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Please note that the below information relates to applicants starting an undergraduate course in September 2023. Our Contextual Admissions policy for those applying for a course to start in 2022 is available here.

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 Contextual Admissions policy is open to St George’s applicants who are: 

  • Resident in the United Kingdom

  • Holding undergraduate status (do not hold a degree)

  • Applying for an undergraduate programme of study leading to an award.

Some of the information we review is drawn from your UCAS application form and some you will need to declare on your St George's application portal once your application is submitted. Access to your St George's portal is granted once we receive your application from UCAS. 

Please note that the Contextual Admissions policy is reviewed annually for each intake and may be updated in the future.

Our Contextual Admissions Schemes

We offer three schemes under this policy. These are, pre-application support, contextual offers and post-application support. The type and amount of support available to you will depend on which of the eligibility criteria you meet, as covered below. For example, some applicants may be eligible for pre-application support, a contextual offer and post-application support, but other applicants may not be eligible for a contextual offer.

 

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Pre-Application Support

If you meet the criteria for groups 12 or 3 below you will be eligible for some pre-application support. Examples of some of the support available include:

 If you meet Group 1 criteria specifically you will also receive bespoke advice regarding available support as well as tailored visit days to the University.

Do I need to provide proof of eligibility for pre-application support?

You will not be required to provide proof of meeting our eligibility criteria in order to receive pre-application support, however you can only be considered for this type of support by notifying our Widening Participation team using the webform here.

Contextual Offer

All applicants who meet criteria for groups 1 and 2 are eligible to be considered for a Contextual Offer. Under our Contextual Offer scheme, you could be made an offer two grades lower than our standard conditional offer (even if your predicted grades are higher).

For 2023 entry, the two-grade reduction for Contextual Offers applies to A Level, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Scottish Higher 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 examples of how we might adjust a grade requirement through our Contextual Offer scheme.

 

Example standard offer

Example contextual offer

A Level requirement

 

AAA

ABB

BBC

CCC

IB requirement

32 Overall (5,5,5 at Higher Level)

30 Overall (5,4,4 at Higher Level)

Scottish Highers requirement

Highers: BBB

Advanced Highers: BB

Highers: BBB

Advanced Highers: CC

 

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, such as Fitness to Practise requirements

  • course-specific interview or assessment requirements

  • course-specific aptitude test requirements, such as UCAT

Do I need to provide proof of eligibility to receive a contextual offer?

Yes, you will need to provide the admissions team with evidence of you meeting our criteria above. Some of the information we need will be included in your UCAS application, however we will still need you to complete a declaration form on your St Geoerge's applicant portal once you have submitted your application. If you do receive a contextual offer from us, we may include non-academic conditions in your offer requesting to see evidence that you meet our Contextual Admissions criteria. The type of evidence you will need to provide will depend on which criteria you meet (please see the list below for more details). 

Evidence required for applicants from groups 1 and 2

Please see the below information for the evidence we may request as proof of your eligibility for each criteria.

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Care Experienced Students (Care Leavers)

You will be required to mention this in your personal statement as well as ensuring that your referee includes acknowledgement of this status in their written reference on your application. 

Students with Care Responsibilities (Carers)

You will be required to provide evidence of a Carer Support Plan. If you do not have a Carer Support Plan in place, you will be required to provide alternative evidence. In line with recommendations from Carers Trust, the evidence may take the form of any of the following:

  • A doctor’s or consultant’s letter confirming the responsibility of caring for a close friend, or relative and any perceived impact on the applicant
  • A local authority carers’ assessment
  • Carer Allowance documentation from Department of Work and Pensions
  • A letter from a counsellor or support worker, or an organisation such as the Carers Trust or local Carers Centre, confirming the responsibility of caring for a close friend, or relative and any perceived impact on you.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers

You will be required to provide evidence of either your UKVI letter confirming refugee status or confirmation of a current pending application for refugee status.

Estranged Students

You will be required to mention this in your personal statement as well as ensuring that your referee includes acknowledgement of this status in their written reference on your application. 

