Top tips on applying for a scholarship

Scholarships can be a very important part of applying to university; for many students, winning a scholarship is a huge factor in where to study. This is especially true for international students, as studying overseas can be expensive.

At the University of Bristol, we understand that scholarships are invaluable and are proud to offer Think Big, our flagship scholarship scheme for talented, ambitious international students.

Scholarships are often very competitive, with many students applying for a limited number of places. This is true of the Think Big scheme, which attracts thousands of applications every year. This list of Dos and Don’ts will give you the best chance of success in your scholarship applications.

Student writing

Tip 1: DO make sure you’re answering the question

It sounds obvious, but try not to drift off-topic when you’re writing – it‘s easy to do, especially when you have lots of achievements and activities you want to talk about. For example, if a question asks specifically about recent achievements, avoid talking about your swimming certificates from a young age. Most scholarship applications have a word limit, so don’t lose valuable words talking about things that aren’t relevant.

Tip 2: DON’T focus too much on grades

The University of Bristol is a prestigious institution, and students must achieve very good grades to study here. If you have an offer to study at Bristol, we already know you have an excellent academic record. Focus on your other achievements. Have you done any volunteering or an internship that sparked your interest in your course? Tell us about it!

Tip 3: DO give yourself plenty of time to apply

While you don’t need to submit your application weeks before the deadline, starting early will give you more time to consider your answers and revisit them a few times to make them as strong as possible. You can also ask a friend or family member to proofread your answers for typographical errors or spelling mistakes. You also may write better when you’re not stressed about the deadline!

Tip 4: DON’T forget to read the website carefully

There is lots of information about University of Bristol scholarships online, just as there is for many other institutions. You don’t want to waste your time applying for a scholarship that won’t be enough to fund your studies, or that doesn’t apply to your course. Before applying, make sure you’ve read all the information.

Here is some advice from current University of Bristol scholarship winners:

‘Planning for your scholarship application in advance is very important. One must ensure that they are well versed with the university, the course they will be pursuing and how their interests fit well into this. Your answers must be unique and your lived experiences and personal development must also be portrayed.’

Photo of Zoe
Zoe, MSc International Development

‘Firstly, don’t be scared of applying. The scholarships are competitive, but you never know, you can be one of the recipients. Secondly, instead of using unnecessary words, write what describes you best. Be precise and to the point. And lastly, know that only what you write in these short essays is what you will be judged on, so give it your best shot.’

Phot of Zubair
Zubair, BSc Accounting and Finance

If you are an international applicant and you have any questions about applying for scholarships at the University of Bristol, you can contact the International Scholarships and Sponsors team at international-partnerships@bristol.ac.uk. We also recommend that you visit our international scholarship web pages to see what funding opportunities may be available to you.

My COVID-19 university experience outside of student life

I’m George and I’m studying BSc Politics and International Relations.

What volunteering I’m doing whilst studying

Whilst at university I’m volunteering as a Special Constable with our local police force, Avon and Somerset Police. In this role, I hold the same powers as a regular police officer and patrol alongside them by preventing and detecting crime to help keep the community safe. Engaging with the community through my volunteering has allowed me to engage with the wider community, which is great because I learn something new or exciting about Bristol every day. I volunteer at least 16 hours a month, however I recognise the importance of breaking the study cycle at university so often commit to more hours.

Police officers from behind
My colleague and I in Cabot Circus

How I balanced this with university life under blended learning

Under the blended learning approach, I used the best of a challenging situation to use the recorded lectures and reading requirements of my course to commit to more volunteering hours. Further, at times in the working week where I may not have been available in the past, I was able to help my local policing team, using weekends to study. My volunteering has helped me become more independent and develop my people skills. It can be hard to balance at times, but I have been learning to manage studying, social activities and volunteering under what is sometimes a stressful time.

Photo of Brandon Hill
Brandon Hill is a great place to go for a daily walk whilst in Bristol

Following the rules

While our university experience is different to what we’re all used to in the previous years, it’s for a reason. We’ve all seen the amazing work our NHS have done during the pandemic and would not want to put extra strain on our hospitals or emergency services who are having to deal with coronavirus cases. We all definitely would not want to put vulnerable members of our community at risk. So please stick to the rules and remember to social distance from course mates and other households when the lockdown period ends.

