Tips for Admission at the University of Edinburgh
The Important First Step for All Applicants
Something that all applicants (as well as prospective applicants) to any university should do, if possible, is attend open days. Choosing a degree programme that is right for you is important, but the university itself and the city or town it is in is just as important. You are going to have to spend three or four years there. No matter how perfect the content of the degree programme seems, you won’t enjoy it if you hate going to your university or you hate where you live.
A personal anecdote: when I was an applicant, I applied for four universities. The University of Edinburgh was my top choice, which we’ll call A, and lets just call the other three universities B, C, and D. This order of preference was based on how the degree programmes sounded from their online profiles and the rankings of the universities on league tables. After visiting open days for all four universities, however, I found that my order of preference upon speaking to staff, current students, and seeing the facilities was actually A, D, C, B.
My least favourite choice turned out to be my second, and my second choice was in fact my least favourite! This is because the open days allowed me to actually see everything for myself, not just what I had read, and I was able to get a feel for the universities – the atmosphere and the vibe.
What are the University of Edinburgh Looking for in a Personal Statement?
The dreaded personal statement. But you should consider it your chance to really show why the university should want you to study at their university. The University of Edinburgh state that they look in a personal statement for evidence of commitment to continuing education, for motivation to succeed and do well in your subject area, for your readiness and maturity to study at an institute of higher education, and for a strong interest in your chosen subject area.
Evidence of related work experience, volunteering, and extra-curricular activities is also extremely important to include. But don’t worry if you can’t include these – the University of Edinburgh is sensitive to the fact that not everybody has the same opportunities and access to work placements and prior experience in the subject before university. The University of Edinburgh consider a wide variety of experiences and, as long as you can demonstrate your desire to study and your interest in the subject, they will listen.
Explain why you want to study the subject you are applying for. Demonstrate that you know what the subject actually involves. Write about relevant skills you have gained (for example, if you are applying to study Business Management, talk about your high school enterprise group or the people skills you gained through helping to organise the school dance).
How Do the University of Edinburgh Select their Students?
Each of the University of Edinburgh’s three colleges (Humanities & Social Science, Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, and Science & Engineering) have their own admissions team, and each application is reviewed by at least two professional admissions staff members. The University of Edinburgh are looking for the best students with potential to not only benefit from their studies but to contribute to the university in return. This is why it is important to demonstrate your enthusiasm and willingness to be a part of a university community in your personal statement.
Before making a decision, all the information contained in your UCAS application is considered. Your academic qualifications, your personal statement, your reference, and so on. The University of Edinburgh also have systems in place that recognise that not all applicants come from the same backgrounds or have had the same opportunities and access to education. The admissions teams are fully aware that your potential and suitability for the university can’t be measured on your grades alone.
The admissions teams can also take into account circumstances such as serious illness or family bereavement having affected your school experience. Other data is used to identify applicants for whom their grades might not be a true reflection of their potential to be a valuable asset to the university. To find out more about these systems, visit this link.
Interviews and Tests in the University of Edinburgh’s Admissions Process
The University of Edinburgh are slightly unusual in that they do not normally interview applicants, and they do not even hold auditions for applicants to music programmes. This has its pros and cons but, either way, it definitely makes it all the more important that you have a strong personal statement. But applicants to certain programmes will be interviewed.
Education, nursing, oral health science, medicine, and veterinary medicine applicants are likely to be invited for an interview. Medicine applicants will also be required to sit UKCAT (UK Clinical Aptitude Test) in the summer before applying. Digital mini portfolios will be required of applicants to art, design, and fine art programmes, and these mini portfolios will be used in the selection process.
Devon Elizabeth Barnett
Your application should demonstrate suitability for, and commitment to, your chosen degree programme.
In your personal statement we look for evidence of:
- commitment, motivation and readiness for higher education
- suitability for your chosen degree programme
- a strong interest in your chosen subject area
If you are applying to a professional or vocational degree programme (such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Education), your personal statement should demonstrate a clear understanding of the profession.
You can support this with evidence of appropriate work experience, volunteering or work shadowing, although we do recognise that not all students have equal access to such opportunities.
Your application will also be assessed for skills, qualities and attributes that are recognised as being of particular value. Details of these can be found in the entry requirements section of the UCAS website.
We also refer to the information in your reference when assessing your potential.
All applications must include predicted grades for any exams that have not yet been taken. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that this information is provided on the UCAS form.