Clearing or Adjustment: find out which might be right for you

University Clearing, Adjustment and results day 2013

So here's the perfect scenario: you pick up your A-level results on Thursday and - bingo! - they're just what you need to get into your first choice uni. Nice one: all your hard work has paid off. Time to put your feet up for the rest of the summer and look forward to life as a fresher. 

But what if your results don't exactly match your offer? You might have slipped a little or, looking on the bright side, you might have done noticeably better than expected. In either case, you've got options: specifically Clearing and Adjustment. Let's take a look at which one might be right for you, and how you go about using it...

  • You might use Clearing if your grades have come out lower than your conditional firm and insurance uni offers
  • You might use Adjustment if your grades have come out better than your conditional firm uni offer

If your exam results don't stack up to your firm and insurance uni offers, you're bound to feel disappointed.

But you've still got plenty of options, not least with those original uni choices. If you log onto UCAS Track and see that one or both of your firm and insurance offers is still showing as conditional, you might not have missed out on that place after all.

Phone up those unis to find out where you stand. There's no guarantee, but they might hold open your place even if you have missed your grades.

If you do find those offers are no longer available to you, then Clearing becomes an option. Clearing is for anyone who's applied to uni through UCAS this year but who does not hold any offers from universities.

If that's you, you'll be able to tell you're officially in Clearing because you'll see your Clearing number on Track. Want to find out more? We've got a great guide that tells you everything you need to know about going through Clearing.

Read The Student Room's in-depth guide to Clearing

Adjustment is there for those who have done better than expected in their exams (by meeting and exceeding their firm offer).

If that's you, you'll have at least matched every part of your firm offer and - in at least one instance - exceeded it.

For example, let's say your offer was BBB. If you achieve ABB, then you're eligible for Adjustment. But if you get AAC, you're not.

What you get out of Adjustment is the opportunity to look around at other universities, while keeping hold of the place that you've just earned. If you find somewhere you'd rather go, you can switch.

It's a way for you to find out whether there are better options out there, now that you know your results.

You get five days to use Adjustment: if you can't find a better place, you can always stick with your original firm choice.

Find out more about Adjustment and whether it's the right choice for you