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Mitigating circumstances and the admissions process

King’s College London understands that there are times when circumstances occur, often unexpectedly, that can affect your studies and exams. This would include illness or bereavement or perhaps adverse family circumstances. Although any decisions to allow you a place on the programme if you do not meet the grades would be at the discretion of the Admissions Office, we do recommend that you notify us of such circumstances so that we can give your application the fullest consideration.

Students who believe they have circumstances in which King’s should be aware should complete our online form within two weeks of their effected exams (up to 31 July 2020). Submissions are now open. Please kindly note that any submissions sent to us after the two weeks, except in exceptional circumstances will not be considered in order to allow us time to assess your submission fairly.

If you are unable to complete this process yourself, you may ask your school or a relative to fill this form out for you. In the vast majority of cases, we will ask you to inform the relevant exam boards of the situation before completing this form.

Unfortunately, we are unable to grant special consideration for issues affecting a UKCAT or LNAT test unless there is no test centre in your country of residence.

Please submit all mitigating circumstances via our online form found here.

When to notify us

You, along with the support and help of your school/college (or academic referee if applying as an independent applicant) should notify King’s promptly of any mitigating circumstances which have affected the qualifications you are using to meet entry requirements or your conditional offer. 

This means that King’s must receive details as soon as they are known to be affecting, or to have the potential to affect, your studies/achievement. 

Failure to do so may mean that these circumstances cannot be considered in the assessment of your application or when the final confirmation decision is made. Circumstances disclosed after an interview, selection day, or an unsuccessful decision, are unlikely to be considered, unless relating to performance at interview. These circumstances will be considered by the Admissions Team responsible for the running of the interview / selection day attended, and will only be able to account for performance on these days and not academic performance elsewhere.

I have mitigating circumstances regarding my UKCAT / LNAT

Unfortunately, we are unable to grant special consideration for issues affecting your UKCAT or LNAT. You should be aware that by sitting the UKCAT or LNAT you attest that you are well enough to do so, and we would recommend that you schedule your UKCAT or LNAT as early as possible to maximise the chance you could take the test on another day if you are unwell or otherwise unable to sit the test on your first date.

I have mitigating circumstances regarding performance on an externally awarded examination

You should contact the awarding body in the first instance and seek to use their mitigating circumstances processes to take any impact on your exam performance into account.

We can only consider mitigating circumstances affecting examination results in instances where the awarding body does not have a process for doing so themselves, and will request confirmation that they do not. Please note that both A levels and the IB Diploma Programme do have their own processes and therefore we are unable to give further consideration to mitigating circumstances affecting grades awarded in these qualifications.

Please note that you must notify us of any mitigating circumstances affecting an exam no later than two weeks after the date of the exam and we will be unable to consider mitigating circumstance submissions that are sent in after this period.

If your awarding body does not offer a mitigating circumstances process please fill in our form.

I have mitigating circumstances regarding my interview at King's

If you would like to submit mitigating circumstances regarding your interview at King’s please fill in our form.

I have mitigating circumstances regarding my predicted grades

We will only be able to consider mitigating circumstances relating to predicted grades with a supporting statement from your school, teacher or UCAS advisor.

You will need to fill in our form and ask that your school, teacher or UCAS advisor send their supporting statement to admissions.confidential@kcl.ac.uk.

Please ensure they include your name, UCAS PID and the programme you are applying for. Failure to do so may result in us not being able to consider your mitigating circumstances.

Supporting statements must be sent within two weeks of submitting the above form. Failure to do so will result in us not being able to consider your mitigating circumstances.

I have mitigating circumstances regarding my GCSE (or equivalent) performance

We will only be able to consider mitigating circumstances relating to GCSE performance with a supporting statement from your school, teacher or UCAS advisor.

You will need to fill in our form and ask that your school, teacher or UCAS advisor send their supporting statement to admissions.confidential@kcl.ac.uk.If you have approached your awarding body with regards to your mitigating circumstances, please provide evidence of this to admissions.confidential@kcl.ac.uk.

Please ensure they include your name, UCAS PID and the programme you are applying for. Failure to do so may result in us not being able to consider your mitigating circumstances.

Supporting statements must be sent within two weeks of submitting the above form. Failure to do so will result in us not being able to consider your mitigating circumstances.

If you have approached your awarding body with regards to your mitigating circumstances, please provide evidence of this to admissions.confidential@kcl.ac.uk.

I have mitigating circumstances that are not covered above

Unfortunately, we are unable to grant special consideration for issues not covered in the sections above. For information regarding applying to King’s, please see our webpages here.

  

FAQs

What are mitigating circumstances?

King’s considers mitigating circumstances to be unforeseen circumstances, outside an applicant’s control, that have a significant and detrimental effect on their academic performance or assessment.

