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Offer schemes

Contextual offer scheme

Our offer scheme looks at more than your academic grades to make sure you get the chance you deserve.

We believe that helping more people from a wide mix of backgrounds to access education benefits both individuals and society.

We take many things into account when we offer you a place on one of our courses. As well as your academic potential, we also look at factors which often prevent students from coming to university. We get these details from your UCAS application form. We look at your age, any disability you declare, if you have spent time in care, the area you live in, and the relative performance of the school you go to.

Based on these details, we will assign you points. These points may reduce the offer we make you and bring university within closer reach.

How we assign points

We assign a number of points for each of the factors we look at on your application. These points are then used to calculate a total. We assign points based on the following factors:

FactorPoints assigned
Where you live (Index of Multiple Deprivation) 1 point for the second lowest quintile; 2 points for the lowest.
Age (over 21 years old) 1 point
First in your family to study at university 1 point
Disability 1 point
Time in care 3 points
School or college performance data 1 point for the second lowest quintile; 2 points for the lowest.

How we make offers

Not all of our courses are part of the offer scheme. Foundation Year courses and Nursing are not included. Some other courses like Teacher Training, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Art and Design, Journalism, and Biosciences are dealt with in a different way. More details are below on what happens when you apply for one of these courses.

For all other courses, our Admissions team look at applications in the normal way. We consider your grades so far and your predicted grades. We also look at your personal statement and reference. We need all applicants to have an English Language GCSE at C or above (grade 4 in the new system) and to be predicted 80 UCAS tariff points or more.

Once we have assessed your application and made a total of points based on the factors in our offer scheme, you may be made an offer. Your points affect your offer as follows:

  • Applicants who receive 2 or 3 points will receive a reduced offer of 80 points.
  • Applicants who receive 4 or more points will receive an unconditional offer.

Applicants who do not receive a reduced or unconditional offer will not be at a disadvantage in terms of receiving an offer. This system is designed so that it will not put anyone at a disadvantage.

When we make you an offer of any type, this offer stands no matter what. We will not ask you to pick us as your firm choice to make your offer reduced or unconditional. You will be free to pick our offer as an insurance offer if you wish.

Courses excluded from the offer scheme

Our offer scheme works a bit differently for some subject areas. Each has its own assessment criteria. You can find details in the menu below.

If you apply to one of our Art and Design courses, you will be assessed against the published entry requirements for your course. You will also be invited to a portfolio review. You may receive an unconditional offer as a result.

Find out more about our Art and Design portfolio days.

If you apply for a Biosciences course and you have a total of 4 points or more on our contextual criteria, you will receive a reduced offer for your course. The offers are as follows.

CourseReduced offer
Applied Biosciences 80 UCAS points with a B in Biology (or equivalent)
Biomedical Science 80 UCAS points with a B in Biology or Chemistry (or equivalent)

If you apply to Journalism, we will assess you against the published entry requirements for the course. We may make you a conditional offer. When you receive this offer, we will invite you to visit us for an interview and activity day. You may then receive an unconditional offer as a result.

Find out more about our Journalism interview days.

If you apply for Occupational Therapy we will first assess you against the published entry requirements for the course. If you meet these requirements, we will then invite you to an interview.

If your interview is successful, and you have 4 or more points on our contextual criteria, you will receive a reduced offer for the course of 104 UCAS points. You will also require a complete Enhanced DBS and Medical.

If you apply for Physiotherapy we will first assess you against the published entry requirements for the course. If you meet these requirements, we will then invite you to an interview.

If your interview is successful, and you have 4 or more points on our contextual criteria, you will receive a reduced offer for the course. This reduced offer will be BBC, or 112 UCAS points from a minimum of three level 3 qualifications. You will also require a complete Enhanced DBS and Medical.

If you apply for Primary Education, we will first assess you against the published entry requirements for the course. If you meet these requirements, we will then invite you to an interview.

If your interview is successful, and you have 4 or more points on our contextual criteria, you will receive a reduced offer for the course of 96 UCAS points. You will also require a complete Enhanced DBS and Medical.

Details of our points system

We want to make our offer process as clear as possible.

Research has shown that lots of factors can make people less likely to attend higher education. This is especially true in cases where someone is affected by more than one factor.

You can read more about each of our criteria in the table below.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is the official measure of relative deprivation for small areas or neighbourhoods in England. There are separate indexes for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We use all of these indexes in our scheme to give the greatest possible coverage.

In the case of England, the IMD uses data from 2015. They rank each small area of England from 1 (most deprived) to 32,844 (least deprived).

The IMD combines information about 7 factors in each area to determine the overall score. Each factor is weighted to give the overall outcome. The factors and weightings are as follows:

  • Income Deprivation (22.5%)
  • Employment Deprivation (22.5%)
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation (13.5%)
  • Health Deprivation and Disability (13.5%)
  • Crime (9.3%)
  • Barriers to Housing and Services (9.3%)

You can find out more about the methodology for IMD and the way that they are formed in their Frequently Asked Questions document. You can download it here: Department for Communities and Local Government - English Indices of Deprivation 2015 Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 0.6MB)

We assess applicants using the postcode they give when they apply through UCAS.

At a national level the IMD results are put into 10 groups (deciles). For the purposes of our scheme, we convert this into 5 groups (quintiles) and look to see which group an applicant's postcode falls into. If the applicant's postcode falls into the lowest quintile (1) then 2 points are allocated. If the postcode falls into the second lowest (2) then 1 point is allocated.

You can see which IMD group your postcode is in using their lookup tool for English IMD values:

Research has shown the participation levels for students who wish to study later in their lives has dropped in recent years. The Office for Students has asked universities to work towards addressing this.

UCAS define a mature student as 'anyone over the age of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college'. Applicants who will be over 21 when they start their course will be allocated 1 point. Data on applicants' age when they start their course is taken from the UCAS form data we receive.

Research has shown that parental education can often affect how likely someone is to attend university. This is usually when combined with other factors.

We get this data from UCAS applications. Applicants are asked if their parents or guardians have attended higher education. Applicants can answer this question YES, NO (in which case 1 point would be allocated), or leave it blank.

We offer support for all applicants, in particular those who do not have experience of applying through UCAS.

When an applicant declares a disability on their UCAS form, 1 point will be allocated.

Applicants are advised by universities to declare their disability when they first apply. This means adjustments and support can be put in place before their studies start.

It is known that different disabilities can affect access to higher education in different ways. However, it is not possible to fairly establish a hierarchy based on disability, or to allocate varying point levels for different disabilities.

York St John has a full package of support that is offered to students with disabilities.

Applicants who have spent time in care are encouraged to disclose this on their UCAS forms and will be allocated 3 points if they do so.

York St John has a comprehensive package of support for care leavers once they register with us.

When applying through UCAS, applicants are asked to provide details of the school or college that they attend (or attended). This information is cross checked with a list of schools, provided by UCAS, that shows average tariff points per entry at that school, which is a useful measure of past school performance. The data comes directly through UCAS.

We look at the national data for schools and split it into 5 groups (quintiles). The quintile of schools with the lowest average are awarded 2 points and the group with the second lowest are awarded 1 point. Please see the gov.uk website for information about school performance.

Contact us

If you have questions about how we make offers, please contact our Admissions team and we will be happy to help.

Email: admissions@yorksj.ac.uk

Phone: 01904 876 598

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