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.
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.
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 your centre about how to apply
- an RMIT Training student – email email@example.com for advice
- a student in the RMIT Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) programs VC2084 or C2085 – contact the School of Education.
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.
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. (There's some flexibility for first-time applicants or where you can show that your circumstances prevented you from applying sooner.) 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.
- 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're unwell, it is now possible to consult a GP and obtain a medical certificate online.
- 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.
- There's some flexibility with the two working day time-frame if you are a first time applicant or can show that your circumstances prevented you from applying sooner – but you still need to apply as soon as possible. Once you know the process you're expected to apply within two working days.
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'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 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 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. Please note that there are now online GP services you can use from home while you're still unwell that are quite inexpensive. We may ask you for an impact assessment statement if the medical certificate doesn’t provide the information needed to assess your application.
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'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 – or, if the death occurred in a country where it isn’t possible to obtain these, a letter from a family member/somebody close to you). 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.
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.
What if I have an equitable assessment arrangement?
If you're 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'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 medical certificate.
- You have an unexpected, unavoidable employment commitment and can prove this with a 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.
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 aren't a first-time applicant, or haven't 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 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.
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 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 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'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 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.
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'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.
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 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, the Disability Liaison Unit 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.
What types of outcomes can I expect if successful?
Extension of time
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.
Equivalent assessment determined by your school
Deferred assessment (a further opportunity to sit the test or exam)
Late course withdrawal without academic penalty
For late course withdrawal without academic penalty, you must demonstrate that you could not have passed the course even with other types of adjustments (deferred/equivalent assessments, extensions of time). 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.
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 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.
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.