Applying for special consideration
In most cases you can apply for special consideration online.
Don't apply online if you're:
- a higher degree by research student – you need to contact your supervisor
- an RMIT English Worldwide student – contact Student Services on level 10 in Building 108
- a student in the RMIT Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) programs VC2084 or C2085 – contact the School of Education.
To support an application based on medical or mental health grounds, we recommend that you include an impact assessment statement (PDF 41kb 1p) completed by your treating professional.
Changes to special consideration effective Term 1 / Semester 1 2019
- Deferred exams: If you seek special consideration for the same examination for a third time, where eligibility has been established, the granted special consideration outcome will be restricted to ‘Late Course Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty’ only. No fourth opportunity to complete the examination will be provided. If you do not establish eligibility for Late Course Without Academic Penalty, your application will be denied.
- If you become unwell during an examination and are unable to complete the assessment, you must report your illness to the exam supervisor and leave the venue. You may then apply for special consideration, with supporting medical documentation, seeking a further opportunity to sit the examination.
- If you either complete the examination or leave the venue before completion and do not report your illness to the exam supervisor, you'll be ineligible to apply for special consideration to re-sit the examination.
Before you apply - important information
Before you apply, check whether special consideration is the right type of assessment adjustment for you.
If you're applying on behalf of a student who is incapacitated or you're experiencing ongoing difficulties applying online, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special consideration is made available by the University on the understanding that students will use it sparingly and only in cases of proven genuine need.
Falsifying documents is considered fraud and treated very seriously. If you are proven to have falsified supporting documents for ANY REASON you are likely to have your course results converted to fail results or have other penalties applied. As a student, you must be aware of your obligations and responsibilities under the RMIT Student Conduct Policy.
Frequently asked questions
You must submit your application within five working days after your assessment date or due date.
There's some flexibility for first-time applicants or where you can provide compelling or compassionate reasons and evidence for submitting a late application. If you're seeking late course withdrawal without academic penalty, however, you can apply up to a year after you withdrew from the course, or up to a year after the end-date of the course if you didn't withdraw.
- Submit your application even if you don’t have the necessary supporting documents ready.
- After submitting, you have up to five working days to provide your supporting documents.
- Start gathering your supporting documents as soon as possible in case there are delays in obtaining them.
- If you submit late, it's very important that you explain and provide supporting documents that prove why you couldn’t submit on time, such as evidence of hospitalisation or a death notice for a relative.
We need you to begin your application promptly and start obtaining any supporting documents: for example, if you're applying because of a health condition, your health professional may be unwilling to provide supporting documents once you no longer have symptoms.
With the further five days to add documents it can be up to ten working days before your application is complete and can be assessed. Any longer than this and it can make life complicated for you and the staff teaching the course.
Where your supporting documentation is in a language other than English, you must provide an English translation by a NAATI-accredited translator.
In general, photographs (eg. family gathering, funeral) are not helpful as evidence and therefore should not be submitted in place of official documentation. Photographs of a graphic nature (eg. medical condition/injury, accidents) will not be accepted under any circumstance.
Impact assessment statement
If applying on medical or psychological grounds we recommend that you provide an RMIT impact assessment statement (PDF 41kb 1p) completed by the registered medical/health practitioner (e.g. doctor, psychologist, counsellor) who treated you.
A medical certificate can also be considered if it states the dates and severity of the impact of your condition. However, we may ask you for an impact assessment statement if the medical certificate doesn’t provide the information needed to assess your application.
Supporting documentation from a health practitioner who is also a member of your family will not be considered.
It will be helpful if you include a personal statement of your circumstances, but this alone would not be sufficient to establish the grounds for your application as special consideration is an evidence-based process. This statement will help the special consideration team understand your situation, suggest other appropriate supporting documentation, and refer you to student support services if appropriate.
Independent supporting documents
For other circumstances such as unexpected and unavoidable employment commitments or elite sporting commitments, please provide a formal letter from the employer or sporting body stating the circumstances.
Make sure you retain original copies of all documents.
We may email you to request an original document if we need this to assess your application.
If you've lost someone in your immediate family, we understand that you are likely to continue to be significantly impacted by grief for some time. In your first application for a bereavement, you'll need to provide evidence (a death notice or notice of funeral service). You can submit further applications in relation to the loss of the same family member, for up to six months, without providing supporting documentation: just state in the personal statement that you have already had special consideration approved in relation to your bereavement.
