Contextual offers


For UK students, as well as taking into account your qualifications, reference and personal statement, we also consider the context in which your education has taken place, which is assessed through information you provide in your UCAS application.

This is contextual data, used to encourage widening participation; done so that we can make a fair decision on whether to accept an applicant with grades slightly below our standard entry requirements, based on a judgement that they have the potential to succeed at degree level study.

Contextual offers are not made for BTEC qualifications or A level combined with other qualifications.

Please be advised, contextual offers are not applicable where an applicant is applying through Clearing.

Information considered

What information is taken into consideration?

Examples of contextual data we may take into account include: 

  • Your schools GCSE exam results;
  • The percentage of students eligible for Free School Meals at your school;
  • Whether you would be the first in your family to attend university;
  • Whether you have been placed in care during your education;
  • POLAR (Participation of Local Areas);
  • IMD (Indices of Multiple Deprivation)
  • whether you have participated in a SOAS Outreach programme.

The POLAR score looks at how likely young people are to participate in higher education across the UK and how this varies by area. While the IMD measures relative deprivation across England, considering factors such as income, employment, crime and barriers to housing.

What is a contextual offer

In general when an offer of study is extended the conditions given are made at our standard entry requirements. 

If a contextual offer is extended the conditions given are made with slightly reduced entry requirements.

For applicants that meet the criteria for:

  • two of the contextual offer categories, SOAS may make an offer with one reduced grade from the standard entry requirements.
  • three of the contextual offer categories, SOAS may make an offer with two reduced grades from the standard entry requirements.