UCAS Adjustment 2021 | What You Need to Know

UCAS Adjustment gives students the opportunity to swap universities or courses. You shouldn’t get this mixed up with Clearing. UCAS Adjustment differs from Clearing as it is open to students who meet and exceed their predicted A Level results across all subjects and now meet other universities entry requirements.

When considering Adjustment ask yourself: 

‘If I knew I was going to get the grades I’ve received, would I have still picked this university or course?’

How Does Adjustment Work? 

To begin Adjustment, you’ll first have to register through UCAS Track. To register you’ll need to have exceeded your predicted grades. You will have five 24 hour slots to use Adjustment. This is normally from when your conditional firm changes to an unconditional firm on Track. 

You’ll need to use the search tool in UCAS to find out course details as there is no vacancy list. You will then need to contact the universities admissions office and give them your UCAS ID and inform them you’re applying through Adjustment. The uni will then check to ensure you’ve exceeded your predicted grades and they might then offer you a place. 

You will be eligible to apply through Adjustment if you meet and exceed expectations. For example, if you were predicted ABB but you receive AAB, you will then be able to apply through UCAS Adjustment. However, it’s worth taking into consideration that you will need to meet or exceed all predicted grades. For example, if you were predicted an A in Chemistry but got a B on results day then you won’t be able to enter Adjustment. 

If you have already accepted a course elsewhere without entering Adjustment then you will need to contact alternative universities directly and explain this to them. 

UCAS Adjustment

When Does Adjustment Open?

UCAS Adjustment opens on A Level Results Day on the 10th August and closes on the 18th August 2021. This year both Scotland and England will hold their A Level Results Day on the same day.

It’s completely your choice whether you want to go down the university Adjustment route or whether you’re happy to stick with the university and course you’ve already chosen. 

Although it can be competitive applying for an Adjustment course, remember that other students may not have met their entry requirements to be accepted into their firm and insurance university. 

If you’ve done better than expected and aren’t happy with your course then university Adjustment could be right for you. When entering Adjustment you really don’t have anything to lose but you could have everything to gain. 

If you don’t find anything through Adjustment then don’t worry, you can still keep your course gained on Results Day. You will only lose your UF (firm acceptance) choice if you confirm that you would like to go elsewhere. 

If, when you first applied, you decided to only choose one university option and then enter Adjustment, you’ll have to pay an additional £6 to apply for more UCAS Adjustment courses. 

Remember: you can only have one Adjustment choice so choose wisely!

If Adjustment ends and you still haven’t found anything for you, don’t panic! You’ll just keep your original university place. 

Top Tips for Applying Through Adjustment

There are lots of things to take into account when considering applying for a new course or university through Adjustment. Sue Edwards, who is the Careers Widening Participation Manager at Lancaster University shares the following tips,


Plan: Before results day- think about the universities that you took off your list because the grade requirements were higher than your predicted grades. Create a new list of possible universities and courses you might be interested in – include university phone numbers and course codes to make it easier on the day.


Don’t do it alone: use the support of others who can help you look at the decisions you have objectively e.g. Friends, family or your careers team.

Research: Have a check list of questions you want to ask so you can be sure that the university and the course are right for your e.g. ask about course content, the range of support services (including careers team!) accommodation, extra-curricular opportunities and anything else that is important to your university experience.

Prepare: for possible interviews, revisit your personal statement- just in case you are invited to chat to an admissions tutor for the course over the phone.


Make contact: ring the universities in order of preference. Consider having 2 phone lines in case you are on hold for a while.

Don’t Rush: You can hold multiple verbal offers, discuss your options with others. Your careers team will be especially useful.

Keep calm: You are in a great position. Do what is right for you.  if you have achieved the grades for your dream course and there are no places available this year- you can consider taking a year out and applying for entry in 2021.’ 

UCAS Adjustment Courses: Stick or Twist?

Unsure whether you should swap university courses or not? Just because can doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re happy with your firm university offer then don’t feel like you have to swap universities or courses. It completely optional and all about doing what is right for you. 

Talk through your options with your career advisers at sixth-form and discuss what you’re thinking with your friends and family. You’re surrounded by people who want to help you! 

Many universities also have Open Days available the weekend after Results Day so why not go and visit the ones you’re interested in? If this is not feasible, then lots of universities also offer Virtual Open Days so you can still find out more about the university and whether it’s right for you. It’s best not to jump right into it, explore your options and decide what is best for you. 

If you’re wondering whether Adjustment is really worth it then that all comes down to you and your career goals. Just because you’ve done really well, don’t let people pressurise you into it, if you don’t feel it’s right for you. It’s 100% your decision! 

If you feel Adjustment is right for you then fantastic! It can be a great way of finding a new and improved course or university which suits your excellent A Level Results.

What Do I Need to Do Now I Have Accepted an Offer Through Adjustment?

You’ve accepted an offer through Adjustment; that’s amazing! Now you need to get your head down and prepare! You’ll now need to consider new accommodation, bursaries, grants and so on. 

When you have swapped courses, you will receive a welcome pack from UCAS explaining what you need to do next. You should also make your Student Loan Company aware of the university or course change to prevent payment delays.

To be polite, it is also recommended that you contact your firm offer to let them know you won’t be attending but this isn’t a must. Anxious? Don’t be! They’ll welcome your honesty and courtesy.

How Does the UCAS System Work?

UCAS is an abbreviation of University and Colleges Admissions Services. It’s where university and most higher education colleges applications are managed. UCAS is vital to helping young people understand the options available to them when applying to university. 

The UCAS system offers plenty of advice not only on the whole application process but also on finance and support. You will find information based on:


The results are in and now it’s over to you to consider your options. This is a big decision so make sure it’s definitely what you want to do and pick your next steps wisely. And make sure you celebrate your amazing grades!

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