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What does King's College London mean by care experienced?

The legal definition of a care leaver is someone who has been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14, and was in care on their 16th birthday. Public care includes but is not limit to:

  • foster care
  • semi-independent living
  • residential care homes.

It does not include care workers or applicants who have been involved solely in the provision of care.

However, at King’s College London we recognise that any time spent in local authority care can have a significant impact on educational opportunities and outcomes, and therefore provide pre-entry and on-course support to students who have spent any time in local authority care. King's has been accredited with the Buttle UK Quality Mark for Care Leavers, which is awarded to colleges and universities who go the extra mile in supporting care experienced students.

View our guide for Care Experienced Students

Disclosing care leaver status

In order to access the support available we strongly encourage students to disclose that they have been in care and any extenuating circumstances. For more information on mitigating circumstances and the process please visit: Mitigating circumstances and the admissions process.

This information can be used in providing context when making admissions decisions but also ensures we provide the right financial, academic and personal support.  We don’t need to know why a student has been in care or any other detail and we do understand that some students see university as a new start and may be reluctant to let the university know. However, this information will never be used against a student.  To disclose their care leaver status students should:

  • Tick the Care Leaver box on the UCAS application form
  • Say they are care experienced on their personal statement
  • Ensure the teacher reference gives additional information and provides context
  • If needed fill in the Mitigating Circumstances form  

Additional admissions consideration for care-experienced applicants

If you are care-experienced and applying to study at King’s, we strongly advise you to disclose this on your UCAS application form. This will allow admissions staff to take your circumstances into consideration and will not have a negative impact on your application.

We also advise teachers to ensure this information is included in their student’s reference. It is helpful if this can inform universities of how long and how recently you were in care.

UCAS have put together a really useful video explaining how to disclose your care experience on the application form, as well as the benefits of doing so.

King’s has a competitive admissions process and most programmes have many more applications than places.  Additional consideration for care experienced students varies from course to course. Some examples of the ways in which additional consideration is given are described below:

  • Students whose predicted grades are marginally lower than that required for the course may be given an offer (at the standard level)
  • Students whose application is considered as being close to the standard required to gain an interview may be offered an interview
  • Students whose admissions test score is considered as being close to the required standard might be given an offer or interview
  • Students who narrowly fail to meet their conditional offer will be given additional consideration as to whether their place should be confirmed.

In addition to the above, if we are aware of an applicant’s care-experienced status, the Associate Director of Admissions and the Associate Director of Widening Participation will review every care experienced student’s application before an unsuccessful decision is made.

King’s does not make lower or variable offers to care experienced students; however, they may be eligible to apply for our Enhanced Support Dentistry Programme and Extended Medical Degree Programme. The entrance requirements for these courses are lower than our standard entry Dentistry and Medicine programmes.


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