The complexities of the UCAS application procedure undoubtedly have their casualties – those who don’t get the offers they want or indeed any offers at all, or who fail to meet the conditions of their offers. There are, however, procedures that help to marry students with suitable courses shortly before the beginning of the academic year. The mechanics of these processes, clearing and adjustment, are laid out in the UCAS website (ucas.com/clearing and ucas.com/adjustment)
The key point is that from July to September students can look for university courses through the clearing process. Lists of vacancies are published in the press or on the UCAS website, which is continually updated. Clearing requires the student to contact the course provider directly (usually by telephone) to see if the university will offer a place. The institution will need the student’s Clearing number, which he or she should be able to find in Track on the UCAS website.
Many students will enter clearing simply because they do not have an offer from a university or have not met the conditions of their offer. However, some will have met their offer but do not want to take it up. These students will have to ring the universities concerned and beg to be released before they can enter Clearing. The release may take up to 2 weeks to be processed, and therefore it is important for the student to make the request as soon as possible. Once the release has been processed, the student’s Clearing number will show, as usual, on Track.
Clearing usually involves the student approaching the university. However, it is possible to sign up wo on the with with UCAS for a service in which a maximum or five universities or colleges may telephone the student if he or she is if he or she is eligible for Clearing and they have a relevant course. Whichever procedure is used, it is vital for the student to consider their options carefully and creatively. It may be a good idea to explore the possibility of a new subject and in any case the student should do some preparation before approaching a university. Above all, he or she should think logically and systematically, and ideally visit the institution, before making a final decision. The advice of your schoolteachers should help you to negotiate this demanding and important process.
Students are eligible for Adjustment if they have achieved grades that are better than expected, exceeding the terms of their firm offer. Adjustment opens on results day and closes at the end of August, but students have just five days after their firm offer becomes unconditional to secure a place at an alternative university. After the five days, students are no longer eligible for Adjustment.
UCAS does not display information about Adjustment vacancies on their website, so students must contact individual universities themselves (and not all institutions accept applicants through this procedure). Once they have found a course that they would like to apply for, they must state their case. Although the student may have outstanding grades, they will still need to convince the admissions department that they have put sufficient thought into their new choice of course. Because there are no guarantees, students are advised not to let go of their unconditional offer, as it is possible that they may not find anything suitable through Adjustment. In addition, any bursaries or tuition fee discounts that they may have obtained could be at stake if they switch institutions. For many reasons, this decision must not be taken lightly!
As with Clearing, it is important for the student to receive accurate and sensitive advice from teachers at this vital time. At Ashbourne we are committed to providing all the support a student needs to enter the course that is right for him or her.