If unexpected circumstances affect your ability to complete an assessment you can apply for special consideration – if approved you may be granted an assessment adjustment.
Applying for special consideration
In most cases you can apply for special consideration online.
Do not apply online if you are:
- a higher degree by research student – you need to contact your supervisor
- an RMIT English Worldwide student – contact your centre for how to apply
- an RMIT Training student – email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Before you apply, check whether special consideration is the right type of assessment adjustment for you.
If you are applying on behalf of a student who is incapacitated or are experiencing ongoing difficulties applying online, please email email@example.com.
FAQs about applying for special consideration
When do I need to apply for special consideration?
You must submit your application within two working days after your assessment or due date.
- Submit your application even if you don’t have the necessary supporting documents.
- 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 are unwell, you can now see a GP and obtain a medical certificate online.
- If you submit late, it is very important that you explain and provide supporting documents that prove why you couldn’t submit on time, such as evidence of hospitalization or a death notice for a relative.
- There is some flexibility with the two working day time-frame if you are a first time applicant – but you still need to apply as soon as possible. Once you know the process you are expected to apply within two working days.
- Not knowing about special consideration is not a valid reason for late submission.
The special consideration application flow chart shows the stages of applying for special consideration.
Why do I need to apply within two working days of my assessment?
We need you to begin your application promptly and start obtaining any supporting documents: for example, if you are 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 seven 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.
What supporting documents do I need to provide?
Where your supporting documentation is in a language other than English, you must provide an English translation by a NAATI-accredited translator.
Impact assessment statement
If applying on medical or psychological grounds we recommend that you provide a RMIT impact assessment statement completed by the registered medical/health practioner (e.g. doctor, psychologist, counsellor) who treated you.
A medical certificate can also be considered if it states the dates and severity of impact of your condition. Please note that there are now online GP services that you can use from home while you are still unwell: these are quite cheap.
It will be helpful if you include a personal statement of your circumstances, but this alone would not usually be sufficient to establish the grounds for your application. 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 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 have 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 will need to provide evidence (a death notice or notice of funeral service – or if it isn’t possible to obtain these, a letter from a family member/somebody close to you). After that, if you have lost an immediate family member, you can submit further applications 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.
Not submitting supporting documents
If you do not provide supporting documents with your application we will notify you by email that your application is incomplete and tell you what documentation you need to provide.
If you do not provide suitable supporting documents it is unlikely that your application will be deemed complete and it may be cancelled after five working days from the request that you provide supporting documents.
What if I have an equitable assessment arrangement?
If you are registered with the Disability Liaison Unit (DLU), and have an equitable assessment arrangement (EAA), consult the DLU about applying for special consideration in relation to the condition for which you have the EAA. You still need to apply for special consideration within two working days of the assessment – you may need to submit an application and then talk to the DLU.
The DLU can adjust your EAA if appropriate, or provide you with supporting documentation for your special consideration application.
What are grounds for a successful application?
Common reasons cited in successful applications:
- You have 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 medical certificate.
- You have an unexpected unavoidable employment commitment and can prove this with a letter from your employer.
- You have 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 you can’t obtain these) a letter from a family member/somebody close to you.
- You have been the victim of a serious crime and can prove this with a police report.
What are grounds for applications being cancelled or denied?
Common reasons that applications may be cancelled:
- An application is submitted late: i.e. submitted more than two working days after the assessment sitting or deadline, and you are not a first-time applicant, or have not provided evidence of reasons why you have been unable to submit sooner.
- Supporting documentation is submitted late, i.e. more than five working days after your application or our request to submit the supporting documentation.
Reasons your special consideration application may be denied:
Your application may be denied if you only cite one of the following reasons:
- 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 on assessment dates that had already been published.
How are applications assessed and how long does it take?
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 you receiving 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 the assessment
- increases in the weighting of other assessment tasks so that the assessment task affected by adverse circumstances is no longer required
- supplementary assessment.
What communications will I receive about my application?
All communication will be via your RMIT student email account.
You can expect at least two emails from us.
- We will acknowledge receipt of your submitted application.
- We will send you the outcome of your application.
If your application is incomplete when submitted, we will email you asking for further information to support your application.
You will 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 have listed in your application. The standard outcomes are ‘granted’, ‘denied’ or ‘cancelled’. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.
Where you are granted special consideration, it is important that you follow any instructions such as to contact the course coordinator within a specified time-frame.
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 are having difficulties obtaining supporting documentation. If you don’t respond to a request for more information/documents
What are my responsibilities when applying for special consideration?
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 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.
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.
Is my application confidential?
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 have sought special consideration.
In most cases you will 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, the Disability Liaison Unit or Student Wellbeing (as appropriate) to contact you offering support. This process does not involve providing other units with access to your special consideration documentation.
What types of outcomes can I expect if successful?
Extension of time
If you have 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 have not 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 are not able to complete assessment of your application until after that date). We will assume that you kept working on the assessment and submitted it by the date you requested.
If your outcome email advises you to negotiate a new submission date you will need to contact your course coordinator to do this by the date specified in the outcome.
If you submit your assessment after the extended due date any late submission penalties for assessment in your course will apply.
Equivalent assessment determined by your school
Deferred assessment (a further opportunity to sit the test or exam)
Late course withdrawal without academic penalty
If denied, how can I request a review or appeal?
You may be eligible to appeal a denied or approved 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 4.23 of the Assessment: adjustments to assessment procedure.
The Appeal against a special consideration outcome – University Appeals Committee form (PDF 43kb 2p) provides information and instructions in relation to this procedure.
You cannot appeal to the University Appeals Committee against a special consideration determination when your request for special consideration has been cancelled - see section 4.21 of the Assessment: adjustment to assessment procedure.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You must request the review of a cancelled application no later than five working days after the outcome was sent to you.
RMIT University Student Union (RUSU): advice and advocacy
RUSU Student Rights Officers can help you with special consideration. 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 email@example.com.
Please quote your application number when emailing your query.