On Results Day – what if your grades are better than expected? Consider ‘Adjustment’

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 12:00 AM

What is Adjustment?

There has been a lot written about what you should do when your A-level results are lower than expected and you need to look for a uni place via Clearing: this is where you are matched up with universities with vacancies that will accept lower grades. But what if your results are BETTER than expected? For example if you achieved AAA rather than AAB? You may want to try and ‘trade up’ to a university that you originally discounted because you didn’t think you’d meet the required high grades. You can now do this officially through UCAS. This process is called ‘Adjustment’.

Register For Adjustment

If you have met and exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm first choice you are eligible to register with UCAS for Adjustment. You can find out the nitty-gritty of how Adjustment works by visiting the UCAS website . The window of opportunity for registering and researching is only between 13th and 31st August (make sure you understand how this works, it is very clear on the UCAS site), and you need to think carefully about whether or not you should do this.

Here’s the low-down on what to think about on results day, and how to plan ahead so you are prepared if you over-achieve.

On Results Day:

  1. You may have got better grades, but you may also be perfectly happy with your first choice uni anyway – so Adjustment is entirely optional. Don’t feel pressured into changing your uni, but at the same time it may be worth reviewing your options.
  2. If you decide to register for Adjustment you will NOT lose your original firm choice place, so if you are thinking about ‘upgrading’, you can take the time to research what is available without worrying that you may lose your offer.
  3. If you want to go through Adjustment, don’t delay. Those courses will get snapped up fast. Over 1000 people change course through Adjustment annually so don’t be the last in the queue.
  4. The highly competitive courses at the best universities are likely to be full, but some applicants may have fallen short of their conditional offers, or swapped to another course, so there may be last-minute vacancies.
  5. Unlike Clearing, there is no vacancy list for Adjustment (although you can look in the Clearing listings to see which unis have vacancies) – you’ll need to contact admissions offices at unis and colleges by phone to let them know you are going through Adjustment and you want to talk about possible vacancies
  6. When you talk to universities, be clear that you are just researching – do not accept an offer verbally unless you are absolutely sure you want it. As soon as you accept their offer your previous conditional firm offer will disappear.
  7. Your phone call is your interview. Be impressive!

Plan Ahead for Adjustment:

  1. If you felt you had done particularly well in the exams, it may be worth doing some research ahead of results day so that you are prepared for Adjustment: make a list of the necessary course details and phone numbers for your ‘top 10’.
  2. If you have not done so before, check on bestCourse4me.com and see which universities required students on your course to have achieved grades higher than you are anticipating.
  3. Were there universities that you didn’t apply to or who did not offer you a place that you were particularly keen on? Put them on your list to contact during Adjustment.
  4. A note of caution: universities are free to recruit as many students as they wish who achieve at least ABB. In theory, this means that if you score ABB or higher, a university is more likely to recruit you than previously. However, it also means that you will have more rivals who also wish to upgrade via Adjustment.

Decision Time:

  1. Be calm. Be rational. Do your research. Don’t stress.
  2. Make sure that you discuss adjustment opportunities with your school or college careers advisor and parents/guardians.
  3. Don’t be swayed to join friends at other unis, the course has to be right for YOU.
  4. You MUST consider other factors such as whether the ‘new’ course covers what you actually want to study, that there is accommodation availability, the costs of living at the new uni are manageable, what student finance will you need to be put in place, whether are you happy about the distance from home and so on.
  5. If you can, visit the uni you are considering upgrading to BEFORE results day.
  6. Don’t feel that you HAVE to upgrade. You made your first choice after careful deliberation: it may be that your first choice is THE ONE for you.

If you want some further advice, you can always call the Exam Results Helpline – 0808 100 8000. Explain you are considering Adjustment and they'll talk you through your options and comment impartially on your situation. They can’t help with course information but they can help you see your options more clearly.

Good luck, and fingers crossed for great results on 13th August!

There is also a great article in the Telegraph that gives more insights into Adjustment.


and also the Guardian


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