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Undergraduate Study

Contextual offers

What is a contextual offer?

Fair access to higher education is hugely important to us at the University of Exeter. It enables social mobility and helps to improve opportunities and life-chances for individuals and their communities. As a result, we aim for our application and recruitment processes to be as accessible as possible. This reflects the commitments the University has made in its Access and Participation Plan.

When we review an application, we take into consideration the context in which applicants have achieved their academic qualifications. If candidates meet certain eligibility criteria, we may make an offer which is lower than our typical entry requirements. This is called a contextual offer.

Details of our typical and contextual offer entry requirements can be found on our course pages but they break down into 3 categories:

  1. BMBS (Medicine): contextual offer would be
    • A-Level: ABB
    • IB: 32
    • BTEC: DDM
  2. Grade range ABB or above: contextual offer would be
    • A-Level: BBB
    • IB: 30
    • BTEC: DDM
  3. Grade range BBB: contextual offer would be
    • A-Level: BBC
    • IB: 28
    • BTEC: DMM

One of the key eligibility criteria for a contextual offer for entry in 2020 is where you live. Your home address will be assessed using the HEFCE POLAR4 low-participation neighbourhood (LPN) data. This tells us whether you live in a location where it is much less likely that young people will progress to higher education than others. You can search postcodes to find out which areas are low-participation at the Office for Students website. To be eligible in this way, you will have to have a UK postcode.

We may also consider:

  • Whether you have successfully completed a progression scheme, such as University of Exeter Scholars or Realising Opportunities
  • The school or college where you took your A Level or equivalent qualifications
  • Whether you have been looked after or are/were in care during your schooling
  • The challenges you may have faced in learning in a language that is not your first and how long you have been studying within a particular curriculum framework; our admissions decisions focus on identifying potential and we may vary our standard requirements for home or international students where an holistic assessment during admissions identifies the potential to do well at Exeter.