The University of Surrey is committed to social mobility. We believe that to have a diverse and representative society we must ensure all learners with the potential to succeed at university can do so regardless of their background or personal experience.
As part of this commitment to widening participation, we use contextual admissions and make contextual offers.
About contextual offers
Contextual admissions are where we use additional information, like socio-economic factors, to understand the context in which you have achieved your qualifications, enabling us to identify performance and potential.
Depending on your predicted grades and if you meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive a contextual offer that is typically two A-level grades or one BTEC grade or equivalent lower than the published grade for the programme you are applying for.
A contextual offer is made using the information we receive from UCAS so you do not need to do anything. You will be told if your offer has been made in line with our contextual admission policy in your offer letter.
If you haven’t received a contextual offer at this stage, check whether you could be eligible to receive an alternate offer through In2Surrey.
Please note, subject requirements may not be reduced in the offer and grades will be reduced by two A-level grades, or one BTEC grade or equivalent. Contextual offers are made to home students only.
Information about how we make offers using contextual admissions can be found in the Data Protection section at the bottom of this page.
You will automatically be considered for an alternate entry requirement based on the contextual data you share with us through your UCAS application, so it’s important you tick the boxes relevant to you when you apply.
Contextual offers will be considered for students who:
- Live in an area where few people progress to higher education (POLAR4 quintile 1)
- Live in an area of multiple deprivation (Indices of Multiple Deprivation, IMD quintile 1)
- Disclose a disability or long-term health condition
- Have experience of living within care
- Have received free school meals at any point during your secondary school education
- Are estranged from your parents (i.e. you are not in contact with and supported by your parents).
You can check whether your home postcode is in a quintile 1 area using the postcode checker.
More detail about each of these point can be found in the Data Protection section below.
Support for Offer Holder Days, Interview Days and Campus Tours
All students who receive a contextual offer will also be eligible for support with travel to and from offer holder days and interview or audition days through our travel bursary.
The University of Surrey is working with Holiday Inn, Guildford, to provide overnight accommodation for students eligible for a contextual offer, who would otherwise not be able to attend an Offer Holder Day.
Rooms are limited and will be allocated to students using postcode data, prioritising applicants living in POLAR 4 quintile 1 and IMD quintile 1 areas, then travel distance to the University.
To apply for overnight accommodation on the evening of your Offer Holder Day complete the application form.
- The deadline for applications is 9am, 7 calendar days before your Offer Holder Day. For example, if your Offer Holder Day is Wednesday 15 February, you have until 9am on Wednesday 8 February to apply for accommodation
- Holiday Inn requires individuals under 18 years of age to be accompanied by a person over the age of 18.
In2Surrey Transition Programme
All students who receive a contextual offer and make Surrey their firm choice will be invited onto the University’s In2Surrey Transition Programme.
The programme runs from June to October and supports you to prepare for and transition into university. You will have the opportunity to meet with our dedicated Student Success team, join us for virtual webinars and select your own current University of Surrey student mentor. Invites to the programme will be sent out in June.
In addition, students who are eligible for a contextual offer may also be eligible for enhanced support.
Students who live in an IMD or POLAR4 quintile 1 area
- Students who live in an IMD or POLAR4 quintile 1 area (an area of multiple deprivation or where fewer people progress to higher education) and have a household income of £25,000 or less are eligible to receive the University of Surrey bursary.
- This is an annual award of £2,500 paid to eligible students in full-time attendance split into two payments which you’ll receive in early December and early March. You do not have to apply for this award. Details can be found on our scholarships and bursaries webpage.
Care experienced students
- Students who are Care leavers will be contacted in semester one about the Care Leaver Bursary. This is an annual bursary of £3,000 plus an additional £500 on graduation to support with moving on costs.
- The University also offers two scholarships for care experienced students. This is an annual bursary of £3,000. Details and application information will be available on our scholarships and bursaries webpage in the new year.
- All our students are invited to meet with the University’s Disability and Neurodiversity team. These one-to-one appointments with a Disability Adviser can be used to create a tailored Learning Support Agreement, discuss further support you may need and offer advice on the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA).
