A Guide to UCAS Adjustment

What is Adjustment?

While Clearing tends to be associated with bad fortune, written on the other side of the coin is the word ‘Adjustment’.

It is a fact that every year various applicants pass their exams with better results than expected. For some, this may mean that they will have not only met the conditions of their firm choice, but will have exceeded them. This is where Adjustment comes in to play – providing an opportunity for students to reconsider upgrading where and what to study.

So if you’ve achieved better results than your firm offer, you now have the option to apply for another university with higher entry requirements – exciting news!

The realities of Adjustment


At this point, while there is always no harm in reviewing your options, we advise that you shouldn’t simply rush in to making a decision you perceive to be a better option, just because it ‘looks’ or ‘sounds’ better. You should remember that there was a reason why you applied to the current university course for which you hold an offer and that over the last year, you will have researched their chosen university in detail. You may have made friends through networking on social media sites, may have already sorted out accommodation offers and will have prepared yourself to move to your current chosen institution in a few weeks.

To change your mind and go to a slightly higher-ranked university may end up having unforeseen consequences and you may find yourself unhappy and dropping-out, only to reapply again next year. On the other hand, it could be the best decision you ever make!
Adjustment may be right for some students and not for others. This is the choice facing you and it’s a tough one!

But just remember, it doesn’t need to be. This option is a privilege and it may be best to imagine that it does not exist to give you peace of mind. The worst kind of thinking is found in what if’s and maybes.

By going through the Adjustment process, you will effectively need to repeat the whole application process you’ve just endured within the space of 5 days! So during this time we advise you, if you can, to:

– Go and visit the universities – many will have open weekends on 17th/18th August.

– Thoroughly review the course content to give your

– Do not become influenced by others around you

– If the whole thing is making you more unclear, consider taking a gap year to give yourself more time to make a key life-decision.

What is imperative for students to remember is that by going to university, they are committing to a £50,000+ purchase and their decision should not be made lightly.

What you need to do

If you want to use Adjustment, you will need to register in Track. The option to register will be displayed for all applicants whose place has been confirmed (status has changed from conditional firm (CF) to unconditional firm (UF)).

Important Note: You are only eligible if you have met and exceeded your original CF offer conditions – It will be up to the universities and colleges to verify this.

The only other condition is that the required monies have been paid on time. The applying fee is £23 for 2013. So if you only paid for one University choice when you originally applied, you will need to pay the extra £12 before being able to use the UCAS service.

After registering for Adjustment through UCAS track you will have five days after results day to find an alternative place. The nice part about this arrangement is that your original firm choice will still be held if you don’t find another university you like.

During this 5-day period, you should review the universities or colleges that you would like to apply to as in-depth as is possible and then follow the subsequent procedure:

1. Contact the university or college where you would like to find another place.

2. The institution will check that you exceed the conditions of your unconditional firm choice.

3. The institution will then inform you if they can offer you a place. In response, you will need to tell them whether you want to accept it.

4. If you are accepted through Adjustment, your Track screen will be updated with the new choice and UCAS will send you a confirmation letter.

Points to remember

– From the 15th August 2014, or from the period when your CF changes to UF (unconditional firm) choice, you will have 5 calendar days to seek out and register for an alternative course, if this is what you would like to do.

– Your Track screen displays the date and time that your Adjustment period will end.

– Course details and contact information for the universities and colleges can be found on the UCAS Course Search.

– You will need to contact admissions offices at universities and colleges direct to discuss possible vacancies and their entry requirements. There are no Adjustment vacancy lists.

– Once you get through to an admissions officer, make it clear that you wish to apply for Adjustment, as opposed to Clearing. If they would like to consider you, they will then ask for your UCAS Personal ID so that they can view your application.

– Lastly, adjustment is entirely optional. All things considered, nothing really beats the careful research you did before you made your application to find the right course in the first place. So, remember to think carefully – there is no guarantee there will be any vacancies on the course you decide you want to be considered for.