Contextual admissions policy

Updated on 25 November 2022

An explanation of the factors the University will consider when applying a contextual flag to an application

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Putting everything in context gives us the biggest and clearest picture about you.

Why context matters

Achieving a strong set of school or college grades is key to earning a place at our university. That can be challenging, and we know grades are influenced by things like where you live, and other factors. That’s why each year we look at each student application in detail. We note circumstances that may have impacted your potential. We treat everyone fairly and admit the brightest and best students, regardless of background.

Advice and support are always available to all future students, but we need to know about you and your context to fully help you. We take certain factors into account when we look at your grades and these factors may generate a contextual support flag to highlight who is eligible for additional recognition and help.

Crucially, we will never use anything you disclose in a negative way, so as you complete your UCAS application, please do so as fully as possible and also encourage your referee to tell us about your circumstances.

How does a contextual flag help me?

Eligible Home Scottish or Rest of UK candidates allocated a Category 1 contextual flag will be made a Widening Access level offer or (for interviewing subjects) normally be interviewed. To be selected for offer or interview you must be on course to meet our widening access entry requirements, including in any essential subjects, details of which can be found on each course page.

Eligible candidates receiving an offer will be offered a place on one of our pre-entry Access Summer Schools. These help students prepare for university study and also offer an alternative way of qualifying for entry. We strongly advise such candidates to take up this special Dundee opportunity, keeping all of June and July free to do so.

What factors do we consider?

Any one of the following will generate a contextual flag:

Category 1 factors What do I need to do next?
If your home postcode at the time you apply is in a Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile 1 zone You will automatically be allocated a contextual flag when we receive your UCAS application
If you are or have been:
  • receiving free school meals and resident in Scotland
  • a looked after person (Care experienced)
  • someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without your support
  • a refugee, asylum seeker or granted humanitarian protection and resident in the UK
  • estranged from your parents (normally not in contact with them for at least 12 months as a result of a permanent breakdown in your relationship, with no sign of this being resolved) and resident in Scotland

You must notify us of your circumstances to enable us to apply a contextual flag. You can usually do this in one of the following ways:

  • indicating on your UCAS application
  • notifying us within your personal statement
  • asking your referee to note within their reference

If your referee has not noted your circumstances in your reference, we will ask you to upload documentation to evidence your circumstances to enable the flag to be allocated. You can also provide us with any evidence without waiting for us to request it from you.

To do this, please find a link in your University of Dundee Application Acknowledgement Letter to take you to our Applicant Portal. Within My Applications, you will find the link to 'Upload Documents' in the Application Details section, here you can provide us with the information we require.

All documentation must be uploaded no later than two weeks after the UCAS Equal Consideration Date (15th October for Medicine and Dentistry, 26th January for all other courses), or within 2 weeks of receiving a request to upload. Documentation supplied after these deadlines cannot be taken into consideration.

Postgraduate applicants need not upload evidence of their contextual status, as mitigating circumstance information can be included in your reference or personal statement.

How else might I get a contextual flag?

Other factors may have impacted your study and staff reading your application may, at their discretion, allocate a contextual flag equivalent to Category 1, if more than one of the following factors apply:

Category 2 factors include

  • home postcode at the time you apply is in a Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile 2 zone
  • are an adult returner (5 years post-school or 3 years post-study) or have a relevant accreditation of prior learning or work record or have been made redundant
  • have declared a disability or a Mental Health issue
  • faced disruption to your education (assessed as attending five or more Primary and Secondary schools or residing more than 40 miles from your Secondary School)
  • are Transgender
  • in a vulnerable group (e.g. a Children's Panel enquiry)
  • are sufficiently active with Reach/ACES or have completed a SWAP programme

Widening Access

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