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

Teenager on bed with laptop, notebook and pen

So here's the perfect scenario: you pick up your A-level, SQA or IB 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 performed better than you expected. 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

Clearing

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.

Want to find out more? We've got a great guide that tells you everything you need to know about going through Clearing.

Read our in-depth guide to Clearing.

Adjustment

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 – 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 won't be.

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

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