What is special consideration?
If you (or someone you are the primary carer for) experience short-term (four weeks or less) illness, injury or misadventure, that is beyond your control, that affects your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration. If your illness was pre-existing, you will need to show an exacerbation of the illness. An illness can be physical or mental.
Misadventure can include, but is not limited to, unexpected financial problems, family illness, recovering from bereavement, sexual harassment, a car accident or problems with a landlord. It does not include attending a wedding, an overseas trip, or other social events. If the University approves an application for special consideration they will give some flexibility in meeting assessment requirements, such as an extension or a further examination. They cannot give you extra marks. For some assessments (e.g., weekly class tests, tutorial participation, lab work), re-weighting or averaging might be granted. Even if there are no assessment tasks in tutorials you should apply for special consideration, or at least submit documentation (see below), in order to ensure you are not penalised for missing class, and you do not receive an Absent Fail grade. If you are still unwell, or experience another illness, injury, or misadventure, for a supplementary exam, you should apply again for special consideration providing new documentation. Where the faculty is unable to provide an additional supplementary assessment, you will be given a Discontinue Not Fail (DC) grade.
A simple extension is a 5 calendar day extension on an individual, non-exam assessment, such as in-class assessments, quizzes, and small tests. It is not available for exams, group assignments, or some “short release” take home tasks. You must apply through the Special Consideration Portal, on or before the assessment due date and provide a Student Declaration explaining why you want the simple extension. If you have followed the instructions correctly, approval is automatic. If you are still unable to complete the task after 5 (calendar) days, due to illness, injury or misadventure, you can apply for special consideration.
If your study is affected by important things that are not illness, injury or misadventure, you can apply for ‘special arrangements’. This includes, but is not limited to, jury duty, court summons, armed service, birth or adoption of a child, an essential religious commitment, sporting or cultural commitments where you are representing the University, state or nation, and in some cases essential employment. Again, this does not include attending a wedding, an overseas trip, or other social events. You will need to provide supporting documentation. For final exams, supporting documentation and necessary forms must be lodged no later than 14 days after the exam timetable is published.
If you have a long term (4 weeks or more) medical condition (physical or mental), you can apply for disability support. Disability Services can help you to create an academic plan to successfully complete your degree with any reasonable accommodations. Medical conditions that may be considered as a ‘disability’ include, but are not limited to, conditions listed in the Disability Discrimination Act (1992), as well as “temporary disabilities”, including broken limbs and pregnancy. If your disability becomes exacerbated around the time an assessment is due, even if you have a Disability Plan and have already been provided with a reasonable adjustment, you can still apply for special consideration.
You may wish to consider discontinuing from that subject. Check the SRC leaflet on discontinuing not failing (DC) for details.
Applying for special consideration
You must apply within three working days of the assessment. If you apply late, you will need to have a documented, compelling reason as to why they should consider your application. Late applications are not often accepted. Go to the Uni’s Special Consideration portal. Provide the appropriate supporting documentation, as outlined in the portal. Medical documentation (e.g., Professional Practitioner’s Certificates) must be from the day of or before the day of the assessment. If you cannot see your doctor on or before that day, use a home doctor service. Ensure, also, that the dates of your documentation include the dates of your assessment. Your medical documentation does not need to provide confidential information or a diagnosis, but could include a description of the things that you are unable to do, such as attend classes, leave bed, or sit up for longer than 10 minutes. If your medical documentation indicates that you were only moderately (or less) affected by your condition, it is unlikely that you will be given special consideration. Appropriate misadventure documentation varies according to the situation. You want to prove that what you say did happen and it did affect you and your studies. This might be a death certificate, letter from a hospital social worker, or police event number with contact details for the reporting officer. Where possible, get a PPC from a doctor or counsellor to show how you were affected by the misadventure. While it is possible to use a statutory declaration (written by you or someone close to you), it is generally not seen as effective as the other forms of documentation.
Delayed documents/documents not in English
If your supporting documents are not in English, you should submit what you have, while you get it translated by a certified translator. Alternatively, provide a translation as part of a statutory declaration, where you affirm that you have provided an accurate translation. The same applies if there is a delay in getting a supporting document. Explain this delay to the University before the deadline, and get the documents to them as soon as you can. The University is not obliged to wait for you to get the supporting documents organised.
You can appeal a rejected special consideration application, within 15 working days. In your appeal, address each of the problems that the Uni mentions. It may be helpful to get additional documentation. Seek advice from an SRC Caseworker.
If you are caught using false documentation (e.g., a medical certificate that you bought) or alter a legitimate document, you will not be granted special consideration, and will most likely be found to have committed academic misconduct, leading to your suspension or expulsion from the university. Your actions may also be reported to the police and you could face prosecution, as it is an act of fraud. Some students have also found that the person they bought it from has tried to blackmail them into paying more and more money over time. The SRC strongly advises against the use of false documentation.
Need more help or advice?
If you need more advice about your specific situation contact an SRC Caseworker by completing the contact form (below) or call 9660 5222 and our reception team will complete the contact form with you.
Caseworker Contact Form
This information does not constitute legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up-to-date information.
Information updated on 02/03/23 (SPCON)