicine, dentistry and law courses

You will need to arrange to take an additional assessment at the same time as submitting your application. Medicine and dentistry require the UKCAT test. For law you will have to take the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT). 

What if I have personal circumstances which have affected my studies?

The University of Bristol does take personal (extenuating) circumstances into account. You will need to email us an additional form after you make your application. More information.

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