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Everything you need to know about Ucas adjustment

Did you get better results on A-level results day than you were expecting? Use this guide to find out how you might be able to change your university using Ucas adjustment

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Joy Hunter

Student content curator
May 20 2021
A student's guide to adjustment


UCAS Adjustment is no longer available for the 2022 entry

If you’ve applied to study at a UK university and ended up with better grades than you expected, you might be wondering if you can still get a place on an alternative course or try to get into a different university.

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Ucas accommodates for this situation through Ucas adjustment, where students are offered the chance to reconsider their choice of where and what to study.

Below is a guide on everything you need to know about Ucas adjustment to help you decide whether it’s right for you.

How is Ucas adjustment different from Ucas clearing?

Ucas adjustment is different from clearing in two main ways. Ucas clearing is the tool students use if they did not receive the grades needed to enrol in their first-choice university. Adjustment is for students who achieved better grades than they expected or were predicted.

Adjustment offers students who have exceeded their offers the opportunity to try to gain a place at a university that requires higher grades than their firm choice. It is also available to students who have since changed their minds and would like to apply to an entirely different course.

Unlike clearing, Ucas does not automatically enter you into the adjustment process or provide a centralised search tool of courses for adjustment. Instead, students will have to contact universities individually to find out if there are any places available.

Who is eligible for Ucas adjustment?

There is no standard set of grades you must meet to be eligible for Ucas adjustment. Instead, anyone who has exceeded the entry requirements needed for their first-choice university is eligible. For example, if your firm choice requires 300 Ucas points but you achieved 320 Ucas points, you will be eligible.

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Which universities participate in Ucas adjustment?

The courses with places available through Ucas adjustment will vary every year depending on the number of offers universities have made and how many students have met the requirements within a given cohort.

Ucas adjustment is a much smaller process than Ucas clearing, and many competitive courses might not have places left to offer. Some of the top universities in the UK – such as UCL and the University of Oxford – do not participate at all in the adjustment process.

Other competitive institutions, including the University of Cambridge, do offer limited places on some courses through adjustment, but only students who applied to those courses and were previously rejected are eligible.

How do I apply for Ucas adjustment?

If you exceed the conditions of your offer on results day, the option to register for Ucas adjustment will become available on Ucas Track. Then, it’s up to you to contact the universities you are interested in to check if they have places available.

Because there isn’t a specific search tool of universities for adjustment, it might be useful to prepare in advance a list of universities you’d like to approach in adjustment and note their contact details.

Once you’ve registered for adjustment, you can then speak to as many universities as you like. Your original firm offer will remain secure while you shop around.

If another university does offer you a place and you accept, that university will add its offer to Ucas Track for you, and only then will your original firm offer be cancelled.

What are the deadlines for Ucas adjustment?

Ucas adjustment is available from A-level results day and will usually remain open for about a week.

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