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A guide to mitigating circumstances at university in Leeds

All universities understand that occasionally students will go through difficult times in their lives, and this will impact upon their academic performance.

After all, university isn’t a bubble and life goes on, regardless of if you are studying or not.

If you have just suffered a bereavement or are battling with suicidal thoughts, nobody is going to expect you to meet your coursework deadlines or sit your exams.

However, you must communicate with your School, as if they aren’t aware, you will be expected to perform as usual.

This blog post explores mitigating and extenuating circumstances and the process of reporting them to your university.

What are mitigating circumstances?

Each university will have a slightly different list of what constitutes a mitigating circumstance; however, general examples include:

  • Illness (physical or mental)
  • Serious family illness
  • Bereavement
  • Relationship problems
  • Recently experiencing a traumatic event
  • Being the victim of a crime
A hospital scene with a surgeon

What do I do if I have mitigating circumstances?

As soon as possible, you need to let your School know if you are struggling. Once they know, they can look into how they can help you.

The deadline for applying for ‘mitigating circumstances’ is often five days before an assignment deadline or examination, so please reach out as soon as you can.

Most universities have a form for you to fill out and submit, which you’ll find in your School’s Student Support Office (University of Leeds) or the Student Administration Office (Leeds Beckett University & Leeds Trinity University).

The form will ask you to explain your situation and how it is impacting upon you and your academic work.

You will need to provide evidence of your mitigating circumstances too, which might be:

  • A medical certificate from a doctor
  • A hospital admission certificate
  • A letter from your counsellor
  • An official police crime report
  • A death certificate
  • A supporting statement from a parent or friend which confirms your circumstances

Talk to your School to find out what they accept as evidence and provide it at your earliest convenience.

If you’re unable to locate a form at the University of Leeds, you can email your School instead and provide the information the form would request.

You’ll need to include the following in your email:

  • Details of your circumstances
  • How your circumstances are or will affect your academic work
  • Details of the exact work that is being or will be affected, and which modules it is for
  • Details of anyone you have already spoken to at the university about the issue
  • Evidence
A student in a counselling session, mitigating circumstances

What does a successful mitigating circumstances application result in?

Each case is different but a successful mitigating circumstances application could result in one of the following:

  • An extension on your coursework deadline(s)
  • Postponement of an examination or examinations
  • A ‘re-sit’ of an examination or examinations
  • Assessment via another method
  • Restarting the academic year
  • Agreed and planned time off from your studies

When will I know if my mitigating circumstances application has been successful?

Universities have a panel that looks through each application, and so you might want to ask when their next meeting date is when you submit your application.

They will let you know as soon as possible.

What if I need some advice about all of this?

If you need to talk to someone about the difficulties you are facing or you’d like someone to look over your application form and evidence before you submit it, please reach out to your university’s student support team, who are always happy to help.

Please find their contact details below.

LUU Student Advice

0113 3801 420

Click here for further information about the mitigating circumstances application process at the University of Leeds.

Leeds Beckett Students’ Union Advice

0113 812 8400

Click here for further information about the mitigating circumstances application process at Leeds Beckett University.

Leeds Trinity University Student Advice

0113 4673949

You can book an appointment with the Student Advice service here.

Click here for further information about the mitigating circumstances application process at Leeds Trinity University.

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