Go to a school with an average A level grade of C- or below

You will not be required to provide anything further to evidence this as we receive all the necessary information for this criteria within your UCAS application.

Go to a school with low progression to Higher Education

You will not be required to provide anything further to evidence this as we receive all the necessary information for this criteria within your UCAS application.

Live in an area where very few people go on to Higher Education

You will not be required to provide anything further to evidence this as we receive all the necessary information for this criteria within your UCAS application.

Live in an area with higher levels of deprivation

You will not be required to provide anything further to evidence this as we receive all the necessary information for this criteria within your UCAS application.

In receipt of free school meals

You will not be required to provide anything further to evidence this as we receive all the necessary information for this criteria within your UCAS application.

 

Post-Application Support

Post-application support is split into support available for applicants (pre-offer), and offer holders (post-offer). All applicants from groups 1, 2 and 3 are eligible for some pre-offer and post-offer support. This includes applicants who have not received a contextual offer (2-grade reduction), such as those applicants with qualifications other than A levels, IB or Scottish Highers. The types of post-application support available to applicants include:

  • PRE-OFFER: Travel bursaries to attend St George’s interview day
  • PRE-OFFER: Live or pre-recorded ‘Preparing for your interview at St George’s’ webinar
  • POST-OFFER: Travel bursaries to attend St George’s offer holder day
  • POST-OFFER: Fitness to Practise bursary, if eligible, to assist with costs of meeting police and occupational health check requirements
Do I need to provide proof of eligibility to receive post-application support?

The specific type of support you are applying for may require evidence. If you are eligible for any of this support you will be given further instructions on how to apply at the appropriate stage of your application.

 

Who is eligible for our Contextual Admissions policy?

There are several different criteria that could qualify applicants to be considered for some or all of the support included in our Contextual Admissions policy. To be eligible for any of our Contextual Admissions policy, you must fall into one of the criteria groups below and be applying for one of our eligible courses.

Criteria Groups

Group 1

Applicants will qualify for a contextual offer and pre-/post-application support if they meet one, or more, of the below four criteria:

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Care Experienced Students (Care Leavers)

You will meet this criteria if you are currently, or have previously been:

  • living with foster carers
  • living in a residential children's home
  • being looked after at home under a supervision order
  • living with friends or relatives in kinship care - either through a formal arrangement (e.g. special guardianship order) or an informal arrangement without local authority support
Students with Care Responsibilities (Carers)

You  will meet this criteria if you are a young person aged 14-25 who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who could not cope without their support. this may be due to illness, disability, a mental health issue or substance misuse.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

You will meet this criteria if you are either: 

  • A refugee - someone whose claim for asylum has been recognised and they have been granted official 'refugee' status.

OR

  • An asylum seeker - someone who has applied for refugee status and is waiting to find out if it has been granted.
Estranged Students

You will meet this criteria if you are a young person aged 14-25 who is studying without the support and approval of your parents/guardians due to a breakdown in your relationship.

Group 2

Applicants will qualify for a contextual offer and pre-/post-application support if they meet two, or more, of the below five criteria: 

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Go to a school* with an average A Level grade of C- or below

If you are applying from a school in England with an average A Level grade of C- or below you will meet this criteria.

A list of eligible schools for 2023 entry will be published here at the start of the 2023 application cycle.

*Please note, eligibility is determined based on the school at which you take your A Levels (or equivalent). If you completed your GCSEs at an eligible school, but then undertook your A Levels at a school that is not on these lists, you will not meet the criteria. Qualifying schools will be determined based on the three most recent years of school’s performance data available from the Department of Education.

Go to a school* with low progression to Higher Education

If you are applying from a school in England that is in the bottom 40% in England for progression to Higher Education you will meet this criteria.

A list of eligible schools for 2023 entry will be published here at the start of the 2023 application cycle.

