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Deadlines

Deadlines for Show Good Cause and Exclusion are not negotiable. Please do not ignore them. If you miss the Show Good Cause deadline it is likely that you will be excluded and need to submit that appeal instead. If you miss the Exclusion deadline, it is likely that you will be excluded and may not have an opportunity to appeal. If this has happened, seek help from an SRC caseworker, and get documented evidence to show why you were late. Exclusions are for a minimum of four semesters, and readmission is not automatic.

What Is Show Good Cause

If you have been asked to Show Good Cause it is because the University is concerned you will not be able to complete your degree. It is an opportunity for you to explain to them how you are going to pass all your units of study in the future. If you do not make significant changes to how you approach your studies, the University will reasonably assume that you will continue to fail units of study and will exclude you from your degree.

Before Writing Your Letter

Reflect on what changes you need, to pass all your units of study and complete your degree. If you are in the wrong course, consider other study options (other courses at this University, courses at other Universities, TAFEs, or colleges); work opportunities; or other activities. You can ask permission to discontinue the degree and not be excluded, as an exclusion will make it more difficult to get into some courses. You will need to make a request to discontinue your course before your Show Good Cause deadline. You should still submit a Show Good Cause letter and explain that you have requested to discontinue your course. Note that discontinuing from your degree is permanent and you will not be able to return to that degree without re-applying externally (e.g., UAC). If you need time off, consider suspending your studies or reducing your study load for a semester or two. It is better to enrol in two units of study and pass them both, than enrol in four and fail one. If you are on a Centrelink payment or a study visa, email an SRC Caseworker before reducing your study load.

Your Letter

Your letter contains three main sections – problems, effects, and solutions. Write about the entire time you have been studying, not just last semester. The Coursework Policy states that your Show Good Cause letter needs to explain:

  • the circumstances that have negatively affected your study performance (problems);
  • the specific effects or impacts of those circumstances on your study performance (effects);
  • your planned unit of study enrolments in each of your remaining semesters (a degree plan); and
  • the steps you have taken, or will take, to minimise any further negative impact of your circumstances (solutions).

We also recommend talking about how you will minimise the impact of any unforeseen circumstances in the future. For example, if you experience grief or anxiety you should speak to a counsellor; if you are too unwell to complete an assignment you should apply for special consideration; use time management techniques to manage your study load and personal commitments.

If you have previously been asked to Show Good Cause, you should:

  • summarise all of the problems you have experienced, including those you mentioned in your previous letter;
  • outline the solutions you proposed in your previous letter(s), and
  • explain why your solutions did not work.

Problems & Effects

Outline the things that caused you to fail then explain how they affected your ability to study at different times and in different subjects. For example, being unable to attend classes, not being able to concentrate in class, being very tired, missing deadlines, etc. You should not be focused on giving lots of detail of the illness, injury or misadventure, but rather give a clear explanation of the impact.

Solutions

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 each of the problems you have faced in the past or may face in the future. Saying that a problem is resolved is not enough. Avoid general statements like, “I will try harder”, or “I will use the Learning Hub to improve my studies”. Be specific, e.g., “I am enrolled in the Note Taking workshop on 1st March”; or I have completed the Learning Hub’s time management module. Explain why this is helpful, e.g., “this will help me to complete essays before the due date”. In addition, explain what other solutions are going to help you pass your units. This includes better time managementstudy skillsa degree plan, and an understanding of the University’s processes, including Special Consideration, Discontinue Not Fail, and a reduced study load. Talking to an academic advisor is always a good idea. It is helpful to engage in these solutions as soon as possible, to allow you to talk about the steps you have already taken, rather than giving a vague idea of what you might do in the future.

Proof

Attach evidence or proof of your problems, the effects, and your solutions. Remember that way the problem affected you is most important. For example, if you missed classes because your mother was sick, you might need a doctor’s certificate to show not only that your mother was sick, but also you were her primary carer or were emotional affected by her illness. Proof might include documents such as Professional Practitioner’s Certificates, 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 or Student Declaration from you and someone who knows about your situation, (e.g., parent, grandparent, or friend’s parent), that affirms that what you have said is true. 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.

Your Draft Letter

Send your letter in a Word document to help@src.usyd.edu.au if you would like an SRC caseworker to give you some feedback. It is also helpful if you send a screenshot of your academic transcript (entire degree not just this semester) and any documents of proof. You can also book an appointment (9660 5222) to speak to a caseworker about your situation. As this is a very busy period, it may take up to three working days to get a response, so please send your draft well before the deadline.

Attending Class

While waiting for the outcome, continue attending class and completing assessments. If you are successful in your Show Good Cause letter you will continue with the rest of the semester as normal.

