Applying as a mature student
- Check you're on track to meet entry requirements for your course using the online course finder. Each course page outlines the typical offer and any additional requirements such as GCSE grades or work experience.
- Read 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 including recent evidence of study requirements.
- If you are unsure as to whether you meet certain requirements, get in touch with the Mature Student Recruitment Officer to check firstname.lastname@example.org
At 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 and encourage applicants to reference relevant experience in their UCAS application.
Submitting an application
For the majority of our undergraduate courses mature students apply through UCAS. Some of our courses, including the Foundation Year in Arts and Social Sciences are direct entry, meaning that you apply directly to the University. More information about applying to the University of Bristol.
UCAS advice for mature applicants
Providing your education history
You'll need to enter all of your qualifications from secondary education onwards – confirmed and pending results.
If you are resitting qualfications, you'll need to input them as 'pending' so our admissions team know you are working towards these qualifcations.
Access to HE Diploma students should list all the units they are taking and the amount of credits allocated to each unit. There's room for 20 units on the UCAS form.
Writing your 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.
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?". Be specific about why you would like to study the course.
When assessing personal statements, we are looking for evidence of: relevant academic activity, a realistic understanding of your chosen course, relevant work/life experience, study skills and critical thinking, and 'a well-rounded person'.
About 75% of the personal statement should be about the course you would like to study. For the remianing 25% of the statement 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.
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)."
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 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.
Ask someone else to read your personal statement to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
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, should be submitted by 15 January (or 15 October 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.
For a guide on how to choose a referee please see the UCAS website.
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 UCAT 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.