The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

How to apply for mitigating circumstances

Thinking you might need to apply for mitigating circumstances but not sure what to do? Senior advisor, Rebekah Ollerenshaw, advises how it should be done

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Hopefully everything is going well for you and you are able to focus on your studies. However, sometimes things happen at the worst possible time and you find yourself struggling to meet an essay deadline or unable to attend an exam.

This is where the university’s mitigating circumstances policy can help you. Whilst filling out a form might not seem to be your top priority, it really should be.

Submitting a completed form and supporting evidence in time for the deadline is the best thing you can do to protect your studies. If at a later point you are unhappy with a mark and have not submitted mitigating circumstances at the correct time, there is no guarantee that the university will consider them.

Mitigating circumstances can include a wide range of issues. You might be physically ill, struggling with mental health issues, or had a close family bereavement. Severe financial difficulty may also be considered if it is having an impact on you.

To meet the university’s criteria, the circumstances must be unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances that have had a significant adverse effect. You must also be able to submit independent evidence of the circumstances. This might be a death certificate or a letter from a doctor or support service.

How to submit mitigating circumstances will vary depending on your school. You might need to complete a paper form or submit one online. It’s best to speak to your school support office or a tutor to check what you need to do. There may also be guidance in your course handbook. The deadlines for submitting the form and evidence usually coincide with your academic deadline, so you would need to submit before your essay deadline or before the exam period starts.

For circumstances that arise during exams, a few extra days may be given, so check with your school what the deadline is.

Remember, everyone experiences difficult circumstances at some point and the university has these policies in place to help you. If you have any questions about mitigating circumstances, contact the Students’ Union Advice Service and our professional advisers will be happy to help.