Contextual Admissions

The University of Liverpool is keen to support the admission and success of applicants who experience barriers to their education. The University has launched a contextual admissions strategy for eligible UK students.

Building on our proud and long-standing success in widening participation, we have adopted the use of contextual offers for applicants in the main UCAS recruitment cycle. This will provide up to a 2-grade reduction* from the standard offer for the following under-represented groups:

  • Students from English neighbourhoods with historically low participation in Higher Education (known as POLAR 4 Quintile 1 postcodes, after the dataset used by the Office for Students to track this metric)
  • UK Care Experienced students (i.e. qualifying students who have spent any amount of time in Local Authority care and meet associated eligibility criteria used nationally).

For programmes that enter Clearing we will offer a one grade reduction, from the standard clearing offer.

All other applicants who meet the wider agreed contextual indicators will still be given additional consideration when being considered for interview, on exam results day and for those who have already completed their level 3 qualifications previously.

 *Exceptions may apply. For further details, please join our webchat or email

What types of applicants will be considered for contextual admissions?

All information is derived from the UCAS application so applicants don’t have to do anything other than complete the UCAS application process. There are no additional forms to complete. Every application will be filtered through the contextual data system and flags will be allocated to those who are:

  • Care experienced
  • From a POLAR Quintile 1 postcode area

What is POLAR Quintile 1?

POLAR is a dataset based on postcodes which identifies how many applications to Higher Education have been made from a specified postcode area. This allows data to be compared across the UK and helps to identify which areas have the lowest young participation rates in Higher Education.

POLAR data is split into five sections known as ‘quintiles’. Quintile 5 shows those most likely to enter Higher Education while Quintile 1 identifies those least likely to enter Higher Education.

It is the POLAR quintile 1 group which the University of Liverpool is going to offer additional support to.

Check the POLAR quintile status of your postcode

What does ‘Care Experienced’ mean?

Care Experienced describes a child/young person/adult that has been in the care of the local authority at some point within their childhood/before their 18th birthday.

Various different scenarios apply to this cohort:

  • Placed in care at birth and adopted at 6 months
    • This is common with applications to the University of Liverpool. Support has been provided to several young people who have been adopted into the university. The adopted parents can share any issues that may have impacted on the child’s education as they progress into adolescence and accept their adopted status. This can result in significant disruption to a child’s education.
  • Child that is placed into local authority care but then returned to biological parent/s before 18th birthday
    • For example, child that has suffered neglect from by biological parent/s and placed in care for months/years. When/if Biological parent/s resolve their issues, the child is returned to their parent/s.
    • common place for children who have parent with serious medical conditions. Due to illness, if a parent cannot meet the needs of the child then the child is placed in care. When the health of the parent improves, the child is returned to the parent. If the parent’s health then deteriorates again, the child is again placed into care etc.
  • Child that has spent several periods of their childhood within Local Authority care

For further information contact:


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