IMPORTANT: Deadlines for Show Cause and Exclusion are not negotiable. Please do not ignore them, as this will most likely lead to automatic exclusion. Talk to SRC caseworkers if you’d like help with your appeal
If you have been asked to Show Good Cause it is because the University is concerned you may not be able to complete your degree. They need you to explain to them how you are going to pass all of your subjects in the future. With this in mind, if you do not make significant changes to how you approach your studies the University will reasonably assume that you will most likely continue to fail subjects.
Your show cause letter is composed of three main sections – problems, effects, and solutions. It should talk about the entire time you have been studying. If there were semesters when you passed all of your subjects, briefly outline what was different at that time. Your letter is your formal response to the faculty. It is a serious reply to a serious situation. Put in some effort to writing the best letter that you can. Use the template that we have provided. SRC Caseworkers are happy to help by making suggested changes to your draft letter, but we will not write the letter for you.
Outline the things that were difficult for you. The University does not need to know every detail of every situation and this should not be the main point of your letter. Explain the basics of each problem so that they understand what you experienced. You will need to provide proof of these problems.
Explain how the problems you encountered affected your ability to study. Some examples include being unable to attend uni, not being able to concentrate in class, being very tired, missing deadlines etc. Do not assume that the faculty will understand what your problems are like for you.
This is by far the most important part of your letter. If you do not have plausible solutions it is likely that you will continue failing. Clearly link your solutions to the problems you have faced in the past or may face in the future. Saying that a problem has finished is not enough. Explain why you would not fail if it were to happen again. There are many examples of solutions that are available to students. Use whatever you think will best work for you. There are some things that every student could benefit from. This includes time management (see online module from the Learning Centre), study skills (see workshops and online resources from the Learning Centre), a plan to complete your degree (eg, outline of what subjects you will complete for each remaining semester), and an understanding of the University’s processes (special consideration, discontinue not fail, reduced study load). You will need to provide proof of these solutions.
Be clear and specific. Avoid general statements (e.g. “I will use the Learning Centre to improve my studies”). Explain how (e.g. online modules, one on one help from a learning advisor, attending a workshop?), what (e.g. what study skills/workshops?) and when (e.g. have you enrolled, booked an appointment or attended? What date?). For example, “I have enrolled in the Learning Centre’s workshop on writing essays on Monday 1st April. This will help me to complete essays before the due date, and gain better assessment marks”.
The documents you use as proof of problems or solutions need to be relevant to your situation. If it is not obvious why it is relevant you may need to provide extra information about the relevance of that document. For example, if you are talking about your mum being sick, have your proof focus on how you were affected by this. This might include documents such as doctor’s certificates, psychologist letters, police reports, or a study timetable. If you have no other proof you might want to include a statutory declaration such as a character reference or statement. This is usually not seen as a very strong document of proof. Where possible get one from someone else who knows about your situation, (e.g., parent, grandparent, or friend’s parent). Remember they can only talk about what they have observed or heard you say. They cannot talk about what you were feeling because this is not something they experienced.
If you are successful in your Show Good Cause appeal you will be permitted to continue studying as normal, often with conditions. This is why it is important that you keep attending class throughout the appeal process.
If you are not successful in your Show Good Cause appeal the Faculty will exclude you. You will then have the chance to appeal your Exclusion. If you are unsuccessful with that appeal, you may have the chance to appeal your Exclusion to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). This is dependent on whether you have taken sufficient steps towards ensuring you will pass each subject from now on. It is advisable to seek help from SRC Caseworkers for each of these appeals.
If you do not provide a Show Good Cause letter by the deadline the faculty will exclude you. You will have the opportunity to appeal the exclusion. If you do not submit an exclusion appeal you will be excluded for a minimum period of 2 years. After the exclusion period has been served re-admission is through an appeal to the Dean. There is no guarantee of re-admission.
There is no set length for a show cause letter. Take the time you need to explain your problems, effects and solutions clearly. If your letter is only half a page it’s unlikely you’ve included enough information to make a strong case to the faculty. The average Show Good Cause letter is around
2 – 3 pages.
After You’ve Written the Letter
If you would like an SRC Caseworker to make suggested changes send your draft letter in Word format (not as the body of an email) together with the documents of proof to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take up to three working days to get a response, so please send your draft well before the deadline.
Chances of Success
There is no formula or ratio for calculating show cause success rates. Your faculty is not actively seeking to exclude students. They consider every individual case on its merits, which is why your letter is so important.
You must continue attending class. If you are successful in your Show Good Cause letter you will continue with the rest of the semester as normal
If one of your solutions is to reduce your study load and you are an international student you will need to take some extra care. Talk to a student advisor in your faculty to get their permission to enrol in 18 credit points for the semester.
The SRC offers free advice through the Registered Migration Agent, Annie Zeng (MARN 1276171). Call the SRC on 9660 5222 to make an appointment to see her.
<Your name and SID>
<your street address>
<your suburb, NSW postcode>
<name of person you are writing to – check your show cause notice or write to the Associate Dean if you are unsure. Use their title, ie, Professor, Doctor, etc>
<faculty or school of …>
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
Dear <person’s title and name>,
I write to Show Good Cause as to why I should be allowed to continue studying a Bachelor of < … >. I have outlined below the difficulties I have faced since beginning my university studies, and your solutions to ensure that I will successfully complete my degree.
<Explain the problems you have faced and explain how those problems affected your study
<Outline the evidence of these problems, as attached>
<Explain the solutions that you have started using, or will use, to ensure that you will successfully complete your degree>
<outline any additional study skills that you will use throughout the rest of your degree.>
<Explain how you plan to complete your degree. As proof attach a table of the subjects you will complete in each of your remaining semesters.>
<Outline the evidence of these solutions, as attached>
<explain your commitment to the course, and what you will do with the degree when you are finished>
<sign your name here – you can scan in your signature and paste it as an image>
Information updated on 31.8.16 (SGC_31.8.16)