Cambridge Contextual Flags

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Fredericks1
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#1
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#1
Hi all,

How many contextual flags are there in total that Cambridge use? and could I get a list of them all?

I think free school meals is one but have been told that it is not one of the contextual flags so I am not too sure.

Thank you
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Paralove
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Have you looked at https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....ontextual-data ?
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Fredericks1
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Hi Paralove, I have looked at that page but it is quite vague, eg. they dont say how many flags are there in total

I am ideally looking for a numbered list
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Paralove
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Well looking at that you've got:
FSM
ECF
in care
POLAR4
IMD
GCSE school performance
School Oxbridge progression (low being a flag)

So, about 7, or at least 7. As you'll note on the page typical A-Level performance of the school isn't used as a flag but GCSE is. POLAR4 and IMD are in their access and participation plan (ie agreement with government about future targets) and are both postcode related flags.
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Theloniouss
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Why are you looking for them?
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Fredericks1
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#6
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(Original post by Paralove)
Well looking at that you've got:
FSM
ECF
in care
POLAR4
IMD
GCSE school performance
School Oxbridge progression (low being a flag)

So, about 7, or at least 7. As you'll note on the page typical A-Level performance of the school isn't used as a flag but GCSE is. POLAR4 and IMD are in their access and participation plan (ie agreement with government about future targets) and are both postcode related flags.
By your reply I am guessing that OAC is not a flag?
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Fredericks1
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
Why are you looking for them?
The cambridge website is confusing and I am just seeking further understanding
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Paralove
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#8
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(Original post by Fredericks1)
By your reply I am guessing that OAC is not a flag?
It's use is varied and I'm not 100% on its use on admissions, though I'm certain of the other two.

In any case, postcodes flags are only really useful when they're alongside other flags - on their own they don't really tell you that much about an individual in the way individual level data like FSM and in care can.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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OAC is not used as widely any more, as other measures are more accurate indicators of disadvantage.

I'd also like to point out that contextual flags don't mean that students who have more of them are a) more likely to get an offer or b) will be given a lower offer. There's also no prioritisation of flags, with the exception that having been in Local Authority Care is seen as being the most significant.
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Fredericks1
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
OAC is not used as widely any more, as other measures are more accurate indicators of disadvantage.

I'd also like to point out that contextual flags don't mean that students who have more of them are a) more likely to get an offer or b) will be given a lower offer. There's also no prioritisation of flags, with the exception that having been in Local Authority Care is seen as being the most significant.
Hi Peterhouse A

Thank you so much for your reply, if that is the case what is the purpose of contextual flags, a little background: I have an EC but am not sure if I would be too comfortable declaring it so if I can get away without doing so it would be better.

Thank you
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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by Fredericks1)
Hi Peterhouse A

Thank you so much for your reply, if that is the case what is the purpose of contextual flags, a little background: I have an EC but am not sure if I would be too comfortable declaring it so if I can get away without doing so it would be better.

Thank you
Sorry I managed to miss replying to this!

Contextual flags help us assess each applicant as an individual - to look at their raw scores in the context of their educational and social environment. If you've been to a great school - in whatever sector - and come out with a handful of 8s and 9s at GCSE, then that's good. If you've done it at a school that is classed as low-performing at GCSE, then you've done it in more difficult circumstances. It helps us make that sort of comparison. Likewise, an ECF helps us understand difficult personal circumstances that you might have been through which means that you've had to work harder than other people to achieve good grades, or that your grades are slightly weaker, but it's not because you didn't work hard or have the ability, but there were other things going on in your life too.

An ECF will never be used against you. It can be really useful to people looking at you application to contextualise slightly weaker grades, if you have them, or to make good grades seem even more exceptional. If you get an offer, it can also help everyone get a head start on preparing to support your transition to uni if your problems are ongoing. I've known of people who haven't disclosed existing problems until after they've arrived, which has made their lives much more difficult.

Edited to add: I should also have said that if it's a very sensitive ECF, it will be seen by as few people as possible. This will usually only be the Admissions Administrator, Admissions Tutor and Director of Studies. If you're called for interview, the rest of the interviewers won't see it if it's really sensitive.
Last edited by Peterhouse Admissions; 1 year ago
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