Whilst Clearing is often associated with a last-minute panic – either because a candidate hasn’t got their desired results, or because they’ve not yet had a university offer – Adjustment is more of an ‘upgrade’. Simply put, if you have exceeded your predicted grades, it might well be that you are eligible for a better university or more competitive course.
A-Level Results Day is not until August, so you may not want to jinx things by assessing your options. However, if you’re feeling quietly confident about your exam results, you may want to peruse your options now: the Adjustment process opens for just two weeks (and within that you get five 24 hour ‘windows’ in which to use the Adjustment option). Many competitive courses will already be full, and those with a few places will fill up quickly after A-Level Results Day, so planning ahead is strongly recommended.
If you’re thinking that you might want to use Adjustment to get on an alternative course, we’ve answered a few FAQs below, as well as giving some tips about the process.
The first, important thing to mention is that if you decide to ‘shop around’ you still retain your existing place – so there’s no worry about losing it whilst you research your options. Assuming that you’re eligible for Adjustment, you have five 24-hour windows in which to contact alternative universities and find out whether places are available on the relevant courses. If there are places up for grabs, and they decide to make you an offer, you will then have to decide whether to accept.
Remember that to be eligible for Adjustment you need to match every grade on your firm offer and exceed at least one of them. This would mean that, if you had an ABB offer, you’d need at least AAB in order to be eligible. Importantly, if you did better in some subjects but not in others you wouldn’t be eligible (for instance, if you got AAC instead of ABB): you have to achieve the required grades in all subjects, and do better than expected in at least one of those.
Before even entertaining the notion of Adjustment, it’s important to ask: do I want to make any changes? If you’re really happy with – and excited about – the university from which you’ve received your firm offer, making a change at this late stage might not be prudent. After all, by now you’ve probably spent a lot of time picturing life at your new place of study; you might be excited about the people you’ll meet there, from tutors to fellow students; and you’ve most likely got your accommodation and financials sorted (all of which would have to change if you switched universities).
However, if you were disappointed with your university choice – perhaps you were rejected from your first choice, or didn’t even apply because you weren’t confident about your grades – Adjustment might be a good option for you. If that’s the case, there are some steps you can take now to ensure that you’re prepared (which we’ll go through below).
1. Seek Advice
Changing course or university is a big decision, and you’ll want to be absolutely certain before you make any bold moves. Speak to everyone and anyone you can about the process: your tutor, school advisers, your parents, and friends. Getting lots of advice will help you work through how you feel, and the pros and cons of the decision, before crunch-time comes.
2. Look at Universities and Courses
It won’t be clear which universities are in Adjustment until A-Level Results day – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little bit of prep work in advance. Taking a good look at the universities that offered Adjustment places in 2018 would be a good start. At the same time, research the different courses at other universities and their entry requirements – if your grades exceed expectations, you may be eligible for a different course (one that you’re even more excited by).
3. Write a Script
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential universities and courses, you need to think about what you’ll actually do on Results Day. Competition will be stiff and the phones at universities are likely to be ringing off the hook, so you want to be clear and concise whenever you do get to speak to someone. Write a short, straight-to-the-point script with all your questions and have it ready on Results Day: that way, if you do decide to go for Adjustment, you won’t have to do any thinking on the spot.
4. Clear Your Diary in August
If you decide to consider Adjustment, you will need lots of available time to make the most of the two-week period (and your five 24-hour windows). In addition to all the phone calls you will need to make, you may also want to go visit some new universities: some institutions offer special open days for Clearing/Adjustment candidates, and it’s well worth going if you’ve never been before.