PROJECT:TALK Bristol – connecting our community in the COVID-19 pandemic

PROJECT:TALK Bristol have a mission to change the way Bristol views mental health by pioneering mental fitness. Below, members of the team tell their story of setting up PROJECT:TALK and their work to support students at Bristol during the pandemic.

PROJECT:TALK logo and committee members

George, PROJECT:TALK CIC’s co-founder and Bristol Society’s current co-president, explains how it all started

We established PROJECT:TALK as a Community Interest Company in March 2020. We set out to make it something everyone could connect with, beyond those in need of support.

Typically, mental health is only looked at in the context of mental illness. Only when things have begun to get on top of us do we start to navigate the challenges we face. At this point of need, things often seem overwhelming and a lack of resources only adds to the challenge. This shouldn’t be the case. We all experience mental health and we should all be empowered, inspired, equipped, and supported to own it.

Our work is organised into three main projects:

  • TOOLS TO:TALK takes charge of our training and peer support scheme.
  • WALK TO:TALK pioneers mental fitness through events and fundraising.
  • TIME TO:TALK takes care of our online presence and blog, which serves as a space for communities to share their experiences and ideas.
College green event
Our WALK TO:TALK event on College Green in May 2019

The very first PROJECT:TALK Society was formed in Bristol in September 2020!

Wiktoria, PROJECT:TALK Bristol Society’s newest committee member as Social Secretary explains the importance of our work in Bristol

The University of Bristol forms a crucial support network for over 27,000 students. Whilst in a key transition period in their lives, the pandemic has put all students’ mental fitness to the test. An uncertain and isolated world where lectures are online, bars are shut, and parties are forbidden has forced many to navigate mental fitness challenges like never before.

Sam, developer of our Peer Support Scheme, speaks of support during the pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we created the PROJECT:TALK Peer Support Scheme, a 1:1 supportive calling service, run by students for students. We have a team of 15 trained student volunteers, who have been providing free and confidential support for fellow peers since November.

“Volunteering with PROJECT:TALK has provided me with an outlet to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of my fellow students, at a time when it has been so easy to feel helpless.” – Peer Support Scheme volunteer.

We are now working in partnership with Queen Mary University London to set up a Peer Support Scheme for their students.

How can I access support?

If you’d like to access our range of mental fitness support in Bristol, visit our website. Our amazing volunteers are here to support you – the training they receive, their experience and similar position in life allows them to connect with our callers. We recognise that sometimes it’s hard to ask for help but students find great value in our support service.

“The scheme provided me with someone who understood my problems, in a relaxed, conversational environment” – Rob, a student who’s used our Peer Support Scheme

We’ve partnered with multiple peer support groups to form a central hub for peer led support. Every Saturday, we hold a mental fitness workout in collaboration with Talk Club Bristol Uni. We’ve also welcomed the UoB Grief, Terminal and Life Threatening Illness support group and male-identifying Talk Club group on board.

Now, more than ever, we really encourage you to reach out to those around you. Even just a simple ‘Hello, how’s your day been?” will make a huge difference!

Dog in photo frame
Our biggest fan

What else is PROJECT:TALK Bristol doing to support mental fitness at Uni?

We’ve got some really exciting stuff coming up:

  • As it’s currently difficult to travel, we’d like to take you on a cultural journey with food and drink. Our committee are working hard to organise online events with chefs from some our favorite Bristol bars and restaurants (let us know your favorites!).
  • Mental Fitness Yoga – keeping our minds and bodies active when it’s hard to get out.
  • We’re working with the Grief, life threatening and terminal illness support group to deliver therapeutic art sessions to students experiencing grief.

How can I get involved?

Join our society – you’ll get an array of perks, our monthly newsletter and even the opportunity to pioneer your own initiative! With both free and premium membership options, we want to welcome everyone into our supportive community.

Sophie, PROJECT:TALK Bristol’s marketing lead, tells us what it’s like to be part of the team

Even though I have not been a part of the community very long, I can already tell it’s the most supportive group I have seen. Not only do we want to raise awareness about mental fitness, but we also want to provide our members with activities during this hard time. We are trying to reach out and contact as many students as possible.

Where can I find out more?

Visit our website and join the University of Bristol Society. Find us on Facebook and Instagram, @projecttalkbristol.

Search the internet and plant a tree

This blog was written by veterinary students Hannah and Elspeth. They have successfully campaigned for the University to adopt Ecosia as our default search engine on all open access computers across campus.

