Well done! You have your grades and you have exceeded your grade offer for your firm university choice – amazing work. What happens if you want to apply to a different university or course with your higher grades? Adjustment is your answer.


What is Adjustment?

Adjustment is a relatively rarely used service offered by UCAS where students (like you!) who have exceeded their grade offers are able to contact different universities and ask if they would be considered for entry with their firm grades, rather than predictions. This route is ideal if you didn’t apply to your dream university due to your predicted grades but you have now met the university’s entry requirements.

Unlike Clearing (https://www.getmygrades.co.uk/university-clearing/) there is no list for Adjustment vacancies. Whether or not you Universities accept students through Adjustment is completely up to them, based on how many students have already made the grades for each particular course they offer. If some courses are full, they won’t accept students through Adjustment no matter how well you’ve done. In addition, not all universities accept candidates through Adjustment (such as Oxford or Cambridge – known as ‘Oxbridge’). However, if a university and course is in Clearing, that means they have vacancies that you can apply for!


What will happen to my current offer?

When you apply for access to Adjustment, your current firm university offer remains valid. It is only when you verbally agree to attend a different university that your first offer disappears. For this reason, be clear that you are only considering your options when ringing admissions lines. You can only hold one university place on UCAS at this point in the year, so DO NOT AGREE TO A TELEPHONE OFFER UNLESS YOU ARE 100% CERTAIN. If you were to agree to a verbal offer, you would lose your current firm choice and you can’t change back!


I want to apply for Adjustment. What do I need to do?

If you know Adjustment is a route for you to consider, register for Adjustment through UCAS Track (https://track.ucas.com/) before ringing any universities. This will be easy to do – the option should be given to you on Track if your universities have given you an unconditional firm offer and you have exceeded their grade requirements. Once you have registered for Adjustment, you will be given a Personal ID number which you will need to give to any universities you contact. Bear in mind that once you have registered, you only have five consecutive 24 hour periods from that point in which to apply through Adjustment.


Top Tip:

Before calling universities, write down three key reasons why you want to apply to their specific course as universities will want to know that you have considered your choice carefully.


When speaking to universities, be sure to ask whether you are guaranteed accommodation if you are given an offer through Adjustment, as you really will need somewhere to live during term time. If the university is unable to offer you accommodation in halls, it doesn’t mean you can’t go. Many Universities will arrange a Meet and Greet Day so you can meet other new students in your position and consider renting a house together. Either way, if they can’t offer you accommodation in halls then you’ll probably want to consider this when making your option.

Checklist for Adjustment phone conversations:

  • Be clear you are ringing to enquire after any potential vacancies on your chosen course.
  • Explain that you have exceeded your grade offer and you are considering Adjustment.
  • Ask about open days – do you have time to visit the university before having to make your final decision?
  • Ask about accommodation – are you guaranteed university-owned accommodation in your first year? What is the alternative if you are not?
  • If an offer is made to you, ask how long the offer is valid for before you need to make a decision.


A university has made me a telephone offer. What do I need to do?

If a university has the capacity to make you an offer, they will do so over the phone. It is at this point where you decide whether to accept the offer or not. As the university has your Personal ID, if you accept the offer the university will update your UCAS Track on your behalf, replacing your current unconditional firm offer with their university and course, which is why you can only accept one offer in Adjustment.

Remember to take all of the answers to the questions above into account before coming to a decision. Do your research into the options available to you to come to a conclusion. If you need extra support, talk to your Sixth Form/College Careers Advisor and family about your options.

Be aware that you only have until the 31st August before Adjustment closes, so make sure you make this a priority if you seriously want to consider it.


Don’t just apply for Adjustment if you’ve exceeded your grades. Apply for the right reasons.

It’s tempting to go for Adjustment just because you’ve done better than expected. Don’t forget, you probably spent a lot of time thinking about which universities and courses to apply to so don’t rush into a decision. Think carefully about why you didn’t apply for the university and course in the first place. If the answer is that you weren’t confident that you’d get the grades, Adjustment is probably right for you. However, there might be other reasons why you didn’t apply, and they won’t have magically gone away. Think about it carefully – there’s no need to panic as you’ve already got a firm offer!

Good luck!

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