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Contextual Admissions

What is contextualised admissions?

Contextualised admissions is the use of the information and data about an applicant to assess their prior attainment and potential in the context of their individual circumstances, such as their educational opportunities or personal factors.

What is contextual data and information?

Contextual data includes information about the size of the population that enters higher education in the student’s neighbourhood and the past performance of your school or college. Contextual information relates to the individual applicant’s circumstances, such if you have participated in any widening participation activities or if you have been in care.

Why is this information used?

QMUL has a long-standing commitment to widening participation and fair access. We are a diverse and inclusive community and welcome students from all backgrounds who have the ability and potential to succeed on our academic programmes. Admissions selectors use contextual data and information to form a complete view of your attainment and potential when deciding whether to make you an offer of a place.

What information is used?

Admissions selectors may consider the following information when making a selection decision:

  • Evidence that the applicant has been in care for at least 13 weeks during the period of their secondary education. If you are a care leaver, we encourage you to learn more about the ways in which we support you during the admissions process and transition to university.
  • Information about the proportion of young people from your neighbourhood who normally progress to higher education. This is based on the classification of postcodes by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Postcodes in quintiles 1 and 2 of the POLAR3 Low Participation Neighbourhood classification will be drawn to the attention of our admissions selectors.
  • Information about the performance of your school and/or college based on historic data supplied by the DfE. Schools and colleges that have performed below the national average in the most recent datasets published by the DfE will be flagged to our admissions selectors.
  • Participation in specific activities in preparation for your application will be considered. Currently these include the Bridge the Gap scheme for admission to Medicine and Dentistry, the Sutton Trust Pathways to Law scheme for admission to Law and the Stepping Stones scheme for admission to Geography.

How is this information used?

Academic schools determine their policy on the use of contextual data and information annually.  Each application will be considered on its individual merits. In taking contextual data and information into account, the admissions selector may make one of the following decisions (this list is not exclusive):

  • to make you the standard offer where your academic profile  might otherwise have fallen marginally short of the threshold routinely in place for making offers;
  • to make you a lower offer, which would typically be no more than one grade lower than the standard offer;
  • to take this information into account and to confirm your place if your results have fallen marginally short of the conditions of your offer.

Applications for Medicine and Dentistry

If you are applying to the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the following information will be considered when determining whether you should be invited for interview:

  • documentary evidence that you have been in care for at least 13 weeks during your secondary schooling; and/or
  • participation in the Bridge the Gap scheme.

Applications for Law

The Pathways to Law is a two year fully funded programme aimed at bright state school students in years 12 and 13 who are interested in pursuing a career in law. Successful candidates taking part in the Pathways to Law programme will be made a reduced offer of AAA for our single honours LLB programmes.

Applications for Geography

The School of Geography’s Stepping Stones scheme involves a mentoring programme with three local partner schools. If you have successfully completed the Stepping Stones scheme and you receive an offer from QMUL, the conditions of your offer will be two grades lower than the standard offer (currently ABB).

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