Clearing and adjustment

How clearing and adjustment work

So by the time you’re reading this you’ve most likely picked up your results, logged onto UCAS track and are either awash with relief or still just as stressed out as you were this morning.

If it’s the latter, then it could be because you may not have got the grades you needed to go to your first and insurance choice universities, and you’re considering entering clearing. Alternatively, you might have done much better than you expected, in which case its great news, but still comes hand in hand with a small amount of stress as you start considering adjustment.

Whichever it is, take a deep breath and don’t panic! You might just be in a much better position than you think.


If you've met and exceeded conditions for your firm choice, you might be thinking about looking for an alternative course. Adjustment is available from A-level results day until 31st August.

  • UCAS adjustment allows you to re-apply for different courses and different universities if you’ve done better than expected in your exams. You could go to a more competitive course or prestigious university for example. Talk through your thoughts with your family and others - but remember it’s your decision.
  • It’s important to remember why you put your first choice university down in the first place. Did the open day make you fall in love with the campus? Have you got the halls you really wanted already lined up? Think carefully before you change where you go to study.


If you had conditional offers but your exam results didn't go to plan, you can use clearing from results day. Clearing is available from July to September each year.

  • Going through clearing is nothing to be ashamed of. Universities are keen to fill their courses.
  • Check out all the listings before picking up the phone. There may be more than one course at the university you're calling that would suit you, so make sure you're armed with all the information to get the most out of each phone call. Research all your options before dialling.
  • Get ready to make the best impression. Take time before picking up the phone to make sure you have all your results to hand. Print out your UCAS personal statement and highlight the key points, so that you're prepared.
  • Don't just restrict yourself to universities. Further education colleges have some fantastic higher education opportunities, offering degrees and other qualifications validated by UK universities but taught close to home. 
  • Don't forget the practicalities. Consider the cost of living, accommodation choices and transport options. Campus versus city university? City centre versus rural outdoors?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re prepared and do your research, keep calm and remember, you’re in control. Best of luck!

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