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Leaving home to study at University is a significant step in a persons’ life, and for many parents and guardians, this might be the first time you have gone through this process.  

Starting university can be daunting, for both new students and their supporters, but we hope the information provided here will help guide you through the application process, up to becoming a matriculated ECA student.  

The UCAS application 

You will likely know that applications for our Undergraduate programmes go through UCAS. The UCAS application will include a personal statement, qualification information and references.

If you are unsure about our qualification requirements for each programme, you can find these on the programme pages of the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder.

The portfolio

For our art and design programmes, applicants will be required to submit a portfolio of their work. Although the portfolio isn’t required as part of the UCAS application, we strongly advise preparing a portfolio as soon as the decision to apply is made. 

In our experience, the portfolio often takes longer than you’d expect to put together, and needs plenty of time for editing and uploading, so please ensure this process is started as soon as possible to give the applicant the best opportunity to provide work that best represents them, their interests and their own processes.  

The contents of the portfolio will need to represent the programme that is being applied for. If you check on our programme pages, you will be able to find more detailed information on what is expected of a portfolio for each programme, and what is being assessed.

Once the UCAS application has been submitted, the applicant will automatically be provided with a MyEd account (our Student Portal), and through this they will receive instructions for uploading their portfolio for assessment. Please be aware, all applicants will need to meet the academic criteria first; if the qualifications aren’t met, they won’t be asked to provide a portfolio and will be notified of this.

Visiting us 

When applying to University, an important part of the decision-making process is coming to see us! We will offer a variety of visiting options through the year both in-person and virtually, so our advice is to look through all the options to find out what suits you best.  

University of Edinburgh open days


The University has a variety of options when it comes to living with us as a student. We have accommodation throughout the city, and offer both catered and self-catered accommodation.  

As is the case with all our accommodation, all bills are included, there is access to laundry facilities, as well as 24/7 access to support staff, should a resident need anything at any point in their time in our accommodation.  

Our advice is to explore these sites online first, so you can get an idea of which type of accommodation suits the needs of the applicant best. Then, it may be possible to visit the sites in person when you visit, so you can get a feel for what the accommodation is like*. 

*The visiting option for accommodation is only available at the University-wide open days. 

Fees and funding 

To find out what the academic fees are for each programme this year, please visit: 

In addition, you can also find out more about the cost of living in Edinburgh, and what support is available to our students, financially, academically and in terms of wellbeing. 

Receiving an offer 

This is an exciting time for us and our applicants, as our Admissions team start to give our applicants an offer of study. If an applicant receives this, regardless of it being conditional or unconditional, they will be invited to an Offer Holder Day, where they will be able to come and see us again, meet the academics and learn more in-depth information about the degree. We want to ensure that our potential new students leave with all the information they need to decide if the ECA community and the degree content is the right fit for them and their future ambitions.

Student support

Once an applicant has decided to become an ECA student, they will go through the matriculation process, which means that they will be officially enrolled as a University of Edinburgh student. Once this happens, the student is now working directly with us; our admin teams, our academic staff and our returning students. They will be expected to ensure they read any emails from us so they know where to be and what to do in their first few weeks of being a student. 

As a parent or guardian, this can be a difficult time as we often see that students are very busy getting to know their new surroundings, meeting new people and generally settling in to a new place and in to a new role as a University student. We want you to be assured that they will have people to contact if they need anything, regardless of what it is, and we will always ask that the student is the one to inform us of any issues or assistance required during their time with us, unless alternative arrangements are made.  

This is an integral part of the University experience, and as this is usually a student’s first time away from home, we’re always here to support our students in figuring it all out and to get in to a good rhythm of when and how to reach out to us when they need it.

We hope that you find this information useful and a good introduction to the student application process and offer-making. We encourage the applicants to contact us directly if there are any questions about any of the application process, as this will likely be their first point of contact with us. Feel free to direct them to contact our admissions team on for any admissions-related enquiries, including qualifications, offer-making or portfolio queries.