*Please note, eligibility is determined based on the school at which you take your A Levels (or equivalent). If you completed your GCSEs at an eligible school, but then undertook your A Levels at a school that is not on these lists, you will not meet the criteria. Qualifying schools will be determined based on the three most recent years of school’s performance data available from the Department of Education.

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’.

It 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 meet this criteria you must be in a quintile 1 or 2 area. In other words, you 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 POLAR4 quintile number on the Office for Students website.

Live in an area with higher levels of deprivation

We measure this using the Government’s Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). IMD uses the seven aspects below to classify the relative deprivation of small areas across the country.

  • Income
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Health
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment

IMD data sorts each area into ten groups (‘deciles’) based on the classification – decile 1 areas have the most perceived deprivation relative to other areas, and decile 10 has the least.

To meet this criteria you must be in a decile 1 or 2 area. In other words, you must be in an area that is classified in the bottom 20% of the country in terms of perceived deprivation.

You can check your local area by searching your postcode at gov.uk.

In receipt of free school meals

If you are in receipt of free school meals (FSM), you will have met the Government's eligibility criteria, which varies slightly depending on where you live. Information on these criteria is available on the relevant Government websites: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


Group 3

The following applicants will be offered pre- and post-application support, although not a contextual offer:  

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Service Children

You will meet this criteria if your parent or carer currently serves in the British Armed Forces as a Regular or a Reservist, or has done so at any point during the first 25 years of your life.

Those from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

The term 'Gypsy, Roma and Traveller' encompasses a wide range of individuals who may be defined in relation to their ethnicity, heritage, way of life and how they self-identify. This includes applicants from the following backgrounds:

  • English or Welsh Romany Gypsies
  • European Roma
  • Irish Travellers
  • Scottish Gypsy Travellers
  • Showpeople such as people linked with fairground or circus professions
  • People living on barges or other boats
  • People living in settled (bricks and mortar) accommodation
  • New Age Travellers
Mature Students

You will be considered a mature student if you are a non-graduate applicant, aged 21 and over when you enter Higher Education.

 

Eligible Courses

You may be eligible for our Contextual Admissions policy if you apply to the following undergraduate courses:

 

 

Contextual Admissions Bursaries

Travel Bursary

If you are eligible for pre- and post-application support for an undergraduate programme (excluding the Graduate Entry Medicine programme), you are eligible for travel bursaries enabling you to attend open days, applicant interviews (where applicable), and offer holder days.

Travel bursaries are available to cover reasonable costs on public transport or reimbursement of petrol costs for UK travel only. Travel bursaries can be claimed for travel by any form of public transport, standard class travel only. If travelling by rail, you are expected to purchase train tickets in advance of the event. Rail tickets purchased on the day of the event will not be reimbursed. Only your own travel will be reimbursed (i.e. for one person), unless you require care or assistance to get to or at the event/interview. In this instance, or in other exceptional circumstances, St George’s may be able to cover the travel costs of an additional attendee after agreement from the Widening Participation team.

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Claiming a travel bursary
Travel bursaries can be claimed via reimbursement. No payments ahead of booking are available. The process for which to claim a travel bursary is as follows:
  1. Book onto the St George’s event/interview.
  2. Submit a travel bursary application via this application form.
  3. Wait to hear the outcome the travel bursary application. Reimbursement is not guaranteed until the application has been approved.
  4. Book required travel tickets/plan the journey in advance of event/interview.
  5. Complete the travel bursary claim form which will be emailed with the travel bursary applicational approval, and submit it to wp@sgul.ac.uk.

Travel bursaries will be processed after the event/interview in question; reimbursements may take up to 3 weeks to be received by the bank. In the event that you are unable to purchase tickets upfront, you can contact the Widening Participation Team who may be able to purchase these on your behalf. 

 Fitness to Practise Bursary

If you are eligible for post-application support and hold a Conditional Firm offer for a clinical undergraduate programme (excluding the Graduate Entry Medicine programme), you are eligible for the Fitness to Practise (FTP) bursary. Fitness to Practise checks are not a requirement for non-clinical programmes, or whilst an applicant to a clinical programme is holding a conditional offer with no response, or with the response of insurance or decline.

