Contextual Admissions

Loughborough University is committed to widening access. We encourage applications from all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, and seek to ensure that no groups are disadvantaged during the application process.

This commitment is outlined in the University’s Access and Participation Plan. An important part of this plan relates to the University’s use of contextual data and information in the admissions process.

This Contextual admissions statement should be read alongside the University’s Admissions Policy which sets out how we select and admit our students.

What is contextual admissions?

Contextual admissions is information in addition to academic qualifications that helps universities identify students with the greatest potential to succeed in higher education.

A range of measures can be used to provide insight into the context in which academic qualifications have been achieved, thereby generating a more rounded understanding of a student’s achievements and their subsequent potential to study at university.

What contextual information is used?

Loughborough University currently uses the following contextual indicators:

Indicator Notes
Currently lives in an area of low participation to Higher Education (POLAR4, Quintile 1)

This data is downloaded from a publicly available dataset and mapped to the home postcode indicated in an applicant’s UCAS application.

To find out if your home postcode falls into quintile 1 (according to POLAR4) you can use the following postcode look-up tool.
Currently lives in an area of low participation to Higher Education (POLAR4, Quintile 2) AND in an area of socio-economic deprivation (English Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD Decile 1 or 2).

This data is downloaded from publicly available datasets and mapped to the home postcode indicated in an applicant’s UCAS application for English domiciled students.

To find out if your home postcode falls into Quintile 2 (according to POLAR4) AND Decile 1 or 2 (according to IMD) you can use the POLAR and IMD lookup tools.
Currently taking part in Realising Opportunities (RO) This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application and verified by the Realising Opportunities  partnership.
Has spent more than three months in care This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 
Has caring responsibilities This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 
Has a disability or long-term health condition This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 
Where an applicant will be aged 21 or over at the start of the course (defined as Mature) These applicants may require additional consideration on the basis of a period spent away from education, personal circumstances and/or additional work or life experience. This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 
Is estranged from their family This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 
Is a recognised refugee, asylum seeker or have been granted humanitarian protection

This information is taken from an applicant’s declaration as part of their UCAS application. 

Other Any personal or extenuating circumstances not covered by the above that may have had led to significant disruption to education and therefore had a negative impact on an applicant’s studies. This information is taken from either an applicant’s personal statement and/or reference as part of their UCAS application.

How do we use this information?

Admissions selectors will consider these contextual indicators on an individual basis as part of their holistic assessment of an application. Applicants are not guaranteed an offer, but admissions selectors may:

At offer stage:

  • use this information to consider the application further, potentially requesting additional information or inviting an applicant to interview.
  • use this information to make an offer when an offer would not normally be made on the basis of predicted/achieved grades.
  • occasionally use this information to make a concessionary offer.
  • may use this information to make an offer for an alternative course, such as a Foundation Year.
  • make a reduced alternative offer of up to two grades for those successfully completing Realising Opportunities.

At the point of Confirmation (i.e. when qualification results are received):

  • take this information into account further before making a final decision.

For further information about the use of contextual data please contact the Admissions Office

For further information about the University’s work to build an inclusive community and the support available to students at Loughborough, please see our webpage.