Clearing Adjustment guide

With A-Level results being confirmed today, perhaps you didn’t get the grades and university place that you wanted, or are unsure if you chose the right course or uni in the first place. If so, our definitive guide to ‘Clearing’ and ‘Adjustment’ options will shine the light on a viable ‘Plan B’.


Clearing is a service for those who want to go to university but do not have any offers of a place from any university or college (whether that’s because they never received an offer in the first place or because they did not get the required grades in their A-Levels). The Clearing system identifies courses which still have available vacancies. The official UK list is available on the UCAS site.

So if you’re a prospective uni student with nowhere to go you should log into the UCAS site without delay to see if the status of your ‘Track’ reads “You are in Clearing” or “Clearing has started”. If so, you can then browse the Clearing list for available course places. Once you spot a course which you decide you want might apply for, first research it a little bit and then, if the course and institution check out OK, call them and make sure you have all of your qualifications to hand along with any other useful information which might aid your telephone ‘application’ (think of this as a possible ‘interview’ which you need to prepare for). Quite often the university in question will confirm there and then during the telephone conversation whether or not you will be accepted. If so you will later receive an email confirmation which also includes an acceptance deadline. Once you have received that you will need to go back into the UCAS site and refer yourself to the university via your Track. (Click “Add clearing choice”, fill in the relevant details in advance of the deadline mentioned in your confirmation email and, once submitted, that equates to you firmly accepting the offer). After this the university will be informed of your acceptance and will, in turn, confirm your place formally on your UCAS Track.


Adjustment is a little bit like Clearing but is for those who *do* have an unconditional firm offer from a university (“UF” status in Track) but who are having second thoughts about the course or university which they originally selected. It is an entirely optional service but can be useful to those who have a change of mind for one reason or another, or who want to see other potential options before it’s too late. It might even be that their results were better than expected and now they regret not applying for a university which they thought was out of reach originally. However, unlike with Clearing, Adjustment places are *not* listed on the UCAS site so students will need to check for availability of adjustment places with individual universities (whether via phone or website).

The good thing is that you can register for Adjustment in Track *without* losing your unconditional firm offer from your original university or institution. Be aware, though, that your original university will know that you have registered for Adjustment so it’s possible that they may enquire as to why – and what your plans are. However you will only lose that original offer if you confirm that you definitely want to go elsewhere and the new university in question accepts you formally via your UCAS Track (N.B. this action will remove your original university offer and this cannot be undone). But even if you register for Adjustment, if you don’t find anything suitable, so long as you had an unconditional firm offer originally and this has not been replaced by another offer through adjustment, you will still be able to keep that original place. If you’re quick you may find the course of your dreams is available after all because one or more of its original applicants failed to gain the grades they needed, so lost their place. But it’s first come first served so there is no time to lose (there is only a 5 day limit, maximum, from when your original application status first changed to ‘UF’ (unconditional) – however it can be less than that if this happens close to 31 August, which is the last possible date for Adjustment applications). There may be a small charge (£11) for Adjustment applications. However in some situations it will be free.

We hope that this guide by The Document Centre has been useful to students moving towards university imminently. It may be that students reading this become customers of The Document Centre in future years when they come to do their university thesis or ‘dissertation’ because we are a specialist in binding university theses (including a fully online service) as well as being a bespoke bookbinder and litho/digital printer supplying document printing and duplication throughout London, the UK and abroad.