What is a contextual offer?
At Bristol we want to attract students from all backgrounds because we believe a student community that reflects our society will benefit everyone.
Our contextual offer is a grade reduction of up to two grades below the standard entry requirements and is made to those from backgrounds historically less likely to come here. Once here, data shows that our contextual offer student achieve above average academically. Details of our standard and contextual offer entry requirements can be found our course pages. You can find out which courses we offer using our course search tool.
Could I get a contextual offer?
You may be eligible for a contextual offer if:
You have attended an aspiring state 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
based on the latest school performance and destination data available from the Department for Education.
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
based on the latest school performance data available from the Welsh government and UCAS application data.
If you are currently attending school and applying between September 2018- June 2019 you must apply through a school or college in one of the below lists to be eligible:
Please note: If you are not currently attending school, you must have been in full-time education in the 2017/18 academic year at a school or college in this list and applying between September 2018- June 2019 to be eligible:
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. 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. If your address is in a low progression area, you may also qualify for the University of Bristol Accommodation Bursary which is a discount of up to £1,040 on rent at University-allocated accommodation.
More information on POLAR classifications can be found on the HEFCE website.
Please note that the University of Bristol had planned to use POLAR4 data for the 2018-19 application cycle. However, due to technical issues we are unable to use POLAR4 data, and will use POLAR3 data as in previous years. It is important to note that some postcodes which would be classified as low participation in POLAR4 are not classified as such in POLAR3.
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.
Care leavers and estranged students may be eligible for our Standalone Bursary of £1,500 each year in addition to the University of Bristol Bursary of up to £2,060 a year and our Accommodation Bursary which is a discount of up to £1,040 on rent of university accommodation. These students are also encouraged to apply for the Unite Foundation Scholarship which provides free accommodation for three years.
Please note: The above figures are for 2019 entry and may change in subsequent years.
Find out more about the support the University of Bristol provides to care leavers.
Life at Bristol
Bristol is one of the best student cities in the UK. Find out more about the people you'll meet and the clubs and societies you can join while you're here.
Get a feel for life at Bristol at an undergraduate open day, an open afternoon or a campus tour. If you receive an offer, you’ll also be invited to join other offer holders on your programme for a post offer visit day to find out more about your course.
How do I apply?
Apply to us through UCAS and if you meet any of the criteria you’ll be automatically considered.
Check what other kinds of support you might be eligible for. We offer a wide range of bursaries and scholarships, accommodation and student support to ensure you get the most out of your time with us.
If we make you an offer, we’ll invite you to a visit day with all other offer holders. Here you’ll meet academics, current students and future potential course mates to find out more about your course and life at Bristol. Contact us for more information about the visit day travel bursary.
If you accept your offer at Bristol as your firm choice you can benefit from the accommodation guarantee.
If you have any queries relating to contextual offers, please contact Doug Jennings on +44 (0)117 394 1523.