Knowing your hard work paid off in your exams is one of the best feelings in the world! You did a great job and deserve to celebrate! Did you know that you can actually change your chosen university course to one with higher entry requirements if you want to? We’ve worked with the University of Portsmouth to give you the lowdown.
As of 2022, students can no longer use Adjustment. All students who want to change their university must use the Clearing portal.
What happens if you get higher results?
Unless you want it to, nothing will change if you get higher results than you were expecting. If you want to, and providing there are vacancies, you can change your course, your university, or both! Unlike in previous years, you choose a new course through Clearing.
Clearing is based on course vacancies after results day so don’t assume that competitive courses or universities are full; students who were offered a place on that course may not have met the conditions of entry, or also decided to go elsewhere—so if there was a course you wanted to apply for that was full or had higher entry requirements, now’s your chance to see if there’s a place for you!
Be aware that you can only accept one offer, so contact the place you want to go to the most first.
Should you always choose a new course?
Put simply, no. You shouldn’t change your course just because you achieved higher grades than you expected. Your university experience will be made up of so many things beyond the entry requirements for the course, and you need to choose the place that’s right for you and your needs. The top ranked university in the UK isn’t always the most suitable place for everyone.
Remember all those open days you went on and all the hours you agonised over those minute differences between course content and teaching style? Accepting a new place through Clearing means you might not have the time to visit universities, or spend hours comparing those courses. Remember the bigger picture here! You chose your firm and insurance choices because of their course content and the opportunities available. So, although a university you look at in Clearing may have higher entry requirements and rank higher in the league tables than your original choice, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will suit your interests better.
Getting in touch with universities to enquire doesn’t change your offers, so if you’re not sure, just call and have a chat with the team—the worst that can happen is that you spend 20 minutes on the phone and don't accept an offer!
How do you choose a new course or university?
When you start exploring options through Clearing, you need to do the same research as when you first applied to university—don’t cut corners.
Consider things like:
- Course content:
- Go to the course content page on the university website (you can do this from your shortlist on Unifrog’s UK universities or Clearing tools) and check that you actually want to study the areas of the subject on offer. You should compare the content page to your firm choice’s content page; make sure you’re not giving up the opportunity to study an aspect of the subject you love just to go to a higher ranked university.
- If you’re taking a practical course, check the balance of practice to theory and make sure it’s what you want.
- Opportunities and facilities:
- What opportunities are there at the new universities you’re looking at and how do these compare to your firm choice?
- If you’re taking a practical course, are the facilities better or more comprehensive at your new choices?
- Teaching and assessment style:
- Check the contact hours and assessment methods. If you like the idea of going into class often, you want a course with more contact hours regardless of the prestige of the university. Equally, check if the new course is assessed primarily through exams or coursework—you want to give yourself the best chance at being successful at university, so play to your strengths.
- How far are your new choices from home? Don’t travel miles away to go to a different university if you know that you made your original choices based on how close they are to home.
If you’re going to use league tables as part of your research, use subject league tables rather than generic ones to make sure you’re getting the right information for your course.
Chat with your family, friends, and teachers to help you sound out your thoughts, but remember that you are the one who has to study this course for three years, so make sure the choice to switch or not is yours rather than basing it on what other people think you should do.
How do you accept a new offer?
Don’t reject your firm choice straight away; once you reject your choice, you can’t get it back! Keep it live while you explore your options—if you don’t choose a new course, you'll still hold the place you had confirmed on results day. Bear in mind that rejecting your firm offer does not automatically allow you to access your insurance offer! The only way to get a new place is through Clearing.
Start off by getting in touch with the university’s admissions team to see if there are any vacancies on the course you’re interested in, and to check you meet the conditions. Even if you’re shy, you have to be the one to get in touch! Don’t rely on a family member; most universities will only offer a place if they’re speaking directly with the applicant.
Have your results and Personal Statement to hand, and tell the admissions team that you're applying through Clearing. If they give you an offer and you want to accept it, they will add themselves to your UCAS Track. You can only accept one offer, so contact universities in order of where you most want to go! You don’t need to decline your firm offer—the new university will sort out everything behind the scenes for you, and will send you a confirmation letter and registration information.
For more information on what to do next, check out our guide ‘Results day and Clearing: what should you do after you accept a place?’.
Whether you decide to use Clearing or not, congratulations on getting into university and we wish you the best of luck!
Good stuff from elsewhere
University of Portsmouth's Clearing page
More information about Clearing direct from the University of Portsmouth