Study>Advice for Applicants>Contextual Admissions Policy

Contextual Admissions Policy

​​​​Cardiff Met is keen to encourage students from a wide range of backgrounds to participate in higher education and use contextualised admissions in order to make reduced offers​.

Contextual admissions is where information provided on the UCAS application and additional data collected as part of the admissions process allows the recognition of an applicant’s achievements and identifies the potential to succeed in the context of background and experience.

The aim of using this information is to help us to build a more rounded view of an applicant’s achievement and potential. It allows us to use a range of applicant information in addition to prior attainment and judge applications fairly on merit.​

Contextual Information Used

​For the 2024 admissions cycle, the following contextual indicators will be used:

  • Spent time in care (identified through information on the UCAS application).
  • Having parents/guardians who have not attended university (identified through information on the UCAS application).
  • Live in an area with low progression to Higher Education (identified from Participation of Local Areas POLAR score). The score ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being low and 5 being high participation with the University considering those applicants from POLAR 4 being quintiles 1 and 2.
  • Welsh, English, Scottish and Northern Irish Indexes of multiple deprivation.
  • Attendance at a school with lower than average participation to Higher Education or those that have a higher number of students from low participation neighbourhoods.
  • Completed an accredited Widening Participation programme at Cardiff Met.
  • Applicants covered by the Armed Forces Covenant: those who serve or have served in the UK Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, and their families and dependents.​

UCAS Multiple Equality Measure (MEM) Data

The UCAS Multiple Equality Measure (MEM) will also be used which considers:

  • Sex
  • Ethnic group
  • Where people live (using the POLAR classification)
  • Secondary education school sector (state or private)
  • Income background (as measured by whether a person was in receipt of free schools meals (FSM), a means-tested benefit while at school)

Additional Information

Not all information in relation to you and your life experiences are collected on the UCAS application. However, Cardiff Met recognises that other information can help us identify your potential to succeed if you have not had the same opportunities as other applicants.

If you are not able to meet the entry requirements published on our website and have other personal circumstances that have negatively impacted on your post 16 studies e.g., disability, estranged student from your parents, are a refugee or asylum seeker. Please inform us of these circumstances by completing our contextual admissions application form.

How Does It Work?

The information you provide as part of your UCAS application is used so you will not have to do anything. However, it is important that you indicate on your application if you have care experience and if members of your family have not participated in Higher Education.

If you are identified as meeting the specified criteria and are offered a place, you will receive an adjusted conditional offer. Typically, this will be one grade (or the equivalent in points) below the published standard entry requirements. Course specific conditions will still need to be met, e.g., if the course requires a minimum grade within a specific subject. Alternatively information will be considered once results are received, resulting in your place being confirmed with less than the advertised published entry requirements.

An alternative programme of study, or foundation year may also be offered if a place cannot be offered on an applicant’s original choice.

The University can only use data supplied at the time of application. Where no data is provided, the contextual admissions policy will not be applied.

Review and Monitoring

The University is committed to widening access and providing opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, however it is not in the interests of the University or the applicant to admit students who do not have the full potential to succeed. We will therefore monitor students who have been admitted on this basis and monitor the impact of the implementation of the policy. The University also recognises that we are relying on readily available data to make contextual admissions decisions and we will evaluate the reliability of this data regularly.

Support for Applicants

Applicants admitted on a contextual confirmation decision will have access to the same support services as all other students. Applicants for NHS programmes whose permanent address is in one of the 10% most deprived areas of Wales, as defined by the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019 (WIMD), may receive additional study support. Please refer to our NHS Study Support Bursary.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I inform you about the circumstances that are listed in the Contextual Admissions Policy?

Your UCAS application form will let us know most of your circumstances. However, if you have additional personal information, including extenuating circumstances, we encourage you to complete the following application form.

How do I find out if I live in a low participation area?

Please check the following Criteria Checker, which asks you to enter your postcode.

I did not complete all the fields in the UCAS form covering the factors considered. How do I let you know?

If you did not complete the relevant information stipulated above as part of your UCAS application, you have another opportunity to provide this information via our application form.

My circumstances have changed since I completed the UCAS application. What can I do now?

If your circumstances have changed since applying, you can provide any additional information via our application form.

Do I need to provide further information?

If you have other personal information or extenuating circumstances that have affected your achievement of your qualifications, please complete the following application form to inform us of any additional information.

Why have I received a different offer from my classmate?

All applicants are treated on an individual basis, considering all information provided so offers may differ depending on personal circumstances. If you wish to discuss your own offer, please contact us at

Are all courses included as part of the Contextual Admissions Policy?

Yes, all courses are included as part of the Contextual Admissions Policy.

Am I eligible for a contextual offer if I am an international student and have applied through UCAS?

The Contextual Admissions Policy only applies to applicants with Home fee status.