As the UK’s specialist health university, we select applicants based on their potential for success in their chosen course and, where relevant, profession. We are committed to ensuring people from all walks of life are represented as part of our university community and the future health workforce.
We know that not everyone starts life with the same opportunities and so we use additional information, including school performance data and socio-economic markers, to review the context within which the applicant achieved their qualification.
Our two Contextual Admissions Schemes; Contextual Offer and Contextual Consideration, are both open to undergraduate applicants. The information we review is drawn from your UCAS application form, so you do not need to make a separate application or provide any additional information to be considered. Depending on your background, you may be offered a Contextual Offer or have your application reviewed holistically as part of our Contextual Consideration scheme.
Under our Contextual Offer Scheme, eligible applicants could be made an offer two grades lower than our standard conditional offer (even if your predicted grades are higher).
The two-grade reduction for Contextual Offers applies to A Level grades only and is applied across two subjects, rather than the requirement for one subject being reduced by two grades. The reduction will apply to the highest-grade requirements. Below you will see two examples of how we might adjust a grade requirement through our Contextual Offer Scheme.
Example standard offer
Example contextual offer
A Level requirement
As an applicant, you will still need to meet all other course-specific academic and non-academic entry requirements. This may include:
- minimum GCSE requirements
- course-specific subject requirements
- minimum non-academic requirements
- course-specific interview or assessment requirements
- UCAT requirements (for our five-year Medicine degree only)
Who qualifies for a Contextual Offer?
For the 2021 application cycle, applicants will be eligible for a Contextual Offer if they meet one of the two markers below.
1. Go to an eligible school
Applicants who apply from a non-selective state school in England with an average A Level grade of D+ or below, or one that is in the bottom 20% in England for progression to Higher Education are automatically eligible for consideration.
Download our list of eligible schools for 2021 entry (PDF)
Please note, that eligibility is determined based on the school at which you take your A Levels. If you completed your GCSEs at an eligible school, but then undertook your A Levels at a school that is not on this list, you will not qualify for a Contextual Offer.
2. Live in an area where very few people go on to higher education
We measure this using the Government’s POLAR4 classifications. POLAR is a measure of how likely young people in different areas of the country are to go on to higher education. This measure is updated periodically, and we are now on the fourth version – hence ‘POLAR4’.
POLAR measures the proportion of young people in each area of the country that go on to higher education. It then sorts each area into five groups (‘quintiles’) based on this rate – quintile 1 areas have the fewest people going on to higher education, and quintile 5 the most.
To be eligible for a Contextual Offer, the applicant must be in a quintile 1 or 2 area. In other words, they must be in an area that is in the bottom 40% of the country in terms of young people going into higher education.
You can check your local area on the Office for Students website.
Which courses does the Contextual Offer scheme apply to?
Applicants may be eligible for a Contextual Offer if they apply to the following undergraduate courses:
For the 2021 application cycle, applicants who are care leavers (or have been in care) will be given extra consideration during the admissions process. Applications from care leavers will be reviewed by a course tutor who may be able to offer a range of adjustments depending on an applicant's circumstances.
Therefore, it is important that care leavers declare this on their UCAS application form. There is more information for applicants who are care leavers on the UCAS website.
The contextual admissions schemes are reviewed annually for each intake and may be updated in the future.
Frequently asked questions
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In the first phase of contextual admissions, we are looking at A levels as these are the qualifications the majority of our applicants apply with. However, we are in the process of broadening our contextual admissions schemes with an aim to include more qualifications and reach a larger number of people by 2023 entry.
The majority of our applicants come from England, and we wanted the first phase of our contextual admissions schemes to benefit as many people as possible. As we expand the schemes, we will be ensuring that there are measures that include all of the UK nations. For 2021 entry, UK applicants from outside of England may qualify for a contextual offer if they live in an eligible POLAR 4 area.
Our contextual admissions schemes are designed to make higher education more accessible, and are not designed to disadvantage anyone. We want to ensure that those who have the potential to succeed at St George’s have the opportunity to apply. Whilst the pool of applicants eligible to apply to St George’s may grow, no applicants will be disadvantaged for being eligible for our courses outside of our contextual admissions schemes. All eligible applicants will be considered equally, and for those courses that interview offers will be given to applicants based on their interview score.
POLAR4 is the fourth and most recent iteration of the POLAR classification system, which looks at how likely young people are to participate in higher education across the UK. We use POLAR4 as it is the most up-to-date and accurate version of the system. Applicants from areas that are classified as quintile 1 or quintile 2 within POLAR4 are considered for a contextual offer as these are the areas of the country where participation in Higher Education is the lowest.
Your eligibility for our contextual admissions schemes will be flagged on your application and there is no need to mention your eligibility in your personal statement. However, you are welcome to mention anything in your personal statement that you feel demonstrates your motivation to study at St George’s, which may include aspects that qualify you for a contextual admissions scheme.
No. Contextual admissions and extenuating circumstances are different. Those with extenuating circumstances will have their specific situation considered but will not be made a contextual offer. Read more about extenuating circumstances
For the 2021 admissions cycle, we are using a series of internal flags to highlight your eligibility for contextual admissions on your application form. If you are successful in obtaining an offer, we will confirm that you are receiving a contextual offer in the conditions. In future, we hope to confirm applicant’s status through the Applicant Portal.
If you receive an offer but choose to defer your entry, we will honour your contextual offer based on your eligibility during your application year, regardless of entry year. As will all deferred offers, all offer conditions of must be met in the application year before you defer.
For 2022 entry, we are moving to using the schools data from the last three years to try to provide some stability to applicants who choose to delay applying. That means if you’re looking at the schools list now, but want to apply next year, you’ll still be eligible for contextual admissions.
Our 2021 contextual admissions schemes apply to undergraduate applicants only. However, we are in the process of broadening our approach to contextual admissions with an aim to include more qualifications and reach a larger number of people by 2023 entry.