My name is Owen and I am a second year History and Politics student here at the University of York. In this short blog, I will talk about contextual offers and York. I’ll explain what they are, give my experience with having one and explain how it impacted me at York.
I’ll be honest, York was not where I initially planned on going to. I was going to play it safe and go to a closer university, Chichester. I’d visited it a few times and had gotten to know the head of the History department. I could really see myself going there, it just seemed like such a fit for me. I had applied to York at this time as well and was going up to see it before they made me an offer.
Nearly making the wrong choice
After visiting York I dropped all my talk of Chichester and realised I wanted to go here instead! I visited on a sunny day and the campus just looked beautiful. Greg’s Place was serene and the perfect place to have lunch. The bridges made the campus feel linked and navigable. Also, the large population of resident geese freely wandering about was a sight to see.
As well as the campus, it was the History taster lecture that sold York for me. They had such a varied department. I personally enjoy contemporary History and York has professors who share my interest. The entire department was very enthusiastic, and I related. After my open day visit, I knew York was where I wanted to go.
A little research confirmed my choice. York is a leading Russell Group University and was 6th in the country for History while I was applying. I liked how it was a relatively new university only being established in the 1960s as a part of the golden age of universities. I wanted to become a part of the future York is going to create.
Contextual offers and their genius
The wait for a response was tense. I had started to spread my intent to friends and family who now had expectations. UCAS does little to help, ominously emailing you that something has happened on your track and you must log on to see it. Eventually, one of these emails was York making me an offer, I had to get an ABB (with the A being in History) to get in. This struck me as very odd as the website had told me my course requirement was an AAA.
I’d been given a contextual offer! I had not been told that they existed even though I was a prime candidate for one. A contextual offer is when your offer made by the university is lowered, often by 2 grades, compared to what is advertised. Hence why I only had to get an ABB. The reason prospective students are given a contextual offer is that they are identified as having experienced socioeconomic disadvantages in their life or schooling. I personally think they are a great tool. It’s not a university thinking you’re lesser, it’s an acknowledgement of the difficulty that people are struggling with and are trying to overcome.
Me and my contextual offer
A contextual offer for me was a relief in some ways. It wasn’t that it wasn’t going to be any less hard but that if I did slip up in any way, I would still stand a chance of getting in. I appreciated that a university was considerate and understood the hardships I had faced throughout my life. The icing on the cake for me was the golden ticket York sends out when they make you an offer. It’s nice being told you’re exceptional! This was the only university I applied to that sent out this wholesome message.
When I arrived in York, I met plenty of people who had contextual offers. We all had a renewed confidence, that we had worked hard to get to York and were going to make the most of our time here.
I hope my experience is helpful. If you have had a contextual offer from York, congratulations! You’re an incredibly talented person who is on the right track to achieving your full potential. York will provide you with all the tools for success if you so choose to take them.