Student support

What happens if you get into difficulties?

Anybody can come across difficulties that affect their study. Some of these are long-term problems, and others are questions of that moment. Here are some possible approaches to dealing with problems.

Illness or unexpected circumstances that affect your study so that you cannot submit your work on time

If circumstances beyond your control have severely hindered your ability to complete assessed work, you can ask for an extension of the due date for submitting it. The marks you receive will not be raised to take account of your difficulties. Assessed work is graded 'on merit'.

How you ask for an extension depends on the length of time for which your work is delayed:

A. Permission from the subject coordinator of the subject you are studying

For extensions of up to 10 days, you must seek approval from the coordinator of the subject.

Except in unusual circumstances, you must speak to him or her before the due date for the work and provide an extension form, which you can get are available from the SHAPS office or download the extension form (135kb Word doc). These forms should be filled in and given to the Subject Coordinator before the submission date. Extensions will not be granted after the due date has passed.

For extensions in different subjects you must contact the subject coordinator in each subject.

B. Special consideration

For extensions longer than 10 days you must apply for Special Consideration. There are different categories of special consideration, depending on whether your circumstances are ongoing and lasting for longer than six weeks, or due to unexpected circumstances that will impact you for less than six weeks. In the latter case, Special Consideration most often applies to work affected by circumstances that are:

  1. Unavoidable
  2. Unforeseen
  3. Outside your control

You are expected to plan around regular, normal life events, such as your family life, work, sporting activities, social, religious and other commitments, and minor interruptions from minor illness, mishap or other lesser issues.

If your circumstances fit this pattern you should apply for Special Consideration through the link above. You will have to read through the information carefully and provide documentation to back up your request.

If you apply for Special Consideration, the Faculty of Arts will tell subject coordinators by email of the outcomes of your application for special consideration.

C. Attendance issues

Students are required to attend a minimum number of classes as specified in the Handbook entry for the subject (normally 75% or 80%).

If circumstances beyond your control have prevented you from attending further classes, you may be able to apply for an attendance waiver for several additional classes. You must do this via the Special Consideration process on the Student Portal. Students with an Academic Adjustment Plan should first seek advice from their subject coordinator.

Difficulties with language, organising and planning work that make it hard for you to submit adequate written work

If you find it difficult to cope with such things as academic writing, time and task management, oral presentations, exam preparation, English language development (and other matters), Academic Skills conducts workshops and individual tutorials and provides resources that all students need to be successful at university. Their website is very helpful.

Long-term disabilities that affect your study

There is a free and confidential service to enrolled students with disabilities studying at any campus of the University. It is provided by the Student Equity and Disability Support. As its title suggests, Student Equity and Disability Supports' staff work with students to identify reasonable adjustments that will allow them to pursue their academic studies successfully, and with staff members to ensure that those needs are taken account of. Again, their website is very helpful.

Your marks are so low that you fail subjects

If you fail components in your study the University's Course Unsatisfactory Progress Committee may require you to attend an interview with a Stop 1 Adviser or in some cases, an interview with the Committee. The aim is not to punish you but to find ways of helping you cope with your studies. It will work with you to identify specific difficulties that may have contributed to unsatisfactory performance and devise suitable outcomes.