The table below details the widening access criteria that the University will consider when making an Adjusted or Access Threshold Offer. 

Applicants should note that the list is not exhaustive and the University may consider other criteria under its Contextual Admissions and Access Thresholds Policy

SIMD 20 or SIMD 40 (Scotland)

You can check if your home postcode is in a SIMD 20 (Quintile 1) or SIMD 40 (Quintile 2) postcode on the Scottish Government website

To check your postcode please download and open the Postcode to SIMD rank (8MB) Excel file. Type your postcode into the column called Enter your postcode below. Then look under the column called SIMD 16 quintile – if you are in an SIMD 20 area it will show a number 1 and if you are in an SIMD 40 area it will show a number 2.

If you have any difficulties in determining if your postcode is in a SIMD 20 (Quintile 1) or SIMD 40 (Quintile 2) area please contact the University’s Widening Access team

POLAR 4 Quintile 1 (Rest of UK)

You can check if your home postcode is a POLAR 4 Quintile 1 (Rest of UK) postcode area at the Higher Education Funding Council for England website

Please type your postcode into the box titled Enter postcode. You will then be told which quintile your postcode is in.

Care experienced students

If someone has, at some point in their lives, been cared for by their local authority and the state then they can be said to be Care Experienced. This can include anyone who has been in residential care (i.e. a Childrens Home), anyone who has been in Foster Care (i.e. living with a foster family), someone who has been adopted and anyone who has been in the care of the local authority in their own home (i.e. under a statutory care / protection order).

If this description applies to you please check the appropriate box on your online UCAS form to say that you have experience of being in care. You can also inform us by mentioning it in your UCAS personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).

Scottish Low Progression School

To check if you attend a Scottish Low Progression Secondary School please refer to the list of target schools.  

Remote & Rural Area

You can check if your home address is in one of these target areas by visiting the urban rural classification webpages on the Scottish Government website

The site contains a downloadable map that shows where each of these different areas are in Scotland.

The site also contains a downloadable look-up file that you can use to check if your postcode / home address is in one of the target areas. 

Other widening access categories

What follows is a list of definitions and other information that you can use to check if you meet the other widening access criteria: 

  • Unpaid Caring Role: “A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support” (Carers Trust). If you provide an unpaid caring role please tell us about this in your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents). 
  • Estranged Students: Applicants and Students who have no contact, and receive no support, from their families are referred to as being “Estranged”. Applicants and students, in order to qualify under this criteria, will have to have been estranged from their families for a sustained period of time (at least a 12 month period). They will also have to be expecting to receive no support from their extended family during their time at University. Please let us know if you meet this criteria in either your personal statement or in a supplementary document (please see more information below on supplementary documents). 
  • Gypsy, Roma or Travelling Community: If you identify as belonging to the Gypsy, Roma or Travelling Community please let us know in your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents). Please note that although you can self-identify as coming from a Gypsy, Roma or Travelling Community in the Equality and Diversity section of your UCAS form, the University does not receive this information during the recruitment cycle. Therefore it is essential that if you wish this information to be considered as part of your application that you inform us using one of the methods described above.
  • First generation in family to attend University: If neither of your parents have attended a University (either as school leavers or mature students) then you will be classified as “first in family” or “first generation”. Please let us know if you meet this criteria in either your personal statement or in a supplementary document (please see more information below on supplementary documents). 
  • Free school meal entitlement:  If you were in receipt of free school whilst you were at secondary school then please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Education Maintenance Allowance: If you were in receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance, whilst you were at secondary school, then please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Mental Health Issues: If a personal Mental Health issue has impacted negatively on your education in the senior phase (or throughout the majority of your secondary education) then please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Physical Health Issue: If a personal Physical Health issue has impacted negatively on your education in the senior phase (or throughout the majority of your secondary education) then please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Refugee / Asylum status (Scottish/ EU fee status): If you have been granted Refugee / Asylum status (and you meet the criteria for Home Fees (Scottish / EU)) then please indicate this in your UCAS application form. If you have any questions about your current residential status please contact the Admissions team on ugadmissions@abdn.ac.uk.
  • Refugee / Asylum status ( Rest of UK fee status): If you have been granted Refugee / Asylum status (and you meet the criteria for Rest of UK fees) then please indicate this in your UCAS application form. If you have any questions about your current residential status please contact the Admissions team on ugadmissions@abdn.ac.uk.
  • Applicants whose parent(s) have had a custodial sentence: If either of your parents had (or have a current) custodial sentence then please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Applicants who have parents in British Military Service: If either of your parents have been (or are still) in British Military Service please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents).
  • Applicants who have been in British Military Service: If you have had a period of British Military Service (Veterans / Early Service Leavers) please let us know in either your personal statement or via a supplementary document (please see below for more information on supplementary documents). 
Supplementary documents

Please note that the University can only check if an applicant meets some of the criteria listed above using the information that is supplied in the UCAS form. Therefore where possible applicants should include information about any circumstances they would like to highlight in their Personal Statement or alternatively ask their referee to include relevant information in the Reference.

If an applicant cannot include contextual information in the personal statement, they can send a separate document, which details these circumstances, to the University’s Admissions Service. Any additional information, which is supplied to the University in a clear and timely manner, will be considered alongside the main application.

Applicants must include their full name and UCAS ID number in all correspondence with the University. 

We would ask where possible, referees mention and verify if an applicant meets one or more of the Widening Participation criteria in their UCAS reference. 

If you have any questions about supplementary documents, personal statements or references please contact the Widening Participation team.