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Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances

If there are extenuating circumstances that have caused you significant educational disruption or disadvantage, it may be appropriate for your school/college referee to submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF) on your behalf.

The ECF has been designed to ensure that we have the information we require to accurately assess any applicant who has experienced particular personal or educational disadvantage.

The information provided on the form gives the Admissions Tutors context against which they can consider the academic record of an applicant (whether the student has excelled in spite of, or been hindered due to their personal/educational circumstances), and, if appropriate, their performance at interview. 

The ECF should be used where an applicant's education has been seriously disrupted or disadvantaged through health, disability, difficulties with schooling, or challenging personal or family circumstances.

We encourage applicants and school/college referees to let us know though the ECF about any circumstances we may need to take into consideration when assessing applications. It is important that any extenuating information is provided to us at the point of application – failure to declare relevant information cannot be used as grounds for an admissions complaint later in the process.*

The sort of circumstances it would be appropriate to inform us of via this form include:

  • a serious, acute or chronic medical condition (especially since the age of 14) which caused significant educational disruption
  • significant caring responsibilities, or recent bereavement or serious illness within close family
  • living independently of the family (estranged students)
  • any kind of serious disruption due to adverse family circumstances
  • serious disruption to educational provision at school/college
  • other circumstances where serious disruption has occurred – the school/college is welcome to contact the College Academic Office to discuss an applicant's particular circumstances

The Extenuating Circumstances Form should normally be completed and submitted by your school/college for receipt by the 22 October deadline.

In those rare cases where an applicant's school/college is unaware of the full circumstances, a doctor or social worker may complete and validate the form on the applicant's behalf.

If your circumstances change following the submission of the form, your school/college (or doctor/social worker) should information us as soon as possible.

The ECF can be submitted via https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/decisions/extenuating-circumstances-form

* Very occasionally, an applicant may fall ill or develop other extenuating circumstances after they have submitted their application but before they have completed their written assessment or interviews. If this happens, please contact the Academic Office. In appropriate circumstances, we may accept an ECF after the 22 October deadline, but only if the issue concerned can be shown to have arisen after that date and could not reasonably have been foreseen. In these circumstances, the absolute deadline for ECFs is 30 November.