Got much better A-Level results than you were expecting? Students who overachieve can change their choice of university using Adjustment on the UCAS site. But beware, it's a stressful process.

surprised girl

What does 'A' stand for?

What is UCAS Adjustment?

It’s a process that allows you to ‘switch’ universities if you got better A-Level results than expected. Doing this does not put your current uni offer at risk in any way.

Who’s eligible for Adjustment?

Only students who have met and/or exceeded the grades needed for their existing first choice university. If you’re having to re-think your plans because you’ve not got the grades you needed, see our Clearing article.

How long do I have to decide whether I want to Adjust?

Not long, unfortunately. Adjustment is available to apply for until 31st August 2017. To apply you only have FIVE days from the moment your Conditional Firm Offer (CF) turns into an Unconditional Firm Offer (UF) on your UCAS site. This usually happens on results day.

How does the Adjustment process work?

1) Your existing Conditional Firm Offer turns into an Unconditional Firm Offer on the UCAS site. This happens automatically if you get the results you needed.

2) You’ll see an option to register for Adjustment on your Track Choices page. Click on this to get registered and it will make your application visible to other universities.

3) Start calling universities with higher entry requirements. Annoyingly, unlike clearing, there are no vacancy lists for Adjustment, so you’ll have to contact the unis yourself to see what they have. Check university websites, but all the new spaces won’t be advertised, so it’s important to call them too.

4) Ring the admissions offices at places you’re interested in and tell them you’ve registered with Adjustment. Give them your personal ID. They’ll have a chat to you about the university and the course.

6) If they have a vacancy and you fit the requirements, they will offer you the place verbally. Be careful here – if you accept it, that’s it. You’ve changed your uni place permanently. Only accept the offer if you’re sure. It’s OK to ask for time to research everything and to say you’re just ‘information gathering’.

7) If you accept their offer, your Track screen will change and UCAS will send you a confirmation letter of your new place through the post. Hang on to this letter, it’s important.

What if I don’t find anywhere?

If you don’t find anywhere you like or that has places, your original firm offer will remain and you’ll go there.

Are there other alternatives?

If you fancy changing course completely, you can go through clearing. Or if you want to go somewhere that’s really competitive so there’s no places through Adjustment, you can take a gap year and reapply through UCAS next year with your new shiny grades.

Are there any downsides to Adjustment?

There are a few things to consider before you hit the register button:

1) It’s stressful! You’ll have a mad few days where you’re frantically calling places and trying to visit new universities. Prepare for constant what-the-heck-am-I-doing? moments. Also don’t let shock at your results talk you out of going to a university that you were initially very excited about and thought fitted you. The uni experience isn’t just about the prestige.

2) Unfortunately, Adjustment means you’re likely to get worse student accommodation. Student housing is usually allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so going through Adjustment could mean you don’t get into the best halls or flats.

3) It could affect your student loan coming through if your details change. Keep your bank up-to-date on what’s going on.

4) It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do Adjustment for courses that have a more rigorous entry process, like medicine.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


results day


Updated on 29-Sep-2015