At Bristol we want to attract students from all backgrounds as we believe a student community that reflects our society will benefit everyone.
What is a contextual offer?
Our contextual offer is a grade reduction of up to two grades below the standard entry requirements and is made to those from backgrounds who are historically less likely to come to Bristol. Once here, data shows that our contextual offer students achieve above average academically.
Details of our standard and contextual offer entry requirements are available on course pages. Use our course search tool to search our courses.
Could I get a contextual offer?
You may be eligible for a contextual offer if one of the following statements applies to you:
You have attended an aspiring state school or college
You will be eligible for a contextual offer if you are applying from an aspiring state school or college, which we define as:
schools in the bottom 40% for either:
progression to higher education, or average attainment in:
- A-levels, International Baccalaureate, Pre-U and Extended Projects qualifications (England)
- A-levels or any equivalent qualifications (Wales)
- A-levels (Northern Ireland)
- Scottish Highers or any equivalent qualifications (Scotland)
- schools that have 75% or more of their students resident in POLAR quintiles 1 or 2
based on the latest school performance and destination data available from the Department for Education.
If you are currently attending school or college and applying for 2023 university entry, you must apply through a school or college listed below to be eligible.
Aspiring Schools and Colleges 2023 cycle (England Wales) (PDF, 601kB)
Aspiring Schools and Colleges 2023 cycle (N Ireland) (PDF, 168kB)
Aspiring Schools and Colleges 2023 cycle (Scotland) (PDF, 168kB)
If you have finished school or college, you must have attended a school or college on one of the 2022 lists in the 2021/22 academic year to be eligible.
Schools and colleges eligible for contextual offer 2022 cycle (England Wales) (PDF, 674kB)
Schools and colleges eligible for contextual offer 2022 cycle (N Ireland) (PDF, 165kB)
Schools and colleges eligible for contextual offer 2022 cycle (Scotland) (PDF, 167kB)
We use the 'applying from' school code or the education history on your UCAS form to determine the school or college you have attended, so you must ensure these are correct when you apply.
Inclusion on the contextual offer list is not a judgement of the quality of the institution. We recognise that many of the schools and colleges on the list have been deemed outstanding in many respects.
You live in an area with low progression to higher education
You will be eligible for a contextual offer if, at the point of application, you live in an area that has a low rate of progression to higher education according to POLAR4 data. To determine this, we use the home address on your UCAS application form.
You can check whether your address qualifies by entering your postcode into the POLAR checking tool on the Office for Students (OFS) website. Eligible postcodes are those as defined as being within Quintiles 1 or 2 using the POLAR4 metric.
If your address is in a low progression area, you may also qualify for the University of Bristol Accommodation Bursary.
Check your postcode on the Office for Students website
Find more information on POLAR classifications on the Office for Students website.
You have completed a University of Bristol outreach programme
If you complete an academically focused outreach programme at the University, you will be eligible for a contextual offer. These include:
- Access to Bristol
- Insight into Bristol summer school
- Next Step Bristol
- Pathways to Health Sciences
- Sutton Trust Summer School at the University of Bristol
You have spent time in care
If you have spent three months or more in local authority care, you will be eligible for a contextual offer. Find out more about the support the University of Bristol provides to care leavers.
Please tick the box in the care questions on your UCAS application. If your reference confirms that you’ve spent three months or more in local authority care, our admissions team will process your application. If not, we’ll ask you to send us some more information, such as an email or letter from your local authority, school/college or other organisation.
The University provides a number of scholarships and bursaries that care leavers and estranged students may be eligible for. Use our funding search tool for a full list of funding support available.
You attend a Venturers Trust secondary school
You will be eligible for a contextual offer if you are currently attending a Venturers Trust secondary school; the Merchants Academy or Montpelier High School.
In honour of our commitment to being co-sponsors of the Venturers Multi-Academy Trust in Bristol, all pupils who attend and apply from the two secondary schools named above will receive a contextual offer.
2023 entry - You receive (or have received) free school meals
If you are receiving free school meals or have been in receipt of free school meals during your secondary education you will be eligible for a contextual offer from 2023 entry onwards. The UCAS application will ask you to confirm if you are or have been in receipt of Free School Meals.
Students in the UK are usually eligible for free school meals if their parents or carers are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits. Contact your school or college if you are unsure.
Check whether you are eligible for the University of Bristol Bursary or our Accommodation Bursary. For a full list of funding support visit our funding search tool.
Get a feel for life at Bristol at an upcoming event. If you receive an offer, you’ll also be invited to an offer holders' event for a deeper insight into your course.
The University currently makes contextual offers to applicants who meet one or more of these criteria and are taking A-levels or the International Baccalaureate diploma. Contextual offer levels for these qualifications are stated on each course entry in our course finder.
How do I apply?
Apply to us through UCAS. If you meet any of the criteria outlined above, you’ll be automatically considered.
Search our full list of funding support and check if you are eligibile. Access our virtual resources to explore university learning from home and hear about our outreach opportunities.
If you have any queries relating to contextual offers, please contact the Enquiries Team on +44 (0) 117 394 1649 or email@example.com.