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Adjustment and Clearing Explained

Find out all about what to do if your results are either better or worse that you were expecting with our quick adjustment and clearing guide

What is the adjustment process?

So, your results are better than you expected? Well done! But what should you do now? You could simply accept the place you’ve been offered at your first choice university. Alternatively, you could make the most of this unexpected good news and see if you can upgrade to a different course or university. This process is known as Adjustment. You’ll have to phone around alternative universities yourself, tell them your improved grades and see if any of them have a place available for you.

Adjustment can be accessed through the UCAS website from results day until 31st August 2014 and is available to those who paid the £23 application fee. If you only paid £12 because you only applied for one course, you will have to pay a further £12 to use Adjustment. If you decide to do so, head to the Track section of the UCAS website click on Adjustment and follow the instructions.

Clearing explained:

If you’ve started looking into the university application process, you may know about something called Clearing. Once you’ve applied for a place at university, you’ll receive a conditional offer of a place, based on your predicted grades. On results day, if you achieve those grades you’ll get a place at your chosen uni. If you don’t get the grades you need, don’t panic! All is not lost! Clearing is a process designed to help you find a place at an alternative university, possibly on a slightly different course.

UCAS clearing takes place between July and September. You can take advantage of the Clearing process if you’ve applied through UCAS for a place at university and you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You haven’t received any offers
  • You’ve declined all your offers or not responded by the agreed deadline
  • You haven’t got the grades required to confirm your conditional offer
  • You’ve turned down a course because the details have changed
  • You’ve only applied to one university and have been declined.
  • Your application was received after 30th June 2014

If you chose to apply to only one uni, on results day you can apply to other universities through Clearing for a £12 fee payable to UCAS. Course vacancies in Clearing are published on the UCAS website ( from mid-August until late-September.

The easiest thing to do is to check the Track section of the UCAS website which will tell you if you are eligible to enter Clearing. Look for the “Add Clearing Choice” button which will appear in the choices screen.

To find out about tariff points and all other things UCAS related visit our useful UCAS information page


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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