So you've done better than you thought - which means you've got options

Adjustment, put simply, is the opposite of Clearing. Each year, some university applicants don’t do as well as they’d hoped in their A-levels and therefore miss out on their conditional offers. Others pass their exams with better results than expected. They may find themselves in the fortunate, but confusing, position of having not only met their conditional offers but exceeded them.

If you fall into this category, Adjustment provides you with an opportunity to reassess your options. You need to have paid the full Ucas application fee (you can top it up now if you only made a single application), and you need to have surpassed your expectations – which means, for example, getting AAA when you were offered AAB, or getting ABC (A in English) when your offer was BBC (B in English).

You cannot adjust your insurance choice. The Adjustment process as a whole runs from 18 to 31 August 2011 – but you, personally, will only get five days. Your individual Adjustment period starts when your conditional firm (CF) choice changes to unconditional firm (UF).

The period lasts for a maximum of five calendar days from then, even if those days include a weekend. The cut-off is 31 August, though, so if your Adjustment period doesn’t start until, say, 28 August, you’ll have less time to get everything sorted. Four days, to be exact.

Go to your Track “choices” page at to get the ball rolling. Click “Register for Adjustment” and then start contacting universities and colleges to see if they have suitable vacancies, and if they want to offer you a place. You can try for as many courses as you like, but you can only get one formal offer. Remember too that this system works like Clearing, which means places go quickly and that new ones regularly become available. Keep checking the vacancies. If you do not find a suitable place during Adjustment, your original choice stands.

Consider this process an optional bonus, and don’t feel pressured to change course if your original choice suits you down to the ground. Think about all aspects of university life, including accommodation and finance. These may be tricky to arrange at short notice. Is everything as suitable for you at your Adjustment location as at your original choices? If you accept an alternative place, you will be giving up your original confirmed place, so think carefully.

If, after careful consideration, you decide that you want to stick to your academic guns regardless of having exceeded your offer, that’s called a winwin situation.