Get ready to use Adjustment on A-level results day

Student girls on results day

Adjustment was a Ucas process that ran up until 2021 but has now been cancelled. As Adjustment no longer exists, the following article is just for reference.

A Ucas spokesperson says, “Adjustment will no longer be available from 2022 entry, but students who wish to change universities at confirmation can use ‘Decline My Place’ to enter Clearing and, if they use Clearing Plus, they will be signposted to relevant universities with spaces whose entry requirements match the student’s results.”

Adjustment could be your ticket to a better uni or a better course – if you're eligible.

When the Adjustment window opens (which, for most people, is on A-level results day) you only get five days before it shuts again. This means you'll have to be quick. And when you're making a decision that is literally life-changing, rushing into things is never a good idea.

So, if you're feeling bullish about your results, a bit of time spent thinking about Adjustment before it opens could be time well spent.

Student on phone

What's Adjustment then?

Adjustment is part of the Ucas uni application process. It's there to provide more choice to people who don't just get the grades they need for their firm offer, but actually do even better. So if you turn up on results day and find out you've smashed it, Adjustment could be for you.

If you're eligible, you get five days to ring around other unis to see if they have places available via Adjustment. If they do and they want to make you an offer, then it's up to you to decide whether to accept it. Once you do that, your uni choice will be updated for you on Track.

While you're ringing around, you retain your existing place – that doesn't get given up until you accept an Adjustment offer from another uni. It's a no-lose chance to do a bit of window shopping.

But don't forget: Adjustment is only open to those who have qualified for it. To be eligible, you need to hit every grade required by your firm offer and do better on at least one of them.

Let's say Bob got a firm offer of AAB, but ended up getting A*AC. He's not eligible for Adjustment. Why? Well, although that A* was good news, the C was below what he was offered. Therefore he didn't meet every part of his firm offer.

Vic, on the other hand, got a firm offer of ABB and ended up getting AAB, so he's eligible for Adjustment. Not only did Vic meet every part of his offer, he exceeded it.

University decisions

Is Adjustment for me?

When you're deciding whether to use Adjustment, the first question you need to ask yourself is: am I happy with my firm uni choice? The chances are, you probably are. You'll have done your research, gone along to an open day, applied for your accommodation and generally geared yourself up to spend the next three years at your chosen university.

If that's the case, you might not be interested in Adjustment – even if you do qualify. 

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. 

Whatever the reason, if you've got a niggling feeling that you might spend the next three years thinking, "I wish I'd gone to that other uni", Adjustment might help.

Researching universities

How do you get prepared for Adjustment?

If you wait until you know you're in Adjustment before you start to prepare, you're going to be making a lot of big decisions in a very short amount of time.

By thinking about it now, you can give yourself a headstart. Of course, your results might end up being not quite stellar enough – but you'll at least know you were prepared for all eventualities. Here's our checklist of how to make sure you're ready for Adjustment.

1. Be honest with yourself
How well do you really think you did in your exams? Remember, you'll need to have done better than what's required by your firm offer to even qualify for Adjustment. Work out the grades you're expecting and take another look at the grade requirements for the courses you're interested in. That way you'll have a good idea of the courses that might become available to you.

2. Research universities that might be in Adjustment
Until A-level results are announced, there's no way of knowing all the unis that will be in Adjustment. But you can take an educated guess. Have a search of the universities that definitely offered Adjustment places last year. You might reasonably expect them to be involved again this time around. There will certainly be other unis that are not on that list that will also be involved. Universities that definitely didn't offer Adjustment places last year include Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and LSE.

3. Look at the courses on offer at the universities you like
Do your homework on the courses available at other unis and ask yourself whether it's a better fit for you than the course you've already firmed. Take a look at the typical entry requirements - do you think you'll tick all the boxes needed to get a place on this course? Research the course content and make sure it's right for you. No two courses are identical.

4. Get involved in TSR's uni forums
There's an individual forum for every UK university on TSR. Find those you're interested in and join in the conversation. You'll be able to chat to current students and get more of a feel for what the uni is like. Some of our forums have official reps from that university and they'll be happy to answer your questions. 

Student accommodation

5. Look into accommodation
You'll be switching to a new uni at late notice, so all the spaces in halls might have gone. Do your research and see whether you can get advice from other students who have taken up a place at that uni at the last minute (again, our uni forums are ideal for this). Check your current firm uni's policy on repaying any accommodation deposits you might already have paid. 

6. Check your finances
If your firm uni is offering you a bursary or tuition fee discount, bear in mind that a place you get via Adjustment might not provide the same deal. Work out your finances and make sure you've got a list of finance-related questions to ask any potential Adjustment uni. 

7. Talk to someone who knows
Switching uni at this stage is a big call, so you'll want to get as much advice as possible. Talk to an adviser at school or college and get their thoughts on whether Adjustment might be right for you.

8. Get your questions sorted
Come results day, you're going to be competing with a lot of other students on the phone lines to the various universities. When you get through, you need to know exactly what to say - so spend some time now making a note of all the questions you want to ask. 

9. Clear the weekend after results day
Some universities run open days for Adjustment and Clearing students in the weekend immediately after A-level results day. Make sure you've got the time free to visit the uni you're looking at, if you can.

Go through the checklist above and, if you get brilliant results in August, you'll have all the information you need to decide whether Adjustment is right for you. Good luck!

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