Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Student and Academic AdministrationAdmissions

Contextual Admissions

'Contextual admissions' is a term used to describe the use of additional information, including school performance data and socio-economic markers, to provide context for individual applicants’ university applications and achievement.

Why is the University of Southampton using contextual data?

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s achievements and identify their potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience.

How is contextual data used?

Each case is considered on an individual basis and the information used is primarily drawn from your UCAS application form, with the information on participation in widening participation/outreach activities provided by the University’s Outreach team.

The following contextual information will be taken into consideration and a student will be flagged if:

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

This information is derived from two fields in the UCAS application form, so it is important that care leavers declare this in their application. Further information on support available for care leavers is available below under 'Information for Care Leavers'.

b. Your home postcode is in a Low Participation Neighbourhood

If you currently live in a postcode assigned to the lowest POLAR3 quintile according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and identified by UCAS in the data it transmits to us.  HEFCE provides more information about its classification of neighbourhoods including an easy-to-use interactive map and a postcode look-up tool.

c. You have attended a lower-performing school/college

If you attended a school/college whose performance places it into the lowest two quintiles for average QCA points per A level student (or equivalent) (in England, Wales or Northern Ireland) as identified by the Department for Education dataset and provided to the University via UCAS.

A list of schools/colleges meeting this criterion can be found at the bottom of this page under 'Eligible schools for applications made in 2018/19'.

d. Participation in a recognised outreach or widening participation programme

These are University of Southampton programmes and activities that have:

Eligible programmes/activities:

For more information on the University’s widening participation and outreach activities, go to 

Please note, as the classification of your postcode and the performance of the schools you have attended may change from year to year, any current links or downloads are only applicable to applications for 2019 entry.


What is the University of Southampton offering students who are flagged through contextual admissions?

Depending on the course the student wishes to apply for, they could be:

a) given additional consideration and will not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades;

b) guaranteed an interview (or similar additional opportunity dependent upon the discipline);

c) made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

For information about subject specific approaches to contextual admissions, please contact the faculty admissions team.

For any other questions about contextual admissions, please contact:   


Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader
Privacy Settings