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What is Adjustment?

What is Adjustment?

by Amy Cousins

Clearing and Adjustment give you another chance to find the best course for you. However, don’t get them mixed up, as the two UCAS services are very different. Read on to find out more.


UCAS has confirmed that Adjustment is not available for 2022 university applicants. However, if you wish to change universities at confirmation, you can use ‘Decline My Place’ to enter Clearing and, if you use Clearing Plus, you will be signposted to relevant universities with spaces whose entry requirements match your results.

What is the difference between Clearing and Adjustment?

Clearing is most commonly used by students who get lower results than expected. Some other criteria apply (see below) but generally speaking, if you don’t get the results you need for your firm or insurance choice universities, you’re eligible to use Clearing to find a place at university. You can find out more in our blog Clearing 2022 Explained.

If your results are higher than expected, Adjustment allows you to potentially ‘trade up’ and apply to a different university or course with higher entry requirements.


Am I eligible for UCAS Adjustment?

You need to have met or exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm offer to be eligible to go through Adjustment. For example, if your offer was for ABB, but you achieved AAB, you could use Adjustment to find a place at a different university or course.

Adjustment is an optional service, you don’t have to use it if your results are better than expected. If you’re happy with your firm offer and want to stick with it, that’s fine.

How does UCAS Adjustment work?

To use the UCAS Adjustment service, go to UCAS Track and click the ‘Register for Adjustment’ button on the choices screen. You’ll need to follow the on-screen instructions so universities can see your application.

Although Adjustment is available from A Level Results Day on Tuesday 10 August, until Wednesday 18 August, 2021, the amount of time you’ll have to find a new place is more limited.

Because you’ve met and exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm offer, you’ll see the status of that offer change to an unconditional firm in Track. It’s at that point that the clock starts ticking and you’ll have just five 24-hour slots (including weekends) to use Adjustment.

Unlike Clearing, there’s no UCAS compiled list of universities with course vacancies, so it’s very much up to you to contact the universities you’re interested in directly.

You’ll need to speak to admissions staff, give them your UCAS ID and tell them you’re applying through Adjustment. They’ll check you’ve met and exceeded your conditions and might then offer you a place.

Finally, think carefully before you accept – you can only accept one Adjustment offer.


Which universities can I apply to in Adjustment?

You can contact any university that’s taking part in Adjustment – even ones you weren’t successful in applying to the first time around.

As long as you meet the entry requirements of the new university and degree course and there are vacancies, you can see if it’s possible to change.

Do all universities take part in Adjustment?

Adjustment is offered through UCAS, but not all universities accept applications via this process.

For example, Oxford University doesn’t take part in Clearing or Adjustment, and only some courses with specific eligibility criteria are available at the University of Cambridge.

Make sure you check the individual website of the university you’re interested in before you enter Adjustment.

Will I lose my original university offer if I go through Adjustment?

This is the good bit about Adjustment – while you’re looking for a new place, your original firm offer is completely safe; you won’t lose it.

It’s only when you confirm that you want to accept a new offer and the new university adds themselves to your application, that your original firm offer will be automatically rejected and your Track screen updated with details of your new choice.

If you don’t find a different university or course you want to swap to within your five-day Adjustment window, you’ll still have your place at your original university.

What are the benefits of going through Adjustment?

In Adjustment, you don’t really have anything to lose and could have everything to gain, particularly if you weren’t completely happy with your original firm offer.

Although it is competitive, other students may not have met their entry requirements, so it can be worth seeing what’s available.

Is there a downside to using Adjustment?

Although it might sound like a fantastic opportunity to ‘trade up’ you need to be sure you’re swapping to a university and degree that’s right for you.

Think carefully about what your student experience will be like at your new university and check out the course content of the degree you’re changing to. Ask yourself if this is still what you want to study, and the environment you want to study in?

And bear in mind that if you change at this stage, any arrangements you’ve already got in place, such as accommodation, finance, scholarships or bursaries, will change too.

I’ve changed my mind, how do I cancel Adjustment?

If you haven’t accepted an offer you don’t have to do a thing – just let the Adjustment time period lapse.

Similarly, if you sign up for Adjustment by mistake, don’t worry; when the five-day period is over, your original place will still be there.

If you have accepted an offer through Adjustment and change your mind, you’ll have to contact the university to withdraw your application.

How can I prepare for Adjustment?

Do your research! If you think you might be eligible for Adjustment and want to go through the process, draw up a list of the universities you want to approach and the degrees you’re interested in before Results Day.

  • Keep your list short and focused on places you’re genuinely interested in and think you’ll be eligible for.
  • Find out as much as you can about each university: the student and academic experience; degree course content; student accommodation; scholarships and bursaries; transport links.
  • Prioritise your list, so you can contact your top choice straight away. Places will go quickly so you’ll need to act fast, but you also need to feel confident you’re making the right choice.
  • Review your personal statement – some universities might want to talk to you about your achievements, why you want to study with them, and why you are going through Adjustment.
  • Have your UCAS ID number ready.

And lastly, don’t feel pressured to go through Adjustment. Remember, it’s an optional service and you should only accept an Adjustment offer if you’re sure it’s the right decision for you.


We hope you’ve found this blog useful. For more information check out our Clearing and Adjustment web pages and don’t forget to sign up for our Clearing alerts and get all the support and advice you need straight to your inbox.