Is the Adjustment Period a waste of time? – Opinion Piece by Andy Gardner

Opinion from Andy Gardner JFS and LSU Schools and ICG HE Advisers Community Moderator

 So we have the introduction of this five-day period when applicants can supposedly trade up on what they already hold. For a range of opinions on this, go to this film from UCAS, which presents a very good balanced view in my opinion of what different admissions staff, feel about the adjustment period.

My concerns about the adjustment period are these:  All the evidence shows that schools and colleges tend to over-predict not under-predict, so numbers of applicants that will “do better” will in my experience be minimal.  However if an applicant thinks that they now have made a wrong choice and have found a vacancy that they can trade up to great!

Vacancies as a far as I know are not being kept to one side for the adjustment period.  It seems they can only trade up to vacancies that existed anyway.  So it seems a applicant that was predicted BBB and applied for something popular e.g. English, who then gets AAA will not be able to trade up to English at a highly selective university because it seems vacancies have not been set aside.  “If the adjustment period doesn’t apply for all courses, what’s the point!” This last point was made by one of my students at a Clearing and Confirmation talk just before they took their exams.

I’m willing to be proved wrong but the adjustment period in its present form looks of limited use.