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Call for participants: university applications

Share your experiences of applying to University with a criminal record

The project so far

During the past two years, I have been working with Unlock as part of my PhD research exploring the impact of a criminal record on access to university.

As part of this research, I hope to speak with people with a criminal record to learn about their experience of applying to higher education in the United Kingdom. It is hoped that findings from this research will contribute to developing fairer admissions practices for those with criminal records.

A response to findings from an earlier phase of this research was to develop an interactive database. The database enables people to easily explore which universities ask applicants to disclose their criminal record during the admissions process.

Sharing your experiences

To help us to learn more about applicants’ experiences of applying to university with a criminal record, I am looking to speak to people with a criminal record who have:

  • Applied to a UK University since September 2018.
  • Applied to a non-regulated course (i.e. a course not involving placements with children or adults) at any UK university.
  • Completed their sentence (i.e. are no longer under probation supervision and are not currently serving a sentence within the criminal justice system.)

What will participating involve?

Participating in this project will involve taking part in a research interview, which would last for around an hour. I will ask you about your experiences of applying to university with a criminal record. We might discuss topics such as:

  • Your motivations for pursing a university degree.
  • How you researched universities and decided where to apply.
  • Your experience of applying to university with a criminal record.
  • If you are currently studying at university, your experiences of being a student.

How can I participate or learn more?

If you are interested in taking part in this research, please contact me at

Alternatively, you can register your interest using the short form here.

Once you have registered your interest, I will email you with further details about the research. You can then ask me any questions and decide if you would like to participate.


Written by:

PhD Researcher, University of Nottingham, School of Sociology and Social Policy


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Debbie Sadler
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