There is no definitive list, as all instances are considered on an individual case by case basis. However, listed below are some examples of mitigating circumstances which, when supported by appropriate evidence, could be understood as circumstances which might have a detrimental effect on the achievement of an applicant (to be considered at the university’s discretion, in line with this policy):

  • Bereavement - loss of close relative/significant other;

  • Serious, acute or chronic illness affecting the student’s most recent education;

  • Serious illness affecting a close family member, or significant caring duties;

  • Significant adverse personal/family circumstances;

  • Significant caring duties for a family member/significant other affecting recent education;

  • Serious procedural/technical issues with the provision of the education or test (such as a significant teaching shortage for a prolonged period).

What would usually not be considered as mitigating circumstances?

Such circumstances might include:

  • Minor ailments such as cough, cold, headache etc. during studies or examination;

  • Personal disruptions or events that could have been anticipated such as holidays, moving house;

  • Poor time management and organisation, including late arrivals to examinations, or computer/printer/photocopier problems relating to deadlines or failure to inform yourself of assessment and examination guidelines;

  • Feeling unprepared for an examination, or suffering from mild stress or anxiety related to examinations without a medical note;

  • Situations which have already been adjusted for as part of assessment procedures (see below);

  • Absence from education, examination or assessment due to a family event such as a wedding.

What should an applicant do if mitigating circumstances affect their performance in academic examinations or aptitude tests?

We understand that many scenarios may involve an unexpected event. However, we would expect applicants to take responsibility where possible to ensure that all reasonable steps were taken to inform examination boards in a timely manner of any issues. Actions include:

  • Notifying exam boards in advance of any assessment of any need for special examination arrangements, where known.

  • Notifying exam boards promptly of any unusual circumstances which affected the procedural examination process (e.g. misprints or incorrect papers).

  • Seeking assistance from school, family, guardians or carers where available.

Important note: Most examination and assessment boards will have policies and procedures in place to take mitigating circumstances into account during the final marking/grading of an award. We would expect all applicants to use such procedures where they exist, and will request confirmation from the examination board, school or test centre that these were requested (and confirmation of what arrangements, if any, were granted).

I have a disability/health condition - is this considered a ‘mitigating circumstance’?

Education providers and examination boards will usually have mechanisms in place for supporting disabled students and providing any reasonable adjustments during their studies and examinations. As such, having a disability or health condition does not of itself constitute a ‘mitigating circumstance’ within this policy.  King’s is keen to encourage disabled applicants to apply and offers support for applicants whilst studying – see our Disability Advisory Service for further details.

Learners should ensure they make appropriate and timely arrangements for such support to be in place for examinations, or for selection events at King’s. For example, you should notify all examination boards of any adjustments required for aptitude tests or examinations (such as extra time, or different formats of papers) and you are expected to notify the Admissions Office as early as you can if you require reasonable adjustments to be made to enable an interview, selection day or other visit to King’s (e.g. should you need step-free access to your interview). 

King’s would usually only consider mitigating circumstances to apply if there are occasions where a student has not received the agreed level of support to achieve their learning outcomes, or suffers from an acute episode of illness not envisaged in any support agreement, which is serious, unexpected and beyond their control. There will also be occasions when late diagnosis has meant the education provider or examination board was not aware of the students’ circumstances: in such cases, we would ask that the student provide satisfactory evidence of the mitigating circumstances, and provide a valid reason why the information was not provided to the examination board. 

Who will see details of my mitigating circumstances?

Your information will be treated in confidence by the relevant decision-makers at King’s. The information provided will be treated with sensitivity, and only shared with those necessary as part of the decisions making process. At times, we may use partial or anonymised information in discussion with colleagues where appropriate. We will also need to ‘flag’ your electronic application with a specific code to ensure that we can monitor and operate the mitigating circumstance process described above.

We will not discuss your details with a third party outside of the university without your permission. If you are happy for us to discuss the circumstances of your communication with a third party, such as a teacher, parent or guardian, please let us know this in your written communication: for applicants applying through UCAS, you are strongly advised to nominate access to this third person officially through UCAS.

Who do I speak to about ongoing support and transition to study?

Information on mitigating circumstances which you provide will normally be used for selection processes only. Where the mitigating circumstances have the possibility of continuing to affect the student’s academic performance (for example, recurring or continuing illness) it is the student’s responsibility to take appropriate contact with King’s Student Support services promptly prior to/after enrolment where necessary, to assist with their transition. We are happy to refer applicants to contacts for further support and information on request, but we will not share knowledge unless you have expressly asked us to in writing.

Please note there may be situations where it is felt it is in the applicant’s best interests to defer the start of their studies until the next academic year.  King’s will discuss this on a case by case basis and will usually be happy to grant deferral requests for most programmes.

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