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

student working at desk

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.”


So here's the perfect scenario: you pick up your exam results 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 achieved better-than-expected grades. Either way, you've got options, and they're called Clearing and Adjustment.

Let's take a look at which one might be right for you, and how you go about using it.

In a nutshell:

  • 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 higher 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 the unis to find out where you stand. There's no guarantee they will hold your place even if you miss your grades, but they might.

If you do find those offers are no longer available to you, then Clearing becomes an option. Clearing is for anyone who has 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.

It is also for anyone who does not wish to accept an offer they have received, for example if they have changed their mind about their firm or insurance choice.

Do yu have questions about Clearing? Read guides and chat to Ucas-trained advisers on the forums.

Get Clearing advice from the experts in this video from our sister site The Uni Guide.


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

This means matching every part of your firm offer and – in at least one instance – exceeding it.

For example, let's say your offer was BBB. If you achieve ABB, then you're eligible for Adjustment. You hit every grade and - in the case of that A - went one better. But if you get AAC, you won't be. Although you picked up a couple of grades with those As - the C is lower than your offer.

Adjustment is an opportunity to look around at other universities to see if there are better options, while keeping hold of the place that you've just earned.

And if you find somewhere you'd rather go, you can switch.

You get five days to use Adjustment. If you don't find a more suitable place, you can stick with your original firm choice.

Read our guide on getting ready to use Adjustment to find out more about Adjustment and whether it's the right choice for you.

Want to know more? In this video Sophie from the University of Sheffield explains how to apply through Clearing and Adjustment.

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