The FTP bursary amounts to £85 for applicants to use towards the cost of the non-academic conditions of their offer, including:

  • UK DBS Check and/or Update Service
  • Occupational Health Check
  • Overseas Criminal Record Check
  • Vaccination Costs

 The FTP bursary may not cover the full costs of these checks, however it should provide significant subsidy. FTP bursaries are only available to applicants in the academic year their application is submitted. If you defer your application to a later entry year, you will still need to claim the bursary when meeting your FTP  requirements in the academic year you initially apply.

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Claiming an FTP bursary
FTP bursaries can be claimed at the point of eligibility before any Fitness to Practise checks have been conducted, if necessary. Those who qualify will be informed of how to claim the bursary by email at the point of eligibility.

Payments may take up to 3 weeks to be received by the bank in which case you may be required to start your Fitness to Practise checks before receiving the FTP bursary in order to meet the required deadline (as stated in the condition of the offer). The deadline by which the Fitness to Practise checks are required will not be extended due to a delay in claiming and/or receiving the FTP bursary. 

Further information on applying to the Fitness to Practise bursary will be available for eligible applicants on receipt of your offer.

 

Frequently asked questions

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Why does the Contextual Offer scheme only include applicants with A Levels, IB and Scottish Higher qualifications?

Our Contextual Admissions policy is only currently available to applicants from within the UK. As these are the main qualifications studied for within the UK, these are the ones we have included in our policy. We have evidence to suggest that a two-grade reduction across two subjects for these qualifications does not impact on a Contextual Admissions applicants' progression within Higher Education. In future we may broaden this part of our policy to include more qualifications, however at present these are the only qualifications eligible for this scheme.

Why is the Contextual Admissions policy limited to applicants from the United Kingdom?

Our Contextual Admissions policy has been produced in line with our requirements for Access and Participation, as set by the Office for Students. Our requirements currently only include Access and Participation for UK students and applicants, however we may look to broaden our policy in future to include international applicants. Read more about the St George's Access and Participation plan.

Will my application be disadvantaged if I am not eligible?

Our Contextual Admissions policy is designed to make Higher Education more accessible, and is 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 outside of our Contextual Admissions policy will be disadvantaged. All applicants will be considered equally and for those courses that interview, offers will be given to applicants based on their interview score. 

Do I need to refer to Contextual Admissions in my personal statement to be eligible?

You may need to mention Contextual Admissions in your personal statement if this is listed as one of the evidence requirements for a criteria you meet (please read the full criteria evidence requirements under the details for each scheme above).

Otherwise, all you need to do is submit your UCAS application and complete your declaration form on the St George's applicant portal. However, you are also 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 our Contextual Admissions policy. 

Will any other criteria be considered under the Contextual Admissions policy in 2023, such as other extenuating circumstances?

No. Contextual Admissions and extenuating circumstances are different. Those with extenuating circumstances will have their specific situation considered but this will not make them eligible for our Contextual Admissions policy. Read more about extenuating circumstances.

How will I know if I am being considered as part of the Contextual Admissions policy?

Once you have submitted your UCAS application and completed your declaration form on the St George's applicant portal, eligible applicants will see a flag on their applicant portal (below their personal details) to confirm if they are eligible. Additionally, if your application is successful and you receive a Contextual Offer from us, we will include confirmation of this in your offer letter, including speicifc conditions (if applicable).

I have been made a Contextual Offer, but would like to defer. Will my offer be affected?

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 with all deferred offers, all offer conditions must be met in the application year before you defer. 

I am currently eligible for Contextual Admissions through the schools data, but would like to take a gap year before applying. What if my school is not on the list next year when I apply?

For 2023 entry, we are 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. 

I’m a graduate applicant, am I eligible for any of the schemes in the Contextual Admissions policy?

Our 2023 Contextual Admissions schemes apply to undergraduate applicants only. However, we are looking to broaden our approach to Contextual Admissions and may update this policy in future years.

 

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