Clearing and Adjustment – Everything you need to know

September 2, 2019

More than 30,000 courses became available through Ucas clearing last Thursday (15/08/2019). One in eight university entrants arrived through Clearing last year – a total of 66,700 students. This number is expected to rise this year with top grades dropping to the lowest proportion in over a decade. With universities more anxious than ever to fill their places, students have found themselves in incredibly strong positions this year, with many institutions still considering and looking for students. Ucas has made it easier for prospective students to switch courses even if they have already confirmed their place – previously students had to phone the university they had been accepted to to have their offer released. Students can now use Ucas Track to place themselves in Clearing.

Who can apply through clearing? Students who have not met their university offers, haven’t received any offers, have changed their mind about their chosen course or university, or students who have not applied at all can go through Clearing. Last year, 17,520 prospective students applied to universities directly through clearing.

How to apply through clearing? The Clearing process operates in its majority by phone and UCAS Track. Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas recommends: ‘Make sure you can explain [to universities] why you would like to take the degree in question and know a little about the curriculum, as well as about the university (…) Have your qualifications ready when you call universities directly’. Alternatively, students can sign up to Ucas’ direct contact services, where universities might call you to offer courses you might be interested in.

Do all universities offer clearing? It is important to note that although the majority of universities offer places through clearing, places at the upper end of the league table will be harder to find, especially for popular subjects.
The best advice for those who missed their grade is to contact universities as soon as possible, but to do not make any hasty decisions. Evaluate your alternatives. Many school-leavers choose to take a gap year after their studies, or decide to go into work with the possibility of going to university at a later date. It is also worth noting that more places become available in September and January for degree apprenticeships, based in the workplace but leading to a university qualification without the worry of fees to be repaid.

What is Adjustment? Students whose exams results were better than expected have the opportunity to seek other university offers through Adjustment. About 1,000 students each year use this service to move to different courses. You must call up universities to find out if they offer adjustment as an option.

Who can apply through adjustment? Students who wish to apply for Adjustment must have their original conditional firm accepted. They will also need to have achieved all grades requested by their firm offer, and at least one higher grade. For example, if you received an offer for BBC and achieved BBB you are eligible to go through Adjustment. Some universities will require a higher minimum grade performance (i.e. AAA). Students who accepted unconditional offers are not eligible to use this service.

How to apply through adjustment? Call universities you are interested in moving to. They will ask for your Ucas personal ID number to check you are eligible for Adjustment. You may be asked to send them an email confirming you want to move.

What is the difference between Adjustment and Clearing? One of the benefits of looking for other options through Adjustment is that your original confirmed offer will remain safe until you decide. Adjustment is a service for students who achieved better results than expected, whereas Clearing is a service for those whose results were lower than expected or have changed their minds completely about where they wish to study or have not yet made an application.