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    Access to Harper

    Recognising potential – Our pledge to help you to access higher education

    Harper Adams University is committed to bringing fresh talent into the industries we serve, regardless of background. As a result, we have developed a range of measures and initiatives to give everyone the best chance to access our undergraduate degree programmes. The main feature of Access to Harper is our contextualised offer scheme.

    The aim of our Contextualised offer scheme is to make the University more accessible for those applicants who may not have previously thought that they were eligible to apply.

    What is a contextualised offer?

    Put simply, if you meet criteria below to show that you have experienced an element of disadvantage in your life and/or education so far, but we believe you could succeed with the right support, we will reduce our usual entry requirements, usually by one grade, to give you a better chance of securing your place to study at Harper Adams

    Am I eligible?

    To be eligible for a contextualised offer you must:

    • be a UK resident.


    • live in an area where it is either unusual to go to university, using a government database which determines Participation of Local Areas in higher education (POLAR 4) or it is socially or economically disadvantaged, using the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), for each postcode.


    • identify as a Care Leaver as indicated on your UCAS form. For more information about this, please contact Rachel Brookes.

    To find out if you are eligible for a contextualised offer complete the form on the link below and our Access Team will provide you with an individualised assessment.

    Check my eligibility  ❯

    Your UCAS application will be carefully checked by our Admissions Team to see if you qualify for a contextualised offer and you will be advised if this is the case in our offer communications. You are welcome to contact our Access Team if you have any questions about our work to support applicants and students from a wide range of backgrounds to make a successful application and maximise their potential once on-course.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What if I live in an area from which very few people go to university?

    Don’t let that put you off! We have access to a range of data to show us where you are from and what you might have faced. If you live in a low-participation neighbourhood (the official term for it) you could well be eligible for a reduced tariff offer.

    What if I have been in care/am about to leave care when I start university?

    We understand some of the challenges you might face, or anxieties you might have. Harper Adams is signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant and had made a range of commitments to support you. In addition to consideration for a contextualised offer, you will receive details of a named contact person to help with your transition to university.

    Access to Harper is for Harper Adams undergraduate degrees only.

    The 5 year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree at the Harper & Keele Veterinary School is not included in this scheme.

    How do the entry requirements change if I am eligible?

    All undergraduate programmes 1 grade drop from level 3 standard entry requirements
    Extended Degree Programme reduction of 1 GCSE grade from standard requirements (so 4 GCSEs at grade C/4 alongside Level 3 qualifications and 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 for those without level 3) must include English Language, Maths and a Science.
    Agriculture in addition to the 1 grade drop, will reduce GCSE requirements to 4 GCSEs at grade C/4 for Extended Diploma applicants (in line with standard A level requirements) (must include English Language, Maths and a Science.)


    Mature students

    If you are aged 21 and over, and are applying to university after some time out of education, we can support you to embark upon degree study to help you pursue your passion, advance your learning or change career entirely.

    We have adjusted our standard entry requirements to make them more accessible for mature applicants, by reducing the number of GCSEs required:

    All courses except EDP

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English Language, Maths and where required Science. (If Science is not required for the course then any third subject would be acceptable) Level 3 requirements must still be met.

    Extended Degree Programme (EDP)

    4 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including in English Language, Maths and Science for those with a level 3 qualification

    We welcome enquiries from mature applicants who do not meet our standard requirements, and will happily review CVs and make recommendations prior to formal application. For mature applicants, the Extended Degree programme may be a good way to get back into Higher education.

    Depending on prior relevant employment history, mature applicants may be exempt from completing the placement year, following assessment by the Course Manager, meaning that a degree can be completed in three years rather than four.


    Financial support towards attending interview sessions

    A small number of our courses (Agriculture, Engineering and Veterinary Physiotherapy and the Extended Degree Programmes) require applicants to participate in an advice and interview session. These events aim to ensure that the course you have chosen is absolutely right for you and your career ambitions. When these events take place in person, on site, we offer financial support, to help with travel costs, if you are a UK resident in receipt of free school meals or a Care Leaver.  When you are invited for an advice and interview session, you will also be invited to contact the Admissions team if you are in receipt of free school meals and the team will confirm the financial contribution that you will receive, based on your distance from the university campus. We also arrange to collect all applicants from Stafford train station, free of charge.

    Where an applicant is unable to travel to the campus when invited, even where financial assistance is available to them, we will be able to conduct interview and advice sessions over the phone or over video call. Any applicant in this position will not be at a disadvantage compared to others and their application will be considered in the same way.

    Further initiatives to help all students access study at Harper Adams

    • The Access to Agriculture Programme provides support for applicants of our Agriculture degrees with the requirements to gain 10 weeks work experience. Recognising the difficulty that some applicants may have in obtaining the 10 weeks practical work experience required for entry to Agriculture courses, Harper Adams is able to offer a point of contact to provide general advice and guidance on how to obtain relevant work experience. Please contact
    • The Engineering team will make more telephone advice and interview sessions available, as an alternative to in-person sessions.
    • Care Leavers will be provided with the contact of a named person to help with their transition to Harper Adams and they will be provided with details of the Care Leavers Covenant.
    • The Disrupted Studies Policy provides applicants who have faced additional problems during the course of their studies, the opportunity to submit information to enable the Admissions Team to make additional considerations at confirmation if they miss their offer. This would be beyond any extenuating circumstances submitted to the exam board by their school/college. Details of the policy and the relevant forms can be found in the Admissions Policy.
    • The Admissions Team will ensure that all applicants with a strong application will receive additional consideration at confirmation if they do not exactly meet the conditions of their offer (subject to places being available).

    Contact us

    For more information about support with interview costs, or any of our further initiatives please contact:

    Faccenda (Student Centre)
    +44 (0)1952 81 5000

    Care leavers

    Hear about a care leavers' experiences of going to university and the support available to care leavers.

    Watch video

    Access and Participation Plan

    Collectively, these initiatives form just a small part of our Access and Participation Plan. Through this Plan we have identified that we need to do more to actively encourage those from areas which are disadvantaged or where it is unusual to go to University, as well as those from a Black, Asian or other Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage, to study with us. In doing so, we hope to enrich the graduate Talent Pool for the industries we serve, as we have recently identified that students from these groups are not as well represented in the Harper Adams’ student community as we would like. Historic data is summarised below and provides the driver for us to ensure that, whatever their background, every applicant and every student who joins us is supported to succeed and reach their full potential. Our Access and Participation Plan 2020-25 sets out how we will achieve this.


    Transparency Information

    This workbook contains data tables relating to the attainment of 2021-22 qualifiers.

    Access the report

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