Read Mason's experience at the end...
An Adjustment place is a place that you apply for when you get better than expected A-Level results.
To qualify to use an Adjustment place, you need to have met and exceeded your results. Say your offer was for an A,B,B with an A in Chemistry, and you got an A,A,B, but your B was in Chemistry. You may have exceeded your results—you got two As and a B, which is better than the A and two Bs they asked for—but you didn't get that A in chemistry, so you haven't met your offer even though you've exceeded it. You not only need to get better grades, but you need to meet and exceed any individual conditions placed within your offer. I know that sounds a bit weird, but you have to exceed your targets if you're going to qualify to apply for an Adjustment place.
You do not have a lot of time to do this. You have five 24-hour periods from the time that your offer turns to an unconditional firm offer. That might not be on results day; it might be the day after, or there might be some confusion and it might be a couple of days later. You cannot rely on there being any good Adjustment places because loads of places are full and universities want full courses. They're not going to save places just in case someone better turns up on UCAS results day. You need to be looking through the UCAS website and seeing if there are any places that you might want to apply through Adjustment.
You should have some ideas already mapped out, but you cannot rely on there being any decent places this year just because last year some spaces came available through Clearing. Even though universities want to fill all their places, some people will unfortunately not have gotten the grades that they want, and those places will then be available to other people—people such as you, who have got better-than-expected results and applied for Adjustment. Your original offer—the one that has turned from a conditional firm into an unconditional firm—is safe while you look around. They're not going to take that away from you just because you're doing inquiries about Adjustment places. It is only gone once you have confirmed your new place. So, be really certain that you want to change your place because once you've confirmed your new place, your old place is gone.
The first thing you need to do is find the course you want, call up the university, and make it really clear to them you're looking for an Adjustment place. Give them your UCAS ID so they can log onto the system and find you. Tell them you are just looking around, that you just want information. You can call more than one place, but make it really clear to them that you haven't made up your mind yet. Once you have made up your mind (and remember, things are going to go really quickly, so spaces will fill up fast), call the university back and verbally confirm that you’d like the Adjustment place. They will then put it all through the UCAS system and it will change on the UCAS website for you. Only do this once you are very, very, very certain you want to change places.
This is an excellent situation to be in. It can be quite a stressful situation because you have to work quickly, but hopefully, some of you will get excellent new places from this.
I can’t deny how nervous I was for results day. This was possibly one of the biggest days of my life. In comparison to receiving my GCSE results, this was an entirely different experience. We had been told by our college tutor that on the morning of results day, we would be able to check our offers. This would be on the UCAS website under tracking. If our results were good, our offers would show up as unconditional offers. It may also show the offers as conditional or no offers at all, dependant on our results.
The first thing I literally did after waking up was attempt to log on and check my offers. The server however was far too busy and the offers weren't loading. My mum had to drag me away from the laptop as I was obsessively pressing the refresh button. She told me to relax and that I would know my results shortly after arriving at college. So we made our way to college. I spotted my friends who had eagerly been waiting for me. Everyone was so nervous. You could feel the trepidation in the air.
We made our way to queue, and it was beyond busy. My stomach was in knots as I was handed my envelope. I couldn't open it immediately; I needed a quiet place where I could open it. Peeling back that envelope is probably one the most nerve-racking things I have done so far. I couldn’t believe my results—they were so much better than I had expected or even wished for!
After phoning my family I went straight to my favourite tutor. She had always told me that she believed I could get better results than I was predicted. She immediately told me to check my UCAS (I had forgotten all about the offers by this point). I had unconditional offers! My tutor knew from our previous discussions that ideally I wanted to study a different course. Because I anticipated I wouldn’t get the results I needed for that course, I settled for a similar course. She told me immediately to register for Adjustment on the UCAS website and to speak to our college UCAS adviser.With Adjustment, I would be able to apply for a different course or even a different university whilst holding onto to my unconditional offer. This can only be done within five days. On the adviser’s advice, and not wanting to let this amazing opportunity pass, I rang the university to ask if they still had places available on the course that ideally I had wanted to study. They told me they did and talked me through the process. I could be notified at any time. The suspense was still killing me as I went out with my friends to celebrate. Luckily, it was only a few hours when I received an email telling me something had changed on my offers page. I checked and I had been accepted. I couldn’t believe it! Now I could finally relax!