Contextual Admissions Statement

What is meant by ‘Contextual Admissions’?

It is a term used to describe the use of additional information, provided on your UCAS application, to give context beyond your grades and predicted grades. 

The University of South Wales is committed to widening participation and ensuring that those with the potential to succeed, regardless of circumstance, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports us in recognising a student’s achievements and helps us identify the potential to succeed in the context of an individual’s background and experience.   

Studying a Welsh Government commissioned healthcare course?

In partnership with the Welsh Government commissioners of healthcare courses Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), additional contextual admissions information will also be considered for applicants.

How we use contextual data 

Every application is considered on an individual basis and the information we use is obtained from your UCAS application.   

The following contextual information will be taken into consideration:

1. Your home postcode is in a Low Participation Neighbourhood 

If you currently live in a postcode assigned to the lowest POLAR4 quintile this information is provided to us by UCAS within your application.  We are therefore recognising those applicants who have a POLAR4 Score of 1 or 2 as supplied to us from UCAS.  Please check here to see if your postcode is within POLAR4 Quintile 1 or 2.  

2. First generation to attend Higher Education  

This information is provided on your UCAS application, so it is important that you respond correctly to this question if you are the first generation in your family to enter Higher Education. 

3. You have been in care or have been looked after for three months or more 

This information is provided on your UCAS application, so it is important that care leavers declare this when applying. 

What is the University of South Wales offering applicants who are identified through contextual admissions?

Applicants who are identified through contextual admissions, and are predicted to meet the entry criteria, will either be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that course or will have this taken into consideration when results are released, and places are confirmed.

Frequently Asked Questions

At USW we have always taken your whole application into account when making and confirming offers. We consider your personal statement, your reference and your predicted grades. This helps us build a picture of the type of student you will be. A contextual admissions approach provides us with further information that we can use when making or confirming your offer. We look beyond your grades and see the person behind the application. 

For those applicants who are applying via UCAS, in addition to your predicted grades, personal statement and reference, we will now take into account the factors listed below:

  • if you live in an area of disadvantage or an area with lower progression to Higher Education (POLAR 4 data). This data will be gathered from the applicants' home postcodes
  • if you are within the first generation of your immediate family (parents, step-parents, guardians) to apply to undertake a Higher Education qualification. It is important that this information is captured in the UCAS application as that is the source used to gather it 
  • if you have been in public care for three months or more. It is important that this information is captured in the UCAS application as there are two fields used as the source to gather it. 

Taking all of these into account, we may be able to consider making you a lower offer or we will take these factors into account when we receive your final grades and are confirming your place.  

We will gather each factor from your UCAS application. Please ensure you complete these sections correctly so that we have the most accurate information available to consider.  

You can check and see if your postcode falls into Quintile 1 or Quintile 2. 

No. We will gather the information we need from your UCAS application.  

At USW we treat every applicant as an individual, so you will find that offers can differ. If you wish to discuss your own offer, please contact us at [email protected]  

Please email [email protected] with further details and we will add a note of these details to your application. You must also contact UCAS and ask them to update your application with the missing information. If we have already made you an offer, we will revisit your application to check that you have the correct offer.  

No. Some courses have requirements imposed by professional bodies and we are unable to make or confirm offers lower than the standard offer. As a consequence, BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences is excluded from this Policy. 

If you have been identified as eligible for a contextual offer, this will be made clear to you in the offer email sent from USW. Please keep an eye on your emails.  

We can only issue contextual offers to UCAS applicants. The data that we need is only captured on the UCAS application. If you are a home applicant and have applied directly to us for a full time undergraduate course and you have circumstances that have impacted upon your studies, please get in touch with us at [email protected] and we will do our best to help support you with a contextual offer.  

Firstly, check that your course is not excluded from the policy (see bullet point 8 above). If your course is not excluded, it may be that you are predicted to meet the top of the entry criteria banding. If this is the case, we have made you the standard offer. However, when you receive your results, if you have not obtained the grades required then we will review and prioritise your application, taking into account the contextual data on your UCAS application. 

The Contextual Admissions policy only applies to home students as it is based on data applicable to home applicants only. 

The Contextual Admissions Policy only applies to students studying at USW. Our Partner Colleges have their own admissions policies and procedures.