New applicant FAQs
Here you can find answers to our most frequently asked questions, as well as links to information and advice across our new undergraduate webpages that you may find helpful.
When can I apply for accommodation?
If Bristol is your first-choice university, and you have firmly accepted your offer of study, applications for undergraduate accommodation are now open and will close on 30 June 2021. Please check the new undergraduates section of our website for full details where you can also watch our video explaining the application process.
If Bristol is not your firm choice of study, you will not be able to apply until after A Level results, and you will not be guaranteed an offer of accommodation. Please see our non-guaranteed applicant page for details.
What are my accommodation options?
At the University of Bristol, accommodation is assigned to students by the University. When you apply, we will ask you for a range on information on where you would like to live, and our system then allocates students to rooms at random using the information in the application to match as many students as possible to their preferences. However students cannot pick a specific room or residence to live in, and you may receive an offer for a room that was not one of your preferences.
In your application you will be able to select a number of preferences to help us allocate you the most suitable room. Across our undergraduate residences we have more than 80 combinations for you to choose between. Although we cannot guarantee you an offer for one of your nine preferences, we will use your preference to try and match you to your most suitable room.
Information on what preferences you can put in your application are available on our website and you should ensure you have read this information in full before making your application.
Can I visit residences to help me decide on my preferences?
Unfortunately, the number of rooms we have (8500) and the number of new tenants we accept each year means that viewings are not possible at our residences, as we do not have the capacity to offer these to all students who may want to come unless the viewing is necessary due to a health or disability need. We also need to keep visitors to our residences to a minimum for the current students living in residence. You can however find lots of information about our residences, including photos and videos by visiting the residences webpages.
What do the different tenancy lengths mean?
In our undergraduate residences we offer some residences at a 38 week tenancy length and some at 42 weeks. Both these tenancies will cover the duration of the academic year for all undergraduate courses.
Living in a 38 week residence mean your total rent for the year will be less but you will need to move out immediately after the exam period ends (extensions in alternative residences are available), however many students like the 42 week tenancies as they can then stay after the exams for socialising with friends and enjoying time in Bristol.
Whichever option you are allocated, the tenancies length is part of your fixed term tenancy agreement. You cannot move out earlier, rent will be payable until your tenancy end date.
How do I register on the application portal?
You will need to set up a username and password to access the portal and begin your application, and details of how to do this will be available from our How to Apply page from mid-April. We recommend you create your account before the applications open but please note you will not be able to set up your account until your are invited to do so.
How do you decide who gets which residence?
Residences are not allocated on a first come first served basis. Priority is given to students with specific requirements by reason of a health problem, disability or other significant factor. Thereafter allocations are randomised to meet as many preferences as possible. Please check the new undergraduates section of our website for full details where you can also watch our video explaining the application process.
Can I apply to live in the same flat/residence as a friend?
We are unable to meet sharing requests as our rooms are allocated via a computer algorithm and we are unable to match specific students together. The number of rooms we have (8500) and the number of new tenants we accept each year means that we are unable to tailor allocations to this level of detail.
I will be under 18 when I start at Bristol, will this affect my accommodation?
Students who will be under 18 when their studies start can apply for any of our undergraduate residences, apart from New Bridewell.
I have a disability, health need or other special requirement for my accommodation
There is a space provided on your online application form to add details of a disability, health need or other special requirements. We will contact you for further details. Our disability and health section provides examples of the information we may need.
Can I apply for accommodation if I am intercalating at Bristol?
Intercalating students are guaranteed an offer of accommodation subject to the normal conditions of our accommodation guarantee. You will be able to apply online, the form you will use will be separate from our main undergraduate application and can be found on our intercalating page.
What options do you have for mature students?
If you are 21-years-old or over and wish to share with other mature students, you should indicate this as your Room Profile preference on the application form.
It has been decided that residences with designated mature flats for 21/22 will be now determined by the demand of the preferences of mature students and will not be advertised in advance as previously stated. This should enable mature students to have more choice when applying.
Please note that while we will do our best to ensure that your flat is made up of mature students the students living around you will be 18 or 19 years old. We cannot guarantee a quiet environment. If this is the most important thing to you, you may prefer to consider what the private sector has to offer, as many commercial accommodation providers (PDF) in Bristol offer studios.
