Frequently asked questions

Find answers below to some of the more commonly asked questions about how The University of Manchester uses contextual data.

Why have the measures used been chosen?

We have chosen information that we are able to validate and have used publicly available datasets to ensure transparency.

We acknowledge that there are challenges in using area-based indicators or analysing school performance data and we are committed to constantly monitoring, updating and improving data sources.

I come from a low-income family. Will this be considered?

As this information isn't collected via the UCAS form and isn't easily verifiable we don't take this into account when flagging applicants for contextual data. However, you may be eligible for extra financial support through the Manchester Bursary.

Does contextual data apply to everyone?

Contextual data is only applicable to UK applicants who are under the age of 21 on 1 September in their year of entry. This is due to the availability and comparability of data. However, it will also be applied to all applicants who have been in care for more than three months and those with refugee status.

As comparable contextual data isn't available for non-UK domiciled students, if you're living outside the UK you should highlight any relevant socio-economic factors or individual adversity in your UCAS personal statement and ask your referee to include this in their reference.

Contextual data is less relevant for applicants over the age of 21 due to the gap between completing secondary and post-16 education and applying to university. Also, educational indicators are based on the most recently available school performance data and are therefore not valid for those who have been away from education for a number of years. Mature applicants should therefore contact the relevant academic School for guidance on how their application will be considered. 

What if I can’t find my postcode or school in the look-up tool?

Please contact providing your postcode and school/college(s) details and we can check this for you.

Do I need to submit more information?

No, applicants will not need to submit any additional data to the University, we use the information provided in your UCAS application form.

What is Manchester offering students who are flagged through contextual admissions?

You can find this information on our contextual admissions page and also use our eligibility tool to see what you would be entitled to. Please note our tool is specific for a particular cycle because the data we use changes from year to year.

Is there any additional criteria I must meet to be eligible for a contextual offer?

You'll receive a contextual offer if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • you meet the criteria for a WP Plus flag;
  • the qualifications and subjects you are applying with meet our published entry requirements. For example, if a course requires Chemistry and Maths you must be taking both of these subjects;
  • you're applying for a course where the minimum entry requirements are ABB and the course must not be a Faculty of Science & Engineering foundation course (F008 or H108);
  • your predicted grades are within two grades of our minimum entry requirements. For example, your predicted grades are BBB where the standard entry requirements are AAB; and
  • you successfully complete any additional selection requirements such as an interview or aptitude test (eg UCAT for Medicine).

How will I know if I have received a contextual offer?

If you're eligible and we're able to make you an offer for your chosen course it will be communicated to you via UCAS Track. The contextual offer will show lower requirements.

Do all courses make contextual offers?

The contextual offer scheme applies to courses with a minimum entry requirement of ABB equivalent. For example, this excludes all Nursing courses and all Science and Engineering Foundation Year courses.

If I decide to defer entry, will my contextual offer carry forward?

Yes, if an academic School allows you to defer then the offer you have received will remain the same.

I already have my exam results, will I be made a contextual offer?

Yes, WP Plus applicants who already have their results will be made an unconditional offer if their grades are up to one grade lower than the standard offer. They must also satisfy the qualification and subject requirements for the course and any further selection measures such as passing a test or interview before this offer will be made.

My Widening Access Programme gives me a lower offer. Can this be combined with the contextual offer?

Students are able to accrue lower offers to a maximum of three A-level grades (or equivalent) and to a minimum of BBC. This means that if you're completing an Access Programme (MAP) you may be eligible for a further reduction if you meet the criteria for a contextual offer.

For example:

  • A MAP student who meets our WP Plus criteria would receive a three grade reduction (two for MAP and one for WP Plus status). If the standard entry requirements were AAB this may result in an offer of BBC. If, however, the standard entry requirements were ABB, the offer would still be BBC as drops can't be made below this threshold.
  • A student who completes MDAS, Pathways to Law and Pre-University Social Sciences Courses would be eligible for a two grade reduction if they are WP Plus and three grade reduction if WP Plus PLUS.

Further details can be found in our Contextual Offer alongside Access Programmes document (PDF, 412KB) and you can check what, if any, flag you would receive by using our 2023 Eligibility Tool.

Will the contextual data offer apply if I am re-sitting my A-levels or Level 3 qualifications?

If you're undertaking resits, please contact the academic School to which you are applying as some Schools have specific resit policies.

I've been home-schooled. Will I be flagged for contextual data?

Should you meet the criteria for the geo-demographic indicator based on your home postcode then you would receive a WP flag like all applicants. However, you wouldn't meet criteria for the education indicator and so wouldn't receive a WP Plus flag. You would still be eligible for a contextual offer if you've been in care for more than three months or, from the 2022 cycle, have refugee status.