During a time when it is essential to make changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle, we knew the University of Bristol needed to switch to Ecosia, so our campaign started. With the University declaring a climate emergency in 2019, and committing to carbon neutrality, the move to Ecosia fits with becoming a more sustainable campus.

Ecosia is a search engine, which uses its revenue to fund tree planting in twenty different projects across the world, where trees are needed most. This not only has huge environmental benefits but also social impact for the surrounding communities. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, preventing excess greenhouse gases building up in our atmosphere, they also…

  • Improve soil health helping farmers produce food.
  • Provide an income for communities improving access to education and healthcare.
  • Maintain habitats for endangered species, especially when planted in biodiversity hotspots.

Ecosia logo

We have been using Ecosia on our own devices and feel it is an effortless way for the student body and staff members at the University of to make a worldwide contribution to improving the environment. Having gained support from students and passing our motion at the SU annual members meeting, we felt motivated to make our idea a reality. We are both incredibly excited for this change, especially for it to be launched alongside Sustainability Month at the University.

If you want to learn more about Ecosia please come along to our launch event on Tuesday 16 February at 6 pm via Zoom – check out our Facebook for more details.

To download Ecosia on your personal device and contribute to the University of Bristol tree count use this link.

Let’s see how many trees the University of Bristol can plant!

Image of Ecosia student campaign team
Hannah Rose (Campaign leader and fifth year veterinary medicine student), Fred Henderson (Ecosia Project Coordinator), Elspeth Taylor (Campaign leader and fifth year veterinary medicine student)

The path to self-acceptance, resilience and happiness

This blog was written by University of Bristol Student Counsellor, Natalie Read. Natalie has been a counsellor for 14 years, working both at the University and in private practice. She’s worked with students and non-students of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, all with different reasons for seeking support.

The importance of self-acceptance, resilience and happiness

We all strive for happiness but aren’t always successful in achieving this. If we’ve experienced hurt, rejection, failure and other similarly painful situations, we may naturally try to avoid these in future. This can lead to strategies such as overworking, pleasing others, perfectionism and other unhelpful coping strategies. Whilst well intended, these strategies are ineffective in the long-run and come with unhelpful side effects. Trying to be somebody we’re not or trying to control life is like trying to be superhuman.

Instead, working towards self-acceptance and acknowledging your humanness offers a happier and healthier path with greater odds of success. Self-acceptance is learning to understand yourself, your feelings and accepting that every human being has strengths and areas of development. You’re more likely to practice self-care, have self-compassion, give yourself opportunities for success and radiate a confidence which is magnetic to others. This helps you feel more optimistic about the future, improve relationships and, build resilience to overcome difficulties.

Student walking and smiling

My top five tips for achieving self-acceptance, resilience and happiness:

  • Go with the flow of life – like the weather, life naturally has ups and downs. Judging yourself or avoiding what you’re facing adds layers of difficulty on top. By acknowledging challenges are part of life and happen to everyone, you give yourself less of a hard time and navigate them more easily.
  • Build self-reflection – noticing your levels of energy, stress, productivity and happiness can help you respond rather than react to situations and make happier choices.
  • Understand feelings come and go – we interrupt this process with good intentions i.e. trying not to feel them or by judging them – what’s wrong with me, how long will this last? Acknowledging that feelings are a natural part of being human and finding an outlet for them can help.
  • Develop self-compassion – work on self-acceptance, a kinder inner voice and measure yourself by your effort and intention rather than the outcome.
  • Build resilience – identify any hidden blessings behind challenges- how you developed or strengthened something in yourself, moved onto a new path or attracted new people into your life. This helps you realise you are stronger than you think and prepare for what could help next time.

Student talking at the Harbourside

My advice for students who may be struggling during these uncertain times

Know that you are not alone at finding things difficult – this is a common misconception that comes up in counselling. Despite appearances, no human being is immune to facing struggles or difficult emotions. Opening up to someone you trust can help you to feel not alone and also helps them by giving them permission to do the same. Alternatively seek support from Wellbeing Access who will direct you to the most appropriate person who can help.

Being Human – the path to self-acceptance, resilience and happiness by Natalie Read is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and all major retailer websites.

The weekend is here!

