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How do you know if you can get contextual offers?

How do you know if you can get contextual offers?
Original post by cherryhitchkins
How do you know if you can get contextual offers?

most unis will state their criteria for giving out contextual offers on their websites :smile: you usually need to meet at least one thing from their criteria list, but it differs depending on the uni
Original post by cherryhitchkins
How do you know if you can get contextual offers?


Go onto the website of the universities you want to apply to.

Usually contextual offers are given if you go to a school that has perfomed lower than average, the area you live or if you have qualified for free school meals.
One of the ways that you can check if you live in an area that has low progression to higher education is POLAR. Type into google 'polar higher education' and you will find a website which allows you to check how likely young people are to progress to further education in your area. Just type in your postcode for this. Universities will use this POLAR4 to make contextual offers to students who have POLAR4 in quantile 1. It also, depends which school you went to. If you went to a poorer state funded school with low academic performance then you are also more likely to get a contextual offer. To check whether your school is low performing you can read Ofsted reports about that school which summarises things like teaching quality etc. Finally, if you are the first person in your generation to go to higher education, then you are also more likely to get a contextual offer.

And of course people who were in care, have disabilities etc. will automatically get contextual offers.
(Original post by cherryhitchkins)How do you know if you can get contextual offers?

Every university sets their own contextual conditions so you will need to check them. The most common conditions are

Having been in care
Living in a post code with low progression to university
Being in a low performing school

Some universities will only use one of the above whilst others accept them all. Some require 1 condition to be met. Others require more than 1. A few accept other conditions such as free school meals or the first in a family to go to university.
Original post by foreverrocking
Go onto the website of the universities you want to apply to.

Usually contextual offers are given if you go to a school that has perfomed lower than average, the area you live or if you have qualified for free school meals.


I want to go to university of reading
This is what Reading shows but it is a couple of years so check directly by ringing or emailing then. Many universities have changed their contextual conditions since 2019..

We recognise that some students are more likely than their peers to face barriers to fulfilling their academic potential at school, through no fault of their own. The University of Reading is committed to ensuring that none of our applicants are disadvantaged in accessing our degree programmes because of their background.

That is why, for 2019 entry onwards, we are making contextual offers to applicants who meet at least one of the following criteria:

Live in an area with low participation in Higher Education (defined as POLAR quintiles 1 and 2);
Live in an area with high levels of deprivation (defined as IMD quintiles 1 and 2);
Have declared a disability on their UCAS form;
Have participated in our Reading Scholars programme.
You can use the POLAR and IMD postcode lookup tools to see if your postcode makes you eligible.

What is the contextual offer?

Depending on your predicted grades and if you meet the above eligibility criteria, you will receive a contextual offer that is typically two grades lower than the top end of the published grade range for the programme you are applying for.

For example, if the typical offer is ABB , you will receive a contextual offer of BBC.

That offer applies whether you choose the University of Reading as your firm or insurance choice.
IMPORTANT - every University uses slighly different criteria and/or data.
Never, ever, assume that you will be eligible for a Contextual offer - always double check.
Original post by swanseajack1
This is what Reading shows but it is a couple of years so check directly by ringing or emailing then. Many universities have changed their contextual conditions since 2019..

We recognise that some students are more likely than their peers to face barriers to fulfilling their academic potential at school, through no fault of their own. The University of Reading is committed to ensuring that none of our applicants are disadvantaged in accessing our degree programmes because of their background.

That is why, for 2019 entry onwards, we are making contextual offers to applicants who meet at least one of the following criteria:

Live in an area with low participation in Higher Education (defined as POLAR quintiles 1 and 2);
Live in an area with high levels of deprivation (defined as IMD quintiles 1 and 2);
Have declared a disability on their UCAS form;
Have participated in our Reading Scholars programme.
You can use the POLAR and IMD postcode lookup tools to see if your postcode makes you eligible.

What is the contextual offer?

Depending on your predicted grades and if you meet the above eligibility criteria, you will receive a contextual offer that is typically two grades lower than the top end of the published grade range for the programme you are applying for.

For example, if the typical offer is ABB , you will receive a contextual offer of BBC.

That offer applies whether you choose the University of Reading as your firm or insurance choice.


The primary school I went to is bad. I used one of the websites from uni of reading and i typed in my postcode and my primary school came up
Original post by cherryhitchkins
The primary school I went to is bad. I used one of the websites from uni of reading and i typed in my postcode and my primary school came up


It isnt usually based on primary schools. It is usually where you do your A levels. Contact Reading university and ask for their advice.
Original post by cherryhitchkins
The primary school I went to is bad. I used one of the websites from uni of reading and i typed in my postcode and my primary school came up


Contextual Offers are based on your current home-postcide and/or the school where you are taking your A levels.
Original post by cherryhitchkins
How do you know if you can get contextual offers?


Hey @cherryhitchkins

Great to hear you want to come to University of Reading!
@swanseajack1has given a great overview above and you can read the full article of what contextual offers includes here. I'd definitely advise you have a good read through of that as it details everything you need to know!

As @McGinger says though, I would suggest getting in touch with our admissions team to double check whether you would be eligible or not. You can contact them via [email protected] / +44 (0) 118 378 8372

Hope this is helpful, but if you have any other questions, we'd be really happy to try and help answer them if we can!

Skye :smile:
3rd Year Speech and Language Therapy Student & Student Ambassador

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