Contextual admissions policy

As part of our ongoing commitment to widening participation at the University of Kent, we have a contextual admissions policy. The use of this data will help us to build a more rounded view of an applicant’s achievement and potential, we are keen to ensure that we are able to identify talent using a range of applicant information in addition to prior attainment. We are also committed to ensuring that every application is judged fairly on its merits. 

We use a range of the latest available datasets as of the 1st of October each year to inform this policy.  A number of contextual factors will be considered when assessing applications, these will help us to identify applicants who may not have reached their potential due to personal disadvantage or prior educational circumstances. The University recognises that we are relying on readily available data to make contextual admissions decisions and we evaluate the reliability of this data annually. 

UK domiciled applicants through the main UCAS cycle who meet the specified criteria will be eligible for contextual admissions offers. This will mean that eligible applicants will receive an adjusted conditional offer for the course(s) applied for. Course specific conditions will still apply, for example if the course requires you to have a minimum grade in a related subject, this subject grade will not be adjusted.


Applicants domiciled in England will be eligible for a contextual offer if they meet the following criteria:  



  • Have spent any time in Care under a Local Authority


  • Are a Refugee or Asylum Seeker




  • Applicant from University of Kent outreach partner college:  
  • EKC Group (incorporating Canterbury and Ashford Colleges)  
  • Mid Kent College  
  • North Kent College (including West Kent College)

*POLAR – Participation of Local Areas: The participation of local areas (POLAR) classification groups areas across the UK based on the proportion of the young population that participates in higher education. It looks at how likely young people are to participate in HE across the UK and shows how this varies by area. POLAR classifies local areas into five groups - or quintiles - based on the proportion of 18 year olds who enter HE aged 18 or 19 years old Quintile one shows the lowest rate of participation. Quintile five shows the highest rate of participation. 

**Where data is not available, we use KS4.

Eligible qualifications

Qualifications eligible for Contextual Admissions 

  • A Level - two grades below the published standard offer
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – lower offer 
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma 
  • International Baccalaureate – lower offer 
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate – lower offer 
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – lower offer 
  • T Level – lower offer 
  • University of Kent Access to HE Diploma – additional consideration 
  • University of Kent University Entrance Diploma – additional consideration 

Considered alongside other qualifications 

The University minimum level 3 requirement is 3 A Levels or equivalent, therefore the following qualifications may be considered for a lower offer, as part of a portfolio of other level 3 qualifications: 

AQA Level 3 Foundation Technical Level 

BTEC Diploma  

Cambridge International Pre-U Certificate 

Cambridge International Pre-U Diploma 

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate 

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma 

LIBF Diploma in Financial Studies 

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma

Qualifications Excluded for Contextual Admissions 

UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma 

Consideration will also be given to applicants who are studying the University of Kent Access Programme.

Contextual Admissions process: 

Applicants entering a 3 or 4 year bachelor's degree course at year 1 (excluding foundation years) will be considered for contextual admissions.  

On application, the criteria will be applied, and an adjusted offer (below the published typical level) made through central admissions. 

  • Students will apply as normal through UCAS (Kent Institution code:K24), there is no need for additional information for contextual admissions: we have all the information through the existing system 
  • Applications will be assessed in the usual way, the only difference will be that applicants who meet the contextual admissions criteria will receive a conditional reduced offer 
  • Applicants who self-declare on the UCAS application that they have been a Local Authority Looked After Child will be eligible for a conditional reduced offer. Applicants will be expected to confirm their Care Status 
  • Applicants who self-declare on the UCAS application that they hold asylum seeker or refugee status will be eligible for a conditional reduced offer. Applicants will be expected to provide evidence of their status.  
  • There may be other conditions attached to an offer but these will be set out separately at individual application level when the offer is made 
  • The University reserves the right to apply this process to applications using data available at that time. Where there is no data available in order to make a fair judgement, we will not apply the contextual admissions policy to the application. 

For more information on: 

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