Contextual offers

We know that the context in which you're studying can have an impact on the grades you achieve and on your opportunity to take up extra-curricular activities or work experience.

Contextual admissions means that we can take these things into account which helps us to ensure everyone has a fair chance at getting into The University of Manchester. 

What is contextual admissions?

Contextual admissions means that we consider your UCAS application in context. The data we consider is automatically provided on your UCAS form. Specifically, we look at whether any of the following apply: 

  • You live in an area of disadvantage or with low progression into higher education.
  • The school or college where you took/are taking your GCSEs/A-level equivalent has performed below the national average over multiple years.
  • You have been looked after in care for more than three months. 

If you're a UK student under 21 and you meet any of the above you could be eligible for contextual admissions. This means you could receive further consideration from admissions teams, for example:

  • When reading your personal statement, we will take into consideration that you may not have had the same access to extracurricular activities or work experience.
  • If you're invited to an interview, we'll take into account that you may have had fewer opportunities to prepare.
  • If your predicted grades are below our standard offer, we might make you an offer which is higher than your predicted grades because we know predicted grades are often not a true reflection of your potential. This is known an aspirational offer.
  • You could also be eligible for a contextual offer. This is usually one grade lower than the standard entry requirements for the majority of undergraduate courses at Manchester. Contextual entry requirements can be found in the overview of each course profile.

Applicants need to meet our specific contextual data criteria and would not receive a contextual offer due to mitigating circumstances or as a result of a disability or medical condition. However, support is available for individuals in these circumstances and we have further information about how to apply and our Disability Advisory and Support Service.

Check your eligibility

Use our 2021 eligibility tool to see if you would receive further consideration or a contextual offer.  This tool is specific for 2021 entry because the classification of your postcode/school/college may change from year to year.

How do I apply?

You don't have to apply for contextual admissions, we get all the information we need directly from your UCAS form when you apply to study at Manchester.

If you've spent time in care, remember to indicate this when asked on your UCAS form. This will help us identify all the support you might be eligible for, including contextual offers.

Combination with access schemes

We run a number of access schemes to support students in developing the skills they need for university study. Upon completion, some of these schemes, such as Pathways to Law and Pre-University Social Science courses, may offer you a one grade reduction to the course standard entry requirements. This can often be combined with a contextual offer, resulting in a two grade reduction. For more information on access schemes, please visit the Access Manchester website.

If you're identified as eligible for contextual admissions and make Manchester your firm choice you may also be invited to complete the Manchester Distance Access Scheme.

Why do you use contextual admissions?

We recognise that not everyone has had access to equal standard of education and that social or socio-economic factors can cause a serious disruption to studies. Contextual admissions enables us to consider your achievements in the context of your background in order to level the playing field and ensure we are being as fair as possible.