Wow, what a week! We hope that you’re all coping well during the current national lockdown – remember to look after yourselves and each other, and check in on your friends, family and loved ones.  

Just because we’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!  

Here are some ideas for this weekend: 

Bristol Harbourside in autumn

Go for an autumnal walk with your housemates, Living Circle or one person from another household

There are so many great spots around Bristol for a (chilly) walk; Harbourside, The Downs, Ashton Court Estate…we could go on forever. Please remember to social distance if you are meeting with one person from another household.

Man on phone

Video call someone who you know needs a friend right now

Do you have any mates who live alone or know are not looking forward to the lockdown? Why not give them a call this weekend to check in? 

Set up a shared Spotify playlist and sync with your friends

Who doesn’t love dancing in their kitchen? Exactly! Get a great playlist sorted, share with your friends and hit play at the same time. You could give them a video call too and pretend you’re in your favourite club in Bristol. Motion not open? No problem! 

Have a sort-out

OK, this may sound boring but it’s good to do from time to time. There has got to be some old clothes you never wear or a drawer full of old stuff you don’t need. If you’re feeling super productive this weekend, have a sort through and get a bag of donations ready for when charity shops open up again. 

Sleeping cat

And most importantly…chill out!

If some or none of the above are your thing, just take some time to rest and chill this weekend. Whatever works for you. If that’s playing video games (we have some gamers in the Student Comms team too), binge-watching your favourite series, baking, reading or anything else, just do it! 

Weekend and future events

University and Bristol SU virtual events for the weekend, next week and beyond are listed on our website. Our Resilife Team also have lots of events listed on their Facebook page.

Here are a few of our upcoming event highlights: 

  • On Wednesday, you can Celebrate Diwali with the Bristol Hindu Society.  
  • Next week, Bristol COVID-19 experts will be answering questions on the virus. The event will be chaired by Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire and everyone is welcome to attend virtually and submit a question beforehand. Learn more about it here.
  • Join the Multifaith Chaplaincy for their annual Faith Crawl on Wednesday.
  • We’ve teamed up with Mind, the leading mental health charity, to pilot their new Mentally Healthy Universities programme. View the events here.

We hope you all have great weekends 😊 

Your Student Comms team x  

Find your Community

You will have so many opportunities to immerse yourself in different cultures and groups whilst at Bristol. After all, you’re joining a community of nearly 25,000 students, so do give yourself time to explore what makes you feel happy and settled and give things a go!

Student experience

Andre joined us from Indonesia in 2018 to study a MSc in Education (Learning, Technology & Society). Here he shares his experience as an international student and his thoughts about building your community:

Photo of Andre

“Many international students from different parts of the world come and study in Bristol, so we can share our knowledge and experiences as well as learning new cultures from one another. The University has a network of services to ensure every student has access to both academic and personal support throughout the course. There are also hundreds of student clubs and societies which you can join based on your talent and interests.”

Things to do

You should have received a welcome email by now from the International Office. This contained lots of useful information about what to do before you arrive, and then everything from travelling to quarantine to welcome events.

Here are a few actions for you to take now if you haven’t already:

Download The University of Bristol Welcome app in the Google Play Store or the App Store – there are lots of useful resources and information on here.

Check out the new international students’ webpages to learn more about what you’ll need to do before and after arriving at Bristol.

International sponsored students, remember that you need to provide the university with a sponsorship letter by 6 September.

Save the date: 7 October – it’s the SU’s virtual Official Welcome Fair 2020. This is your opportunity to sign up to different clubs, societies and volunteering projects. You’ll be able to chat to stall holders live online using the interactive chat, with video, audio and text options

Take a look at the Global Lounge’s Language Café video. The Global Lounge is a place where both UK and international students can connect and socialise. They will be running regular virtual events throughout the academic year.

Join the Official Bristol Welcome 2020 Facebook group and start to meet fellow new students!

Safe travels

We wish you a safe journey to the UK and Bristol. We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to our city and community and hope you’re just as excited as we are!

Find your Home

Congratulations on securing your place at the University of Bristol! This is such an exciting time – many of you will be moving to a new city, making new connections and experiencing a new way of life.

