The system is designed to detect students who are not progressing as expected. You will not be allowed to stay enrolled (and incur more tuition fees) if it is likely you will continue to fail courses.
For a successful appeal, you need to identify the problems which have impacted on your studies and implement changes/solutions to ensure the situation is not repeated the next term.
Make sure you submit:
- A completed application form
- Personal Statement (this is your appeal letter)
- Supporting documentation (please get any important original documents certified as you may not get those documents back)
before the deadline (the deadline is different for Local and International students so check your suspension/exclusion letter for the relevant date).
This information can also be used to appeal against suspensions and exclusions due to maximum repeat fails.
Before you appeal
Consider the following:
- Should you appeal?
- Some students genuinely benefit from taking a break from their studies. Be honest with yourself. Students facing academic suspension/exclusion have usually been experiencing difficulties for more than one term so it’s important to identify why.
- Do you want to continue at UNSW?
- Do you enjoy your degree?
- Is your health OK?
- Can you afford to study next term?
- Is your family/living situation impacting on your ability to attend class or complete assessments?
- Can you identify what went wrong / the reasons why you failed? These may be:
- academic issues;
- medical problems;
- employment related problems;
- course related problems;
- family/personal problems.
- Can you develop a specific plan for how to be successful in the next term and not repeat mistakes?
- Do you have supporting documents which confirm what you want the Committee to know?
If you answered yes to the questions above, and want to appeal, you will need to write a personal statement. This is the most important part of the appeal process. There are no other avenues for appeal once the Committee makes it decision so it's important that you disclose all relevant information in your personal statement.
If you answered no to one or more to the questions above, and need further help please contact the following services:
- Counselling & Psychological Services (CAPS): Ph: 9385 5418
- Educational Support Advisors: Ph: (02) 9385 4734
- UNSW Equitable Learning Services: Ph: 9385 4734
- UNSW Health Service: Ph: 9385 5425
- UNSW Student Careers & Employment: Ph: 9385 2060
- Arc Legal & Advocacy: Ph: 9065 9000
- Lifeline: Ph: 13 11 14
Writing your personal statement
Your letter should follow this basic template and include:
Why did you fail courses?
Be honest about the reasons why you failed courses – admit your mistakes and take responsibility to not repeat them in the future. You can only fix something if you know what you have to fix.
Explain what happened clearly and concisely – avoid overly dramatic or emotional language or excessive repetition. List events that lead to your failing grades (preferably) in chronological order.
If you did not seek help during the relevant Term (for example, apply for special consideration), explain why not.
Your reasons may be:
- Are you studying the wrong degree? If that's the case, have you spoken to anyone for guidance about your plans for the future and what you want to do instead?
- Do you need particular prerequisite knowledge for some of your courses? What can you do to acquire this knowledge?
- This can include physical and mental illness. Explain the symptoms, or how your academic performance has been affected. For example, has this caused you to miss classes, not complete assignments, or affected your general motivation/concentration?
- Financial hardship
- Domestic violence
- Unreasonable living or difficult home situation
- Significant caring responsibilities
- Death/sickness of an immediate relative? Please note – if your problem relates to the health of another person, you need to focus on the effect that has had on you, not them.
- Employment is generally not an acceptable reason for falling behind in your studies. If you have failed courses because of paid work, outline the reasons why this was so necessary.
- Extracurricular activities are similar to employment. You will need to explain why you prioritised non-academic work over completing your studies.
- Do you have poor study skills? This may be an honest reason, but it is a weak argument. Unless you are in your first term, you should have developed skills for time management. Talk about why this hasn’t happened yet and what you can do to develop these skills.
What is your plan for the future?
Outline your plan for achieving academic success if given the chance to re-enrol.
- For every problem described in your personal statement, present a solution.
- Your plan should be realistic and achievable and, if possible, supported by the documents. It doesn’t have to be a guarantee that nothing will go wrong.
- Your plan should also be relevant to your problems. For example, general academic issues do not require a monthly CAPS appointment.
- If the problem is long-term, what supports can you put in place to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your studies moving forward? (It would also be advisable to explain why you didn’t seek help sooner). ·
- If the problem is short-term, is it resolved now?
Things to consider:
- Can you make changes to your enrolment?
- Switch to part-time study
- Change degrees
- Choose different subjects
- If it’s a continuing issue, can you take leave for a term? (Some students may benefit from a shorter break)
- What do you need to do to get healthy?
- Get medical treatment or change current treatment if it’s not producing results (always in consultation with your doctor)
- See a counsellor
- Focus on general wellness and well being
- Can you make changes to your personal life?
- Change job and/or reduce your working hours
- Access Centrelink or welfare payments
- Change your accommodation/living situation
- Is there extra support available (on or off campus)? ·
- Private tutor
- UNSW resources (e.g. Learning Centre)
Can you demonstrate your academic potential?
You want to show the Committee that you are a good student and capable of passing if/when your circumstances are different.
List achievements like:
- HSC scores (first year students only)
- Previous tertiary qualifications
- Academic scholarships
Maximum repeat fail rules
If you are facing termination because of the ‘maximum repeat fail’ rule - you’ve failed a subject too many times.
What is it about this particular course that has been difficult for you – especially if your grades show otherwise good performance?
This may be especially important if you are progressing through your degree but there is one course you are struggling with.
Do you have a strategy to overcome problems in this one course or discipline? You shouldn't focus on general, broader issues which might affect all your studies - focus on the issues with that particular course.
The ultimate goal of your plan is to convince the Committee you should be given the opportunity to complete your degree, and that you have given thought to why you have failed particular courses multiple times.
Check for spelling mistakes and typos.
Getting Supporting Documents
In addition to your personal statement (the letter addressed to Re-enrolment Committee) and the completed appeal application form, you need to give the Committee supporting documents from independent professionals.
Supporting documents are important to validate what you have said in your personal statement. The supporting documents you need to attach to your application depend on the reasons given in your personal statement. Supporting documents should be relevant to the problems identified.
For example, if you were diagnosed with depression, you should attach a letter from your doctor confirming the diagnosis and explaining your treatment plan going forward.
Examples of supporting documents
- Academic issues
- Letter from lecturer, academic advisor, other UNSW staff
- Study plans
- University transcripts
- Medical issues
- Doctor’s letter
- Medical certificates
- Hospital records
- Personal/family issues
- Death certificate
- Letter from a minister of religion or community leader
- Court documents
- Employment records
- Letter from GP
- These reasons can be harder to document but think about whether you spoke to anyone about or in any way documented the problems you experienced.
- Other documents that may be relevant to your situation:
- Police reports
- Bank statements
- Eviction notice
- Insurance claims
- Employment termination letter
Ideally your supporting documents should confirm what you are saying but also reference the changes you can or will make in the future or indicate that the issue has been resolved.
Reference these documents in the body of your letter so the Committee knows what documents they are reading and why they are important to your appeal.
There may be some situations where you do not have any supporting documents. In that case, still submit your personal statement and explain why you didn’t speak to anyone about the issues you were experiencing.
Don’t forge supporting documents or you could find yourself facing allegations of student misconduct.
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