If you still need special consideration more than six months after your loss, you will need to provide an impact assessment statement from a treating health practitioner such as a psychologist.
Religious or cultural commitments
Special consideration may be available for religious and cultural events. A supporting letter from a religious leader may be requested.
Professional and/or voluntary services
Special consideration may be available for army, army reserve, CFA and voluntary CFA commitments. Please provide a formal letter from the relevant organisation stating the circumstances.
If you don’t submit supporting documents
If you don't provide supporting documents with your application we'll notify you by email that your application is incomplete and tell you what documentation you need to provide.
If you don't provide suitable supporting documents it's unlikely that your application will be considered complete and it may be cancelled after five working days from the date of the request to provide supporting documents.
Falsifying documents is considered fraud and treated very seriously. Please be aware that providing forged, falsified or documents purchased from fraudulent websites in support of your application (if proven) will result in a penalty.
There is a range of penalties, from failure in the course to suspension or exclusion. As a student, you must be aware of your obligations and responsibilities under the RMIT Student Conduct Policy.
Everyone struggles occasionally during their studies with the stress to meet deadlines or the pressure of exams. This has led students to forge or falsify medical documents and certificates (or purchase falsified documents online) in order to try to obtain special consideration.
While this may not seem particularly serious, it definitely is and at RMIT University, if proven, will result in penalties for the student. Under the heading of General Misconduct section 1, a student commits general misconduct if they:
l) makes false representations on any matter (including academic records, health practitioner records or immigration requirements) in his or her capacity as a student or knowingly engages in document fraud in relation to assessment, academic results, records or for purpose of enrolment or entry into a course or program.
If you are proven to have falsified supporting documents for ANY REASON you are likely to have your course results converted to fail results or have other penalties applied.
If you're registered with Equitable Learning Services (ELS) and have an Equitable Learning Plan in place which includes adjustments to your study and assessment conditions (Equitable Assessment Arrangements), it is still open to you to apply for special consideration if something unexpected happens.
An Equitable Learning Plan contains planned, proactive arrangements for ongoing circumstances, while special consideration is available for unexpected circumstances outside students’ control.
If you have an immediate need for additional adjustments (beyond those already detailed in your Equitable Learning Plan), you should apply for special consideration in the interim and provide supporting documentation from your treating health practitioner. You still need to apply for special consideration within five working days of the assessment date or due date.
You should notify ELS promptly (and at latest within 10 working days) of any change in your ongoing circumstances that may require reassessment of your needs.
Please ensure you:
- read the content of your Equitable Learning Plan and communicate regularly with lecturers, teachers and assessors to ensure that your Equitable Assessment Arrangements are implemented in good time, and
- contact the ELS if you have any questions in relation to your Equitable Learning Plan.
Common reasons cited in successful applications
- You've been physically or mentally unwell and can prove this with a completed impact assessment statement, suitable medical certificate or letter from your treating health professional.
- You have carer responsibility for a sick member of your immediate family and can prove this with a completed impact assessment statement or suitable carer's certificate.
- You have an unexpected, unavoidable employment commitment and can prove this with a formal letter from your employer.
- You've lost a member of your immediate family or someone close to you, and can prove this with a death notice, notice of funeral service or (if the death occurred in a country where death notices and funeral services aren't available) a letter from a family member/somebody close to you.
- You've been the victim of a serious crime and can prove this with a police report.
Common reasons that applications may be cancelled
- An application is submitted late: i.e. submitted more than five working days after the assessment date or submission deadline and you aren't a first-time applicant, or haven't provided evidence of compelling or compassionate reasons why you have been unable to submit an application sooner.
- Supporting documentation is submitted late (i.e. more than five working days after your application or our request to submit the supporting documentation) or not at all.
Reasons your special consideration application may be denied
Your application may be denied if you cite one of the following reasons:
- You are seeking special consideration for the same examination for a third time and you are not deemed eligible for Late Course Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty. No fourth opportunity to complete an examination will be provided.
- You were absent from required learning activities because of circumstances that were within your control.
- You misread the exam timetable, did not allow sufficient time to get to the exam venue or forgot you had to submit/sit an assessment.
- An electronic file of your work became corrupt and you had not kept a back-up.
- You decided to go on holiday during the relevant teaching period or at a time when students had been informed assessments would take place and might reasonably be expected to be available for the assessment.