Colourful houses
Clifton Wood houses

Moving into university accommodation for the first time can be daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve got lots of tips and resources to help you. Just remember, everyone is in the same situation as you! Watch SU Student Living Officer, Ruth share their experience of living in Goldney Hall and the benefits of living in university accommodation:

Living Circles

Whether you are in university owned or private rented accommodation, our Living Circles will help you to make connections with other students. For those in university residences, don’t forget you can meet with those living in your Circle online before arriving at Bristol. If you’re in private rented accommodation, you’ll be placed into virtual living circles who you can meet with online.

Events

There are also plenty of opportunities to make friends outside your circle! Bristol SU are hosting a range of virtual events, including Netflix watch parties, quizzes and Zoom chats. Check out their packed calendar here.

Make sure you also check out our new Welcome app and the myopportunites hub for more events and opportunities. Myopportunities will be available once you’re registered and have a university log in. Bookmark it now, ready for when registration opens on 7 September.

Advice

If you’re living in private rented accommodation, there’s lots of advice available on our website. Learn more about council tax, deposits and bills with the ‘Moving in’ module – it’ll only take a few minutes to read but could save you time and money later.

Not sure what to pack before the big move? Check out what Senior Resident, Salha has to say. She also gives you some tips on managing home sickness and making friends:

This video was recorded pre-COVID-19 so although some of the events she mentions may not be taking place physically this term, you’ll be able to meet new people through our Welcome events.

Your safety

We have put measures in place to ensure your safety in university accommodation. This means hand sanitisers at entrances and exits, one-way systems, maximum capacity for social areas and much more. Watch this short animation to learn more about our plans for you:

Although these measures are in place, it is important that you take responsibility and maintain social distancing with those outside your Living Circle. We understand that this is difficult, and you may want to visit others’ in their residences but unfortunately this isn’t possible right now. Remember, there are lots of green spaces around Bristol for you to meet friends outside at a distance.

Queen Square in Bristol
Queen Square

See you soon!

Many of you will have already received your offer for accommodation from our Accommodation Office (exciting!!) but don’t worry if you haven’t – there are a couple of stages of offers so yours should be coming via email soon.

We hope that you’re all excited to make the move to Bristol for your next adventure! Remember to download our app for the latest information and to find out more about the University and our support services.

My Bristol memories as a final-year student

Hi everyone, my name is Kiki and I have just finished my final year of BA French and Spanish. In February, I featured in the University’s undergraduate film Find Your Focus, which lead me to reflect on my time at Bristol and the different memories from over the years.

Bristol, my university city.  As a finalyear student in my final term, I find myself looking back at my experiences over the years at Bristol – it’s a strange feeling. It has, however, made me really appreciate all the opportunities that I’ve had within and outside the University and the amazing city.  

Bristol skyline

My Bristol experience has been majorly enhanced by my involvement in societies. They are access points to meet likeminded people and make friends for life. There are endless societies here, including some very niche ones, like MagicSoc, to the classic sport societies. There are even societies for different regions in the UK (unfortunately there isn’t a Midlands soc 🙁). I joined the football society in my first year and it was one of the best things I ever did at uni.  

Being interested in sports since a young age, the football society became an integral part of my first year, not only keeping up my competitive sports but also being involved in the socials that take place every Wednesday and getting to know members from across all years. Having support from older peers who have similar interests really allows you to feel comfortable and accepted.  

Group of students in Budapest
Football tour to Budapest 2017

The many trips offered through the University have been some of the highlights of my entire experience. From football tour to the famous university ski tripwhich sells out in minutes to over 1,000 students every yearthere have been many opportunities to explore other countries. No sleep combined with nights of partying – it’s no wonder that these trips are so popular!  

Students skiing
Ski trip 2018

Bristol is so unique and diverse. From the edgy nightlife in Stokes Croft to the bustling student atmosphere on the Triangle, to the peaceful seaside vibe down at the Harbourside. Being part of the undergraduate promotional video Find Your Focus and filming down at Harbourside brought back so many memories as it’s my old home and one of my favourite areas. I love the bustling atmosphere that you find there day and night.  

Closeup of Kiki
Kiki in the University’s 2020 film Find your Focus

I really haven’t had the chance to explore half of what I wanted to in Bristol, and that’s after three years! There really is something in this city that appeals to everyone.

Banksy artwork

Looking back on my experience at Bristol, it has offered me much more than I could have ever expected walking into the uni four years ago. Despite not being able to round off my experience the way most students have, I am forever grateful to have picked Bristol as my university.  

Banksy mural
Banksy’s mural making a statement