Please note that we cannot guarantee to offer you a mature student profiled flat.
What does 'alcohol-free flats' mean?
The University offers some alcohol-free flats to undergraduates in a small number of our residences. When living in an alcohol-free accommodation you, or your guests, are not permitted to drink alcohol within the flat. However, you can store alcohol in your room and drink alcohol outside the flat.
What does 'single-sex flats' mean?
The University offers single-sex accommodation in a number of its residences. Sometimes students in a residence will be housed in single-sex flats or in rooms on single-sex corridors.
Students living in single-sex accommodation can have visitors or guests of the opposite gender in their accommodation. University staff or contractors of either gender may enter the accommodation from time to time; you will be given notice of this in advance. Over 90 per cent of students who apply for single-sex accommodation are international, therefore most of our single-sex flats will consist entirely of international students.
Can half-board residences cater for specialist diets or food allergies?
Accommodation offer FAQs:
What if I'm not happy with the room/residence I have been offered?
It is important to note that we do not guarantee that your accommodation offer will be for any of the preferences you list in your application. This means some students will receive an offer for a room that was not one of their preferences. If this is the case for you we appreciate that you may feel disappointed but we ask that you understand that some residences/room types/locations are over subscribed and this means not everyone can get a place in them. Our system places students at random within the available residences.
If you are unhappy with your offer please be aware that all rooms are now booked. We have no available en suites remaining. We are unable to transfer your accommodation offer to another room or residence and we do not operate a waiting list. If you are unhappy with your room offer you can cancel it but you will need to look for accommodation in the private sector as we will not be able to make a second offer.
We ask you to please be open minded to your accommodation offer and understand that Accommodation Office staff cannot amend it for you.
What if I've found someone to swap accommodation offers with?
We know that when the accommodation offers are made there can be a lot of chat on social channels about swapping your accommodation offer with another student, but it's important to know that we cannot facilitate these swaps.
We understand that this can be frustrating as swapping offer may seem like a simple request - however at the time of making the offers, we are in the process of housing over 8500 students for the start of term. This is a huge task that involves a small team working long hours over several weeks, and we do not have the resource available to adminster requests to swap offers.
At this stage, the priority for any rooms that do become become available is given to students with health needs and/or disabilities.
I wanted an en suite but didn't get one, can I still get one?
Each year the number of applicants for en suite rooms is higher than the number of en suite rooms that are available. In 2018 we had around 2200 en suite rooms available, and received 3000 applications for them. This means that unfortunately, some people who have applied for an en suite will not be offered one. We are not able to move you to an en suite because at this stage they have all been allocated.
I've been offered a half-board room, but I wanted self-catered, can I change?
Each year the number of applicants for self-catered rooms is higher than the number of catered rooms that are available. This means that unfortunately, some people who have applied for self catered accommodation cannot be offered it. We are not able to move you to self catered accommodation at this stage because at this stage nearly all have been allocated.
The room you have given me isn't suitable due to my health needs
If you did not declare a health or disability need in your accommodation application and have been offered a room that you feel is not suitable, please contact us. At this stage we may not be able to find a suitable room and although we will try to accommodate late health declarations we cannot guarantee a suitable room will be available. You will be required to provide medical evidence in support of your health requirements.
If you did declare a health need but feel your allocation is not suitable, please contact us.
I've accepted my accommodation offer, what happens next?
Once you've accepted your offer, naturally you'll start to think about moving in to your new home! Your offer will contain a lot of information about your new residence, including the terms and conditions of living in University-allocated accommodation and the rules and regulations for your residence. You should take the time to read this information before you arrive so that you know what is expected of you as a tenant of the University. Visit the online guide page for your residence for all the information about living in your residence and moving in with us.
After you've accepted your offer see your online induction to living in University allocated accommodation in your portal. Visit our arrivals and moving in page for more information and the next steps for you to think about.
Your first payment of accommodation fees will be due in October. You will receive an invoice after you have fully registered at University and moved in and you willthen need to log into your Portal to set up your payment plan.
What will happen when I move in?
You will be advised in your online induction whether there is parking available at your residence or if you will need to stop and drop. If parking is available, you will be issued with a car parking permit which you will need to print and display clearly on your dashboard.
In our online induction you will be given a QR code which you will need to show to the welcoming team at your residence so that they can check you in and allocate you to your room.