- You were managing workload from other RMIT course/s.
- You were managing activities arising from voluntary representation as a member of a club or society.
- You experienced information technology-related problems that could have been prevented, avoided or the effects minimised by reasonable diligence.
- You describe and document other circumstances that are not unexpected or outside your control.
If your application is denied, the reasons for this will be provided in writing.
Reasons your special consideration application may be withdrawn
Your application may be withdrawn in the following circumstances:
- You completed the examination or left the venue before completion and did not report your illness to the exam supervisor.
- You enrolled late into a course or program. Late enrolment is not grounds for special consideration because where your school accepts your late enrolment, they are to make arrangements for you to catch up on any missed work. Please contact your course/program coordinator for assistance if required.You’ve submitted a duplicate application (i.e. you’ve submitted an application for the same course and assessment that is included in the same or another active application).
- Your placement has been terminated.
- You’re requesting a short extension of time (no more than 7 calendar days) in advance of the due date of this assessment. In this circumstance you can submit the 'Application for extension of time to submit assessment work' form to your School Administration Office.
- What you are seeking is not an available outcome of a special consideration application (e.g. grading consideration or the transfer of weighting of one assessment item to another).
- You have an allegation or finding of misconduct at RMIT. If there is no final finding of misconduct you can reapply.
All complete applications for special consideration are considered by specialist staff.
Applications are considered based on the evidence of unexpected circumstances and their impact on performance in an assessment task.
When you can expect an outcome
An outcome is due within 10 working days of the notification that your application is complete. At peak times the outcome may not be available until the 10th working day.
Some outcomes are not available
Please note that the following are not available as an outcome of special consideration:
- an increase in the mark you achieved in an assessment
- a transfer or increase in the weighting of other assessment tasks so that the assessment task affected by adverse circumstances is no longer required
- supplementary assessment.
All communication will be via your RMIT student email account.
You can expect at least two emails from us.
- We'll acknowledge receipt of your submitted application.
- We'll send you the outcome of your application.
If your application is incomplete when submitted, we'll email you asking for further information and/or documentation to support your application.
You'll receive an outcome email within 10 working days of the date your application was deemed complete.
The outcome email will state the outcome for each assessment task you listed in your application. The standard outcomes are ‘granted’, ‘denied’ or ‘cancelled’. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.
Where you're granted special consideration, it is important that you follow any instructions such as to contact the course coordinator by a specific date.
After applying, check your email often, read your messages carefully and respond to any requests by the specified date. Keep in touch – email us if you're having difficulties obtaining supporting documentation. If you don’t respond to a request for more information/documents we may have to cancel your application as incomplete.
Ensure that your special consideration application and any supporting documents you supply are complete and correct, and submit these within the required time-frame.
Keep a copy of your application and your original supporting documentation as you may be requested to send us the originals.
If you're applying for an extension on a deadline to submit an assessment task, don’t wait for the outcome of your application – submit the assessment as soon as you can.
If you receive a ‘granted’ outcome, follow the outcome instruction/s emailed to you by any required due date/s. Follow any recommendations in your outcome email.
Where an outcome requires you to contact the course coordinator by a given date, you must do so by the date specified, otherwise the outcome may be deemed to have lapsed.
If you provide false or misleading information in an application or supporting documentation, or alter a supporting document provided by another person, this may be grounds for disciplinary action.
RMIT handles all personal information in accordance with our Privacy and Data Protection Policy.
Special consideration applications often contain sensitive personal and/or medical information. Your information is kept in confidence in a secure database that is accessed only by members of the Special Consideration team in the Academic Registrar’s Group for the purpose of assessing your application and related purposes.
Emails in relation to your application may be copied to RMIT school or college staff as part of the process, but will not include details of the circumstances for which you sought special consideration.
In most cases you'll be asked for consent before the team contacts any health professional, employer or other person who provides documents in support of your application, in case we need to clarify aspects of the documents. Health practitioners may be contacted without prior consent to verify aspects of certificates you have provided, such as dates.
Where your application raises concerns about your health or wellbeing, or if you apply repeatedly for special consideration in the same teaching period, the special consideration team may ask another support area of the University such as Counselling, Equitable Learning Services or Student Support (as appropriate) to contact you offering support. This process does not involve providing other units with access to your special consideration documentation.
