Academic Rights: Extenuating Circumstances.

WHAT ARE EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES?

These count as instances or issues which are outside of your control, and which may temporarily prevent you from undertaking an assessment, or have a significant detrimental impact on your ability to undertake an assessment to the standard normally expected. Extenuating circumstances are things that are outside of your control as they are unforeseeable and unpreventable.

The College has the ability to make allowances for when such circumstances arise through the extenuating circumstances process. First and foremost, it’s really important that you inform your department, staff from Student Services, or at the Students’ Union Advice Centre at the earliest opportunity so that we can let you know what necessary steps you need to take next.

HOW CAN THE SU HELP?

To give you a helping hand, the Advice Centre will be holding drop-ins closer to the deadline to answer any questions you have relating to extenuating circumstances. Alternatively, you can email advice@su.rhul.ac.uk to request an appointment. If you’re going through anything which you feel is affecting your studies, then ask to speak to our Academic Advisor at the SU, to go over any concerns you have.

Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Illness (excluding minor illnesses)
  • Hospitalisation
  • Bereavement
  • Worsening of a long-term condition
  • Major adverse family circumstances
  • Acute personal circumstances

Some issues that will not be considered as extenuating circumstances include:

  • Short-term illness (coughs, colds, sore throats, etc.)
  • Computer/tech failure
  • Transport issues
  • ‘General exam stress’ (unlinked to mental illness)

It’s important to bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive and if you think that your personal circumstances are impacting your academic performance then you can speak more about this during an appointment.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES?

The form has moved online there are separate ones UG and PGT students:

It is a click-through process and you will have the opportunity to upload supporting evidence. It is important to note that applications without evidence will not be considered and the burden of proof does lie with you, the student. If you need guidance on what to use as evidence, our Advice Centre will be able to help you.

If you have not failed any courses but the passing marks you have achieved are lower than you believe they should be, the College's Extenuating Circumstances Committee is normally not able to recommend any action to the School Progression and Awards Board. They may, however, recommend to School Progression and Awards Board to take this into account in your final year when classifying you, for example, if your final average is very close to the zone of consideration for raising to the next classification band. They may decide to request a suspension of regulations; however, these are only granted in very exceptional circumstances by the Executive Committee for Assessment and there is no guarantee that such requests will be approved. You are strongly advised to read the relevant section on extenuating circumstances in the College regulations and Extenuating Circumstances guidance for students so that you are aware of the options that the School Progression and Awards Board has available.

Remember, these processes are in place to be a support for you during your time at Royal Holloway. If you need help understanding/completing the process, or want to discuss extenuating circumstances further, please contact the Advice Centre. They are an independent and confidential service offering impartial advice. You can email them at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk.