SOAS University of London

Undergraduate: Clearing

Entry to SOAS using contextual information

When we consider an application, we are looking for students who have the potential to do well at SOAS and benefit from the opportunities Higher Education can provide. The idea behind widening participation is that we give opportunity to students who have that potential regardless of their background or individual circumstances.

To do this we consider all the information provided in an application, including:

  • Your academic qualifications
  • Your references
  • Your personal statement

We also look at the environment in which your education has taken place to see if these circumstances could reasonably be considered to have an impact on your exam results.

To help us get a view of this environment we use independently sourced information so that we can make a fair decision on whether it may be reasonable to accept a student with grades which are slightly below our normal published requirements.

(Visit our Undergraduate Degree Programmes and click on the individual programmes to see the standard entry requirements).

Contextual data

Examples of information we may take into account include:

  • the performance of your school at GCSE
  • percentage of students eligible for free school meals at your school
  • where you live

Checklist before you contact us

When you contact SOAS to make a clearing enquiry please mention if you believe that you may be eligible for consideration under this scheme. Key things to keep in mind:

  • are you the first generation in your family to attend university
  • is your household income is less than £25,000
  • do you have experience of local authority care
  • Have you participated in one of these SOAS outreach events: SOAS Scholars: Thinking Globally, Step on, Year 12 Summer Schools (you will need to have met the necessary attendance requirements)

It is important to note that we will only go below the lowest entry requirement you will see published on our web site in exceptional circumstances.

Acceptance onto one of our programmes is, in all circumstances, entirely at SOAS' discretion.

Each application is considered on an individual basis with the whole profile being considered. This means that having one or more of the criteria listed does not guarantee we will be able to accept a student with lower grades. For example, some qualifications which may nominally be equivalent to ‘A’ levels (e.g. in UCAS tariff point terms) may not be considered suitable for acceptance at reduced levels.

Typically, this consideration using contextual information will relate to applicants presenting ‘A’ levels where study has taken place at a UK school as it is for these schools that the relevant data is available.

It is also important to emphasise that in accepting a student with these slightly lower grades through this process, we are not saying that we think a student is weaker than one who is accepted on the standard level. It means that we think that they have potential to do well at SOAS but may have been placed at a disadvantage in the school grades they received through no fault of their own.