Understanding our admissions process

On Tuesday, 10 August, thousands of offer holders will find out whether they have secured a place to join our University this autumn, joining those from the UK and around the world who received results earlier in the summer, or will receive them over the next few weeks.

Rebecca Gaukroger
Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, Rebecca Gaukroger

Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, Rebecca Gaukroger, explains our admissions process and why some decisions have been made differently than in other years.

“For most, Tuesday will be a day of celebration. We expect to admit more new students from Scotland than ever before, a record number of students with care experience, and thousands of students from across the rest of the UK and around the world.

This has been a rollercoaster year for admissions across the sector, with many changes and uncertainties. At this point in the recruitment cycle, we find ourselves in an unusual position.

Applications up

Following several years of relatively stable UK application figures, applications to Edinburgh increased significantly this year, including a 23% increase in applications from across the UK. We’re honoured that so many students chose to apply to Edinburgh, amongst so many other fantastic choices available within the UK and beyond.

The number of applications to some programmes this year meant competition for places was fierce, and the bar for selection was very high indeed. Unfortunately, many very well-qualified applicants with great potential were unsuccessful. Those who received offers are outstanding.

Firm acceptances up

Just as the volume of applications bucked the trend this year, so too did firm acceptances of our offers. A greater proportion of applicants made Edinburgh their first choice this year than in recent years – up by nearly 10% compared to 2020.

Managing the intake

The University is allocated a fixed number of places for students from Scotland, and this year we received additional Government-funded places to admit more school leavers from Scotland. It’s important all of our students have a great experience, and the space, access to facilities, and support they need. That means we have to manage our intake carefully and responsibly.

In the context of increases in accepted offers, we know we can’t be as flexible as we would wish this summer. Everyone whose results meet their offer conditions will have their place confirmed, but we are unlikely to be able to admit applicants who have narrowly missed their offer conditions. We know this will be very disappointing for those who worked so hard but didn’t quite meet the conditions of their offers. We sincerely hope the initial disappointment felt by these applicants is soon forgotten, as they take up places at alternative universities and colleges.

The University won’t have places available in UCAS Clearing this year.

Where we can, we will hold places for those who successfully appeal their grades later in the summer. If we don’t have space to do this, we will offer deferred entry to September 2022.

Looking forward

It would be hard to overestimate the challenges faced – and overcome – by students receiving their grades this summer. We celebrate their achievements, their resilience and adaptability, and the hard work their grades represent. As we approach results day, we’re looking forward to supporting new students on the next stage of their journey to join the University in September.

We know that along with the excitement many will be feeling, there will be some nervousness, too, amplified by the struggles that many students have been through over the past year and a half. At Edinburgh, we have created a raft of resources, events and activities to help new students find their feet on campus and in the city, develop their academic confidence, and make friends.” 

But for now, we wish applicants and their supporters good luck for Tuesday.

Related links

Getting your results: what you need to know

New students: get started and stay connected

Undergraduate admissions statistics