Outcomes of applications for special consideration are detailed in section 5.3.6 of the Assessment and assessment flexibility policy and include (but aren’t restricted to):
- Equivalent assessment (course coordinators decide the form of equivalent assessment task).
- Deferred assessment (a further opportunity to sit the test or exam).
- Extension of time (exceeding seven calendar days). If you've applied for an extension of the deadline to submit an assessment, continue to work on the assessment task while you wait for your outcome. Submit your assessment as soon as you can, even if you haven't yet received your outcome.
If your application is approved, the extension may be to a date before you receive the outcome – for example, to the date you requested in your application (if we aren't able to complete assessment of your application until after that date). We'll assume that you kept working on the assessment and submitted it by the date you requested. If you submit your assessment after the extended due date, any late submission penalties for assessment in your course will apply.
- Late course withdrawal without academic penalty. For late course withdrawal without academic penalty, you must demonstrate that your circumstances have:
- had an impact for so much of the teaching period that it wasn’t practicable for you to fulfil course requirements, or
- prevented you from completing substantial assessments despite adjustments that have been granted, so that you’ll fail the course unless a late withdrawal is granted.
This generally involves providing an impact assessment statement or letter from a health professional showing a long date-range of significant impact during the teaching period or starting before the end of the teaching period but continuing long after it.
The Academic Registrar or their nominee may also grant late course withdrawal without academic penalty if it is the only reasonable outcome.
Students who become unwell during the examination and are unable to complete the assessment must report their illness to the exam supervisor and leave the venue. These students may apply for special consideration, with supporting medical documentation, seeking a further opportunity to sit the examination.
Students who either complete the examination or leave the venue before completion and do not report their illness to the exam supervisor will be ineligible to apply for special consideration to re-sit the examination.
Applications for special consideration cannot be accepted from students who have either completed the examination or left the venue before completion and do not report their illness to the exam supervisor. Applications in these circumstances will be deemed to be ineligible and will be automatically withdrawn by the university. No appeal opportunity is provided.
When a deferred assessment is granted, the relevant course result is recorded by the Academic Registrar’s Group as DEF (deferred assessment) until the result of the deferred assessment is recorded. The DEF result is recorded even where you have attempted the assessment - meaning you will not receive the result of that sitting. School staff may only replace a DEF result with the result of the deferred assessment once this is known.
If you are granted a deferred assessment, you will be notified of the date, time and venue, by email to your RMIT University student email account, at least five working days before the deferred assessment date.
You must sit the deferred assessment to obtain a result for that assessment task. If you do not sit the deferred assessment, you will receive a zero mark for that assessment item.
It is your responsibility to:
- check your student email account daily for notification of a deferred assessment
- comply with any instructions in the notification that you have been granted a deferred assessment, and
- ensure that you are available to sit the deferred assessment, at the time and place specified in the notification.
Where possible, the school offering the course should record the grade resulting from the deferred assessment in time for you to adjust your enrolment in the following semester of study, if necessary (i.e. before the deadline for adding courses).
You may be eligible to appeal a denied special consideration outcome decision to the University Appeals Committee. You will need to apply by the deadlines and meet the grounds of appeal stated in section 7.25 of the Assessment Processes.
The Appeal against a special consideration outcome – University Appeals Committee (UAC) form provides information and instructions in relation to this process.
You cannot appeal to the University Appeals Committee against a special consideration determination when your request for special consideration has been cancelled – see section 4.6 of the Assessment Processes.
If your application was cancelled because you submitted it late and/or provided supporting documents late or not at all, you may request a review of the cancellation. If you have been prevented from applying by the deadline, you must explain the cause of the delay and provide independent supporting documentation of the reasons you were unable to submit sooner.
Send your request for a review of the cancellation and supporting documents to email@example.com. You must request the review of a cancelled application no later than five working days after the outcome was sent to you. Late requests will not be accepted.
The reviewer will be an individual who was not involved in making the original decision. The review outcome will be communicated to you within 20 working days. The reviewer's decision is final.
RMIT University Student Union (RUSU): advice and advocacy
If you intend to appeal against an outcome or seek a review of a cancelled application, consider contacting RMIT University Student Union (RUSU). RUSU Student Rights Officers can help you with advice and/or advocacy. Please note that you must still meet timelines for lodging an appeal/request for review – any delay in obtaining advice from RUSU will not be considered grounds for extension of these deadlines.
You can enquire about your special consideration application or provide additional documents by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please quote your application number when emailing your query.