- Visit the disability and neurodiversity webpages to find out more about the support available to you at the University of Surrey.
- You can also find support and advice for interviews, offer holder events and auditions.
Not eligible for an automatic contextual offer?
In2Surrey provides an opportunity for applicants who meet the In2Surrey eligibility criteria below, but not the contextual offer criteria above, to apply to receive an alternate offer.
In2Surrey is a scheme run by the University's Widening Participation & Outreach Team. It provides eligible offer holders the opportunity to apply to receive an alternate contextual offer.
A contextual offer through In2Surrey is typically one A-level grade or equivalent lower than the published grade for the programme you are applying for. Please note, subject requirements may not be reduced in the offer and grades will be reduced by one A-level grade or equivalent.
You can apply to In2Surrey once you have completed your UCAS application.
You are eligible to receive a contextual offer through In2Surrey if you attend a state school and meet one of the following:
- You are eligible for a 16-19 bursary
- You are a refugee with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- You are from a Gypsy, Roma, Irish Traveller, Showperson or Boater community
- You have caring responsibilities (you care for a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition or addiction)
- You are a mature or adult learner who will be aged 21 years or over when commencing your studies
- Live in an area where few people progress to higher education (POLAR4 quintile 2)
- Live in an area of multiple deprivation (Indices of Multiple Deprivation, IMD quintile 2).
You can check whether your home postcode is in a quintile 2 area using the postcode checker.
In2Surrey Transition Programme
All students who receive a contextual offer, either automatically or via In2Surrey and make Surrey their firm choice, will be invited onto the University’s In2Surrey Transition Programme.
The programme runs from June to October and supports you to prepare for and transition into university. You will have the opportunity to meet with our dedicated Student Success team, join us for virtual webinars and select your own current University of Surrey student mentor. Invites to the Transition programme will be sent out in June.
You may also be eligible for support with travel to and from offer holder days and interview or audition days through our travel bursary.
Making your decision
We are offering phone calls for applicants across December and January to answer your questions and to provide further advice regarding your application before the UCAS deadline on Wednesday 25 January.
We invite applicants to book a call with a member of our team.
Our call back appointments enable you to speak to a member of our team to answer your questions, queries or concerns prior to the UCAS deadline.
Applicants are not required to provide any additional information to the University, the data we use comes from UCAS and includes the following:
|POLAR4, Quintile 1||Applicant living in an area of low participation to Higher Education. This dataset is subject to change each year.||Provided by UCAS and available through the public available dataset postcode look-up tool|
|Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD 1), quintile 1 from the United Kingdom||If you live in a postcode assigned to quintile 1 (decile 1 and 2) according to The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governments Index of Deprivation. This dataset is subject to change each year.|
Provided by UCAS and available through the dataset publicly available:
|Disability or long-term health condition data|
Included in dataset:
|Provided by UCAS where disclosed by applicant.|
Students who have experience of being in care (ever lived in public care or as a looked-after child) including:
|Provided by UCAS where disclosed by applicant.|
|Free school meals||Students who have received free school meals at any point during their secondary school education.||Provided by UCAS where disclosed by applicant.|
|Estranged student||Students under the age of 25 who are estranged from their parents (i.e. you are not in contact with and supported by your parents)||Provided by UCAS where disclosed by applicant.|
Admissions selectors consider an application on its own merit and on an individual basis as part of a holistic assessment of an application.
Where an applicant has met one of more of the above criteria their application will be considered under a contextual admissions approach. The standard Admissions selection criteria will need to be passed; predicted grades, references, interview/ audition where applicable, and satisfactory personal statement. In most cases, applicants will receive a reduced offer to support their journey to University and to recognise their potential in higher studies.
NB. Subject requirements may not be reduced in the offer. Grades will be reduced by two A-level grades, or one BTEC grade or equivalent.
Where your grades fall slightly short of our published requirements we may make an offer for an alternative course, such as a programme with an integrated Foundation Year.
The Admissions Policy is reviewed annually by the Senior Management Team for Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions. Datasets are subject to annual changes. The next review date will be August 2024. Inclusion of additional scope may be included for future cycles and will be listed above.