Outcomes

It is important that you enrol for the semester and continue attending classes until you receive an outcome. There are three possible outcomes:

  • you have shown good cause
  • you have not shown good cause and will be excluded
  • you have not shown good cause but can re-enrol with conditions.
  1. You did show good cause

The Faculty are convinced that you will be able to successfully complete your degree and will not fail any more units of study. If you pass all your units of study for two consecutive semesters, you will be taken off the progression register.

  1. You have not shown good cause and will be excluded

The Faculty do not believe that you are able to successfully complete your degree and will exclude you. You can appeal your exclusion, by writing to the Associate Dean. The outcome letter should list the reasons your Show Good Cause letter was rejected, so address each of these in your appeal. If your exclusion appeal is not successful, you might be able to appeal that decision to the Student Affairs Body. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the Faculty’s decision, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal. SAB appeals should be submitted online.

  1. You have not shown good cause but can re-enrol with conditions

The Faculty believe that you might be able to successfully complete your degree provided you abide by the conditions they specify. These include:

  • passing a unit of study within a specified time;
  • not enrolling in a specific unit of study;
  • meeting with a specific member of the Faculty; or
  • limiting the maximum number of credit points that you can attempt in a particular semester.

To appeal the conditions for re-enrolment, apply for a review to the Faculty/School. Explain how the solutions you outlined in your Show Good Cause letter will ensure that you pass all of your subjects without having to follow the Faculty’s conditions. It can be difficult to successfully appeal conditions of re-enrolment, so we encourage you to talk to an SRC Caseworker for advice. You have 20 working days to submit this request. If you are not happy with the outcome of your review, the final level of appeal is to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the Faculty’s decision, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal. SAB appeals should be submitted online.

Appealing A Decision Not To Re-Admit You Following (Four Semesters Of) Exclusion

If you have been excluded from your degree, you need to serve the minimum exclusion period of four semesters. Readmission is not automatic but can be gained by applying to the Associate Dean. In this application explain:

  • how the problems that you experienced in your previous semesters have now been resolved
  • that you have a good understanding of how to deal with any future problems you might encounter while studying
  • any work or study that you completed during the exclusion period, and how that will help you to successfully complete your degree
  • how you have improved your skills as a student, including time management, note taking, essay writing, etc.

If your application for readmission is not successful you can appeal to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the Faculty’s decision, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal. SAB appeals should be submitted online.


Some Helpful Resources

ACADEMIC ADVISORS: Each faculty has academic advisors who can provide you with degree specific advice on how to structure the remainder of your degree, whether you should consider changing your major, and how many credit points you should consider enrolling in.

LEARNING HUB: The Learning Hub helps you to develop learning and study skills through individual appointments, group workshops, and online resources. There is also a Maths Learning Hub to help you develop the maths skills you need for your course. They have resources and modules available online, individual appointments, workshops, and bringing Maths and Statistics courses.

PEER ASSISTED STUDY SESSIONS: The Business School provides an hour long session each week in a small group setting to reinforce lecture and tutorials in specific units of study.

FASS WRITING HUB: The Writing Hub helps FASS students through each stage of the writing process, including interpreting essay questions, developing ideas, and understanding how to reference correctly.

STUDENT COUNSELLING SERVICE: The Student Counselling Service offers individual counselling and self-help resources to help you to develop strategies to minimise the impact of issues that affect your mental wellbeing. This service is completely confidential. There are also many other community resources that you might want to consider, including Headspace, Reach Out, Beyond Blue, Head to Health, and Talk Campus.

DISABILITY SERVICES UNIT: Students with a disability, long term injury or illness, or primary carer’s responsibility for someone with a disability can gain access to adjustments and services that can help them to succeed in their studies. Disabilities include physical or mental illnesses or conditions, as well as learning difficulties.

PEER SUPPORT ADVISORS: The students have been trained to assist with a range of enquiries ranging from what support services are available to you through to social activities you might enjoy. You can contact them through a live chat or through a scheduled zoom meeting.


LETTER TEMPLATE

<Your name and SID>

<date>

Dear Faculty,

Explain why you are writing: E.g., “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 the solutions I am using to ensure that I will successfully complete my degree.”

Outline the problems you have faced in each semester you have been at uni and how they affected your ability to pass.

If you have previously shown good cause, explain whether the circumstances that have been impacting your studies are the same, or different. Explain why any previous strategies to address these problems have not been effective.

Detail the solutions you have already begun to use to address any of the problems you experienced.

Detail the solutions you will use for each of the problems you experienced.

Outline the additional things you will do to ensure that you are a successful student, e.g., workshops from the Learning Hub, completed the time management module, reduced study load.

Explain the strategy you will use to monitor and maintain your academic progress, e.g., meet with an academic advisor each semester.

Explain why you have a commitment to the course, and what you will do with the degree when you are finished.

Yours sincerely,

<sign your name>

<Your name>

<SID>


Information updated on 26 July, 2022

Important Notice and Disclaimer: 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.