A-level results 2015: Students know all about university Clearing, but what is Adjustment?

Which? University warns students: just because you're eligible to use Adjustment, doesn’t mean you should

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The Independent Online

While media coverage on Clearing in the run-up to A-level results day goes into overdrive, Adjustment hasn’t been getting the same amount of attention, despite just over 1,000 students going through the process last year.

If you’ve never heard of it, chances are you’re not alone – a quarter of the A-level students surveyed by Which? University said they were not aware they could use Adjustment to swap their firm choice for a place on a different course with higher entry requirements if they did better than expected in their exams.

So, that’s it: Adjustment is for those students who have performed better than they expected to in their assessments and want to change their final university course destination. If you’re thinking of using it, ask yourself these three questions:

1) Are you eligible for Adjustment?

Ucas Adjustment will kick-off on A-level results day tomorrow and students can apply to a course through the process if:

  • You’ve been accepted onto your firm choice and it’s now an unconditional firm choice.

  • You’ve exceeded the conditions of your firm offer – including subject-specific grade requirements.

  • So, for example, if your offer is for ABB, but you end up getting AAB, you could use Adjustment to potentially find a place at another university instead.

2) How does Adjustment work?

From tomorrow, students only have five days during which to take advantage of Adjustment, so acting fast is essential. The ‘trade-up’ system will officially end on 31 August, so remember to do the following:

  • Register for Adjustment in Track – While you hunt for a new place, your original firm choice will remain safe and will do unless you confirm you’d like to go elsewhere.

  • Unlike Clearing, there’s no vacancy list for Adjustment – You’ll need to check university websites and contact admissions offices at the university you’re interested in directly to discuss possible places. Have your personal ID number at-the-ready and tell them immediately you’re applying through Adjustment.

  • You can contact any university you like if you're using Adjustment – Even if it’s one that didn't accept your application the first-time round, although remember there is no guarantee they’ll have any spaces left.

3) To switch or not to switch?

Before jumping head-first into finding a course at a ‘better’ university, students should think carefully. Which? University’s Alex Neill warns those students who are thinking of using Adjustment not to use it just because the option is there.

Students should bear in mind that a lot of preparation has gone into where they currently are with their university choice: you’ve got a confirmed place at a, institution you’ve most likely visited and were excited about going to, you’ve looked into your course in detail, and you’ve got your student finance and accommodation sorted. Do you really want to go back to square one?

Using Adjustment isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, so be sure to do the following before charging-on ahead with it.

Mrs Neill adds: “If you’re searching for a ‘better’ course, remember to do your research, talk through your options with a careers adviser or teacher, and visit any university you’re interested in.

“Also, be prepared for the admin that will follow changing your choice, including arranging accommodation and finance.”

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