AAAdmissions Blog

This blog is maintained by the Undergraduate Admissions Tutors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol. Here you will find FAQ answers and news updates on our admissions process. For more information, visit the Department home page or the undergraduate admissions home page.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Why Bristol?

Sorry for the long silence.  Various things have kept me busy over the last couple of months, including writing a machine learning code for our autonomous quadrotor and finalizing our paper on trajectory planning for the forthcoming joint EU-US Air Traffic seminar in Chicago.  Teaching continues of course, and I'm pleased to have just finished marking the third year helicopter control lab reports.  Meanwhile my final year research students wrapped up their eclectic mix of projects on catapult launchers, cooperative helicopters, robot aerobatics, London weather and- I kid you not- whiskers for quadrotors.  Welcome to the hectic whirl of Bristol life.

Our side of the admissions process is just about finished: we've made all our offers and have only a handful of late applications left in the system.  Our regrets to those of you who didn't get offers: we've had another year of strong application numbers so competition has again been tough to get the offers.  Thanks to those offer holders who came to one of our Wednesday afternoon taster sessions.  We hope you found it interesting.  (My flight simulator is now enjoying its annual maintenance period.)

All that's left now is for our offer holders to respond.  I'm pleased to see a healthy number of you accepting our offer already, up from this time last year, on top of a spike in the number of people making us their insurance choice.  For the remainder, it falls to me to try and help you with one of the handful of questions you must be juggling right now: why Bristol?

Hopefully, between web sites, open days and visit days, our much celebrated six things you should know about Aerospace at Bristol are familiar to all of you, and they cover the key points about our course and Department.  If not, refresh your memory via the link.

Bristol is also simply a great place to live, mixing all the amenities you'd want from a city with easy ways out for unwinding.  I can tell this by how often I bump into former students who are still living nearby, and it helps further that we have most of Europe's aerospace industry on our doorstep.

Of course, I realise that there's only so much help I can be with your decision making, biased or otherwise.  Much of your university experience will be shaped by what you and those around you make of it anyway.  I hope we've managed to give you a feeling of what Bristol life could be like and, of course, I hope you liked what you found.  If your instincts bring you here, we look forward to welcoming you.

Friday, 18 January 2013



A slightly late "happy new year" to all our applicants.  Today's snow disruption has given me some time for a blog update and an excuse to post a photo.  I snapped the above on my walk home from the University earlier today.

Our Wednesday taster sessions for offer holders are filling up. We don't run these for most of January to avoid clashes with exams and weather disruption - see above.  Our first three of 2013 are January 30th and February 6th and 13th, which are all full.  Please check your VIP page if you were on the "reserve list" for 30 Jan or 6 Feb, as we have made some extra places available.  February 27th is nearly full and March 6th and 20th still had space when I checked earlier in the week.  Book now to avoid disappointment!

The passage of the UCAS deadline last week gives us a moment to reflect on the state of play in terms of statistics.  As of 15th January we had received 525 applications, compared to 527 on the same date last year.  I'd say that's consistent enough.  With the deadline passed, we will be making some more offers.  Late applications can be accepted but we don't have to treat them the same as all others, so we no longer have to hold back some offers in case of a later surge.

The statistics surrounding offers and places are misleading: between changes in fees, exam marking, prediction patterns and variations in other courses within the Faculty of Engineering, it's been a long time since we had two years the same.  Beware trying to draw conclusions from one year for the next.  We are looking for roughly 120 students and we will make roughly twice that many offers, but there are variations of about +/- 20% on those numbers depending on the factors mentioned.  This means I am frustratingly unable to give a simple answer to the question "What do I need to get into Bristol?"  There is no strategy - just work hard and show your interests.

Good luck in your exams if you have them.