As part of our commitment to the UK national agenda on widening participation, we consider the educational context in which grades have been achieved and may make you a contextual offer.
Contextual offers are usually two grades lower than the typical offer.
We will determine whether you are eligible for a contextual offer when we receive your application, so you do not need to do anything differently.
You may receive a contextual offer for one of the following reasons:
You have attended an aspiring school or college
You will be eligible for a contextual offer if you are applying from an aspiring state school or college.
In England, we define aspiring state schools and colleges as those which fall in the bottom 40 per cent for either:
- progression to higher education, or
- average attainment in A-levels, International Baccalaureate, Pre-U and Extended Projects qualifications.
In Wales, we define aspiring state schools and colleges as those which fall in the bottom 40 per cent for either:
- application to higher education, or
- average attainment in A-levels or any equivalent qualifications.
If you are currently attending school, you must apply through a school or college in one of the below lists to be eligible:
If you are not currently attending school, you must have been in full-time education in the 2016/17 academic year at a school or college in this list:
(Lists of eligible schools for students applying during 2018/19 will be available later this year.)
We use the 'applying from' school code or the education history on your UCAS form to determine the school or college you have attended, so you must ensure these are correct when you apply.
Inclusion on the contextual offer list is not a judgement of the quality of the institution. We recognise that many of the schools and colleges on the list have been deemed outstanding in many respects.
You live in an area with low progression to higher education
You will be eligible for a contextual offer if you currently live in an area that has a low rate of progression to higher education according to POLAR3 data (or POLAR4 data for 2019 entry). To determine this, we use the home address on your UCAS application form.
You can check whether your address qualifies by entering your postcode into the POLAR checking tool. The number in the POLAR3 young participation quintile column must be 1 or 2 for your address to qualify.
Please note that we will only use your POLAR3 classification if you are applying for entry in 2018 (or deferring to 2019). We will be using POLAR4 data for the 2019 cycle. More information on POLAR classifications can be found on the HEFCE website.
You have completed a University of Bristol outreach programme
If you complete an academically focused outreach programme at the University, you will be eligible for a contextual offer. These include:
You have spent time in care
If you have spent three months or more in local authority care, you will be eligible for a contextual offer.
Please tick the box in the care questions on your UCAS application. If your reference confirms that you’ve spent three months or more in local authority care, our admissions team will process your application. If not, we’ll ask you to send us some more information, such as an email or letter from your local authority, school/college or other organisation.
Find out more about the support the University of Bristol provides to care leavers.
If you have any queries relating to contextual offers, please contact Doug Jennings on +44 (0)117 394 1523.