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Ucas Adjustment explained

A-level results better than expected? You might be able to swap your existing uni place for one at another university through Ucas Adjustment. Here's how it works…

If things go well for you on results day, then you might find yourself with higher grades than you expected.

If you’re in love with your firm choice uni then you’re all set, but if you’re wondering what else is out there then it might be worth using Ucas Adjustment. It’s a route that could lead you to a place on a course with higher entry requirements.

Are you eligible for Adjustment?

Ucas Adjustment kicks off on A-level results day and gives you the chance to switch onto an alternative university or course should you wish to.

You can apply to a course through Adjustment if both of the following are true:

1. You’ve been accepted onto your firm choice and it’s now an unconditional firm choice.

2. You’ve exceeded the conditions of your firm offer, including subject-specific grade requirements. So, for example, if your offer is for ABB but you end up getting AAB, you could use Adjustment to potentially find a place at another uni instead. 

How Adjustment works 

You’ve only got five days from results day (or whenever your firm offer becomes unconditional) to use Adjustment, so you’ve got to act fast. The ‘trade up’ system officially ends on 18 August.
  • You can register for Adjustment in Track. While you hunt for a new place, your original firm choice remains safe – and will do so unless you confirm you’d like to go somewhere else.
  • Unlike Clearing, there’s no vacancy list for Adjustment, so you’ll need to check university websites and contact admissions offices at the university you’re interested in directly to discuss possible places. Have your personal ID number ready and tell them straight away that you're applying through Adjustment. 
  • You can contact any university you like if you're using Adjustment, even if it's one that didn't accept your application the first time round (although there’s no guarantee they’ll have any spaces).
  • If you're offered a place, have a think about it and then get back to them to confirm you'd like to take it.
  • Once you’ve decided to accept an offer and confirmed it with the uni, they will then update your Ucas Track screen, which will show that you're now swapped onto the new course. If you want time to think about an Adjustment offer, it's important to make sure the uni offering you that place understands this, because once the uni has put the offer on your Track, your original firm will be automatically cancelled, and you won't be able to change your mind.

Switch courses: do or don't? 

Before you dive in to find a course at a ‘better’ university, think carefully  – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

You've put in a lot of prep work to get to where you are now: you’ve got a confirmed place at a university you’ve most likely visited and were excited about going to; you’ve looked into your course in detail; you’ve got your student finance and accommodation sorted...

Basically, you've put a lot into this choice already. Are you really ready to turn your back and seek a place elsewhere so quickly?

You're probably a more obvious candidate for Adjustment if your firm uni choice wasn't where you really, really wanted to go. Maybe you got a rejection from your dream uni and ended up settling for one that seems almost as good. Maybe your predicted grades weren't high enough to enable you to apply to the one you really wanted.

How to decide

Using Adjustment isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, so if you can:
  • Chat through your options with a careers adviser or teacher on hand at results day.
  • Go and visit the universities you’re interested in if possible, or look for virtual open days if not. Be sure to ask lots of questions about the course too - it might vary from that at your original choice uni. 
  • Ask the universities about logistics – what are your accommodation options? How do you sort out your student finance?
  • ​Research the city.


If you have questions about how the pandemic could affect your uni application, then check out our video to find out what’s really going on.
 

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