Applying for Special Consideration

Applying for Special Consideration can be a stressful process – as it occurs in emergency circumstances. A third year Bachelor of Commerce student recounts their experience and shares their advice. Processes for application may have changed since this article was published.

Please note: this my own involvement in dealing with Special Consideration within the Faculty of Business and Economics, so different individuals will have different circumstances, experiences and outcomes.

After studying overseas in South-East Asia for a winter intensive subject, a special little mosquito bite slowly evolved into more – isolation in the emergency department, two nights in hospital and a head-to-toe rash that made me look like a tomato. I had caught Dengue Fever. With the impending deadline of my major group report for the intensive, my team members and I thought it would be reasonable to ask for an extension. So, here is my experience of applying for Special Consideration, something that I found to be an immensely bureaucratic, complicated and stressful support system here at Unimelb.


Finding Help

I was quite unsure where to begin, but seeing as I was confined to a hospital bed, I thought I would get it over and done with. So in my five-sizes-to-big-for-me PJs, my first step was to consult the Subject Guide where I found a simple section regarding assignment extension. It told me to apply on the LMS, simple! But alas, there was no link on the subject’s LMS page, so back to square one.

Therefore, as a faithful rule of thumb (thank you to the librarian who told me just to put ‘Unimelb’ in front of a Google search to find something), I Googled “Unimelb assignment extension” and ended up here. This provides you with an overview of applying for an extension, and directs you to your respective faculty. However, clicking on the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) link, lead to a broken link (note: it has now been fixed)!

With some more help from Google, I ended up at the Special Consideration page, which can be found here. This page provides an overview of the process, eligibility and potential outcomes of applications for Special Consideration. The page was very much tailored towards exams, so I was unsure if I was in the right place. Nevertheless, a remedy was an extension, so I set about applying.

The Application Process

There are two parts to the application: a relatively simple online form and a long medical document called the ‘HBR’ that your Doctor has to fill out. My doctor, also a Unimelb professor, guffawed “typical Melbourne” as I handed over the form, merely for an extension. All submitted; I began the waiting game.

The Silence

With the deadline for the project 5 days away, and my tendency to be a control freak, the imminent silence from the FBE worried me.  I was unsure that I had actually submitted the right application, so I called AskUnimelb. They worked out that I had submitted the correct application, because the assessment was worth more than 40%. However, I couldn’t be given any indication about the outcome!

So, I went to bug the student centre, who eventually told me that I will not find out until a council who reviews the application sits next, which occurs about every two weeks. Meanwhile, I furiously tried to work on the report as best I could.

A light at the end of the tunnel?

With about two days to go until the deadline, I received an email saying I was approved for special consideration. And that was it. Nothing about a new deadline or actually anything helpful, and being Friday afternoon, I couldn’t contact anyone for more information. So my weekend was spent, both days, 6am-11pm working on the report to get it done, naturally feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Thankfully, with the hustle of my team, we got the report submitted, no less than ten minutes before the deadline.


The Aftermath

Two days later, I received an email saying we had an extra 3 weeks to complete the project. Seeing as it already had been completed to a satisfactory standard, this was pretty useless information.

My experience of Special Consideration was incredibly stressful and trying in a difficult period. Instead of a user-friendly support mechanism offered to those in need, I underwent a bureaucratic and taxing process that essentially wasted my time. Despite all this – the assignment was done, I survived and the world goes on, so here’s a few quick tips when applying for Special consideration:

  1. Apply as soon as you can
  2. Stay calm, patient and positive
  3. Try your best to get the assignment or exam done
  4. Hang in there!

Thanks again to our contributor for the insight! Do you have any tips for tackling special consideration?

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