Next Step Bristol

The University of Bristol's Next Step Bristol programme is a fantastic opportunity for year 13 students from Asian or Black backgrounds to experience the University through a series of virtual events.

The programme

This programme is a collaboration between current students, societies and the Widening Participation team. You will receive advice, information and support during your final year of school or college and we will support your transition to becoming a University of Bristol student via a series of virtual events.

Examples of events during year 13 may include a programme launch, with a student panel for your questions; transparent conversations about the lived experience of Asian and Black students at Bristol; academic taster sessions and student-led society events. You will also receive support with your UCAS and student finance applications and, where applicable, support with interviews (for Medicine and Dentistry applicants) as well as information about the support you can receive when you are a student at the University of Bristol.

There may also be the opportunity to attend a visit day on campus, with a travel bursary to suport your attendance.

All virtual events will run during after-school hours, and in less busy periods of your school year. Throughout the year there will be likely be 4 online sessions and the opportunity to attend one on campus event. Exact dates and times will be confirmed upon joining the programme.


Applications for the 2023-24 program are closed.  If you would like to express interest in the 2024-25 program and will be in Year 13 in September 2024 then you may fill in this expression of interest form; you will be contacted when applications open in Summer 2024.  We also encourage applications from mature students completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma.


Guaranteed contextual offer to the University of Bristol

We are committed to attracting the very best students. We hold Next Step Bristol participants in high regard.

Completing our Next Step Bristol programme guarantees you an offer from the University. You must meet the entry requirements for your degree course and apply via UCAS before the deadline. This includes meeting specified grades and subject requirements for your degree course. If you need to attend an interview or audition for your course, we offer a guaranteed interview or audition instead.

You will be eligible for a guaranteed contextual offer for the undergraduate course that you select on your application form. The contextual offer is usually two grades lower than the typical offer. 

Eligibility criteria

Next Step Bristol is open to all students who have not already taken part in a University of Bristol Widening Participation programme (Access to Bristol, Bristol Scholars, Pathways to Health Sciences, Insight into Bristol and the Sutton Trust summer school) and meet the following criteria:

  • Have applied or will apply for a course at the University of Bristol via UCAS. (You may get a place on the programme before you submit your UCAS application.)
  • Be in your final year of A-level study (or equivalent).
  • Attend a state school or college.
  • Identify as Asian or Black or of mixed background featuring one of these groups. We will also consider applications from students who identify as belonging to another Minority Ethnic group, where these students meet multiple priority criteria (listed below). 
  • Have the academic ability to study at the University of Bristol (including meeting any GCSE entry requirements for your chosen course). Have the potential to meet the contextual entry requirements where eligible.
  • Are resident in the UK and eligible for home fee status.

Find out more about our accepted qualifications.

If the programme is oversubscribed, the following priority criteria will be taken into account when allocating places:

  • Applicant is from an ethnic group that is underrepresented in the faculty where the applicant is applying (Asian Pakistani; Asian Bangladeshi; Black Caribbean; Black African; mixed backgrounds featuring one of these groups).
  • Applicant is part of the first generation in their family to go to university.
  • Applicant lives in an area of low participation in higher education as defined by POLAR4. This is a score of 1 or 2 for the category 'POLAR4 young participation quintile'.
  • Applicant is or has been eligible for free school meals.
  • Applicant attends an aspiring state school or college. (More information is available on our contextual offers page.)
  • Applicant has spent three or more months in Local Authority Care; or is an Estranged Student (considering university without the support of a family network).
  • Applicant is a Young Carer.

We are dedicated to ensuring our programmes are inclusive and welcoming to all. We welcome applications from students living with disabilities, learning difficulties and other physical and mental health conditions.

Contact us

If you have any further questions about this programme, contact

“I definitely would recommend the programme as it helped me through my application immensely, providing emotional support as well as materials that I would not usually be able to access. This programme gave me an opportunity to apply to Bristol and increased my chance of getting an offer.”

“I have learnt a lot about how the University is creating an inclusive place, especially for BAME students which feels really welcoming.”

Next Step Bristol participants 2020-21

Read a blog by one of our student advisers

Arjun was a Student Adviser on the Next Step Bristol programme in 2020-21.

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