UCAS application process
UCAS application cycle
Applications to full-time degree courses at the University of Bristol must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS). Further information about applying for university is available from our how to apply page within the online prospectus.
All UK schools and colleges (and a few overseas establishments) are registered with UCAS to manage their students' applications. Your son/daughter can speak to their teacher or careers adviser to find out more about the application process; international applicants can get advice from the local British Council office.
The table below summarises what your son/daughter will be expected to do and how you can help them stay ahead of deadlines.
Please visit the UCAS Key dates page for more information.
|Year 12 and beginning of Year 13
(24 to 18 months ahead of entry)
|Research and choose courses and universities
15 October in the application cycle is the deadline for Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Science and applications to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge
30 June in the application cycle - international applicants can usually apply up until this date for all other universities/courses
|October - May in the application cycle
(12 to 6 months ahead of entry)
|Wait for all decisions
When they've received all their decisions...
If your son / daughter has met the terms of their offer they do not need to contact the university; this will be confirmed on UCAS Track.
If they have missed the terms of their offer they should check UCAS Track to see if a final decision has been made for them yet. If not, they should contact their firm choice immediately to see if they are still able to offer a place. They may then need to contact their insurance choice.
If they have not made the terms of either their firm or their insurance choice, they will automatically be entered into clearing.
If they have exceeded the terms of their offer they are eligible to enter adjustment although places are often limited.
More information about what to do on results day can be found on the UCAS website.
Helping your son/daughter to apply
You can help your son/daughter to make their application by encouraging them to:
- begin researching universities early, well ahead of any deadlines imposed by their school/college or UCAS. Useful places to start are the UCAS website and university websites, offer a wealth of information. The University of Bristol's online course finder contains information about course structure, departmental leaflets and admissions statements which explain how applications are assessed.
- find out the dates of any open days and visit opportunities well in advance. Many universities, including Bristol, require booking for open days. Open days are an excellent opportunity to find out what it's really like to study at an institution by exploring the teaching facilities and talking to staff and students. As a result of Covid-19, we are hosting a number of virtual visit days and open days. You can register your interest for these here.
- plan their application with plenty of time to draft, redraft and proofread their personal statement. It can be tempting to rewrite it for them, but it's important that a personal statement is personal - feel free to advise, but make sure the finished product is their voice.
- think carefully about their choices - will they be happy at those universities, are those courses right for them, and have they included courses with different entry requirements so they've got sensible firm and insurance options?
Is it in my son/daughter's interests to apply as soon as possible?
Equal consideration is given to all those who apply by the deadline of January 15, or by the earlier deadline of 15 October for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, so there's no need to worry about getting in ahead of other applicants. Some departments may begin making offers earlier than others, but all applications received by the deadline will be assessed fairly. This is why some applicants won't receive decisions until March/April/May, when we've had time to assess all the applicants who met the deadline.
Can you see where else my son/daughter has applied?
UCAS operates an invisibility policy. This means that each university that your son/daughter applies to can't see which other institutions have also received an application from them. We will only be able to see this information after the applicant has made their firm and insurance decisions.
Will an application be affected if Bristol isn't put as my son/daughter's first choice?
Applicants do not rank universities on their UCAS form; they are processed alphabetically. Whether we are first or fifth on your son/daughter's own shortlist, the secret's safe with them!
Can my son/daughter apply for a gap year?
If your son/daughter plans on taking a gap year, they should consider what experiences and skills they will gain and explain their reasons for taking a gap year in their personal statement. Each course entry in our undergraduate course finder will show whether deferred applications are welcomed - some departments may limit the number of deferrals they can accept to ensure fairness to those applying in the following application cycle, but will still consider them. It's worth remembering that even if your son/daughter applies for deferred entry and is unsuccessful, they can make a fresh application in the next UCAS cycle for entry that year.
What happens after applying?
As applications are received, members of the admissions team consider them according to criteria set by each department. All departments publish admissions statements, which are included in our online course finder entries.
Following an application, your son/daughter will receive an acknowledgement email and will be updated on the progress of their application while they wait for a decision.
The University of Bristol receives UK/EU applications on a rolling basis from September to January, and international applications up until June. Some applicants will receive a decision very soon after applying, and others may not have one until March; this happens every year and is nothing to worry about. Even if your son/daughter receives some decisions months before others, they do not have to decide their firm and insurance choices until they have received all their decisions.