With what’s happening with COVID-19 or for personal reasons, it may have crossed your mind to apply for special consideration during your HSC.
There’s actually 4 ‘special consideration’ schemes or provisions available during the HSC:
- Educational Access Schemes (EAS) that aim to help students that have been significantly impacted during Year 11 and/or Year 12 to receive an offer for university.
- Illness/Misadventure Application Procedure for those who experienced disadvantage immediately before or during the exam that has affected a student’s examination performance.
- Disability Provisions that are practical arrangements designed to help students who couldn’t otherwise make a fair attempt on an assessment or exam.
- The COVID-19 Special Consideration Program assists students with assessments that have been impacted by COVID-19, such as performance exams, oral language exams or major projects.
Luckily for you, we’ve gathered all we can find on each to give you the low-down on what it is, your eligibility and how to apply!
Let’s take a look!
What is it?
Educational Access Schemes are provided by UAC help students that have been impacted significantly during their HSC to receive a university offer.
If you are eligible for EAS and your ATAR is below what a course requires, the institution you apply to can:
- Increase your selection rank for that particular course or,
- Give you a place reserved for EAS applicants
Applications are assessed based on supporting documents uploaded to UAC, and we’ll cover how exactly to do that a little later!
Applying for EAS will be relevant for you if you are completing the HSC in this year or the next.
You must be able to demonstrate that you have been negatively affected for a period of at least six months during Year 11 and/or 12 as a result of circumstances beyond your control.
To be eligible you must also be:
- A UAC undergraduate applicant
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen
There are a total of nine broad categories and 25 specific disadvantages that you can apply for.
- Disrupted schooling
- Financial hardship
- Severe family disruption
- Excessive family responsibilities
- English language difficulty
- Personal illness/disability
- Refugee status
- School environment
- Socio-environment indexes for areas (SEIFA)
How to Apply
Step 1: Submit your application through UAC. You need your student number (provided by your school) and your UAC pin, which would have been emailed to you on the 1st of April.
Let your teacher or school’s career advisor know if you are having trouble submitting your application.
Step 2: Select the ‘Apply for EAS’ button at the bottom of the application confirmation page, or if you have already submitted an application, log in to your completed application and choose the ‘EAS’ tab.
Step 3: Choose the category of disadvantage you want to claim and select the specific disadvantages that apply to you. Answer the follow-up questions and click the ‘Save’ button so you don’t lose your progress!
You can repeat this step for each category you want to claim.
Step 4: Finalise and submit your EAS application.
Step 5: Download the ‘Confirmation of Application’ and document cover sheet for each of your disadvantage claims.
It’s important to do this as the cover sheet outlines the eligibility criteria for the disadvantage and the supporting documents you need to provide to UAC.
Step 6: Upload the completed cover sheets and the supporting documents to your application at least two weeks before the offer round that you want to be considered in.
Only one EAS application can be submitted in each application period.
Here are a few key dates for EAS:
- 28 November 2021: Apply and provide the supporting documents for your application by this date to receive your EAS eligibility letter prior to the December offer round
- 17 December 2021: EAS eligibility letters released
- 24 December 2021: Apply and provide the supporting documents for your application to be considered in the January offer rounds
- 04 February 2022: Closing date for the EAS applications for semester 1, 2022
Don’t forget that your school can help you with this process and UAC also has a contact number on (02) 9752 0200 if you need immediate help with your application!
What is it?
You can apply for Illness/Misadventure if you experience disadvantage immediately before or during an exam which affects your performance in the exam.
You can apply for special consideration of your HSC individually or in a group if a significant proportion of your cohort is affected.
According to NESA, an illness or injury constitutes “illness or physical injuries suffered directly by the student which allegedly affected the student’s performance in the examination(s)”
For example, this could include influenza, an asthma attack, or a cut hand.
Misadventure constitutes “any other event beyond the student’s control which allegedly affected the student’s performance in the examination(s)”
For example, this may be involvement in a traffic accident, isolation caused by a flood, or death of a friend or family member.
To be eligible to apply for illness/misadventure, it must fall under the above definitions.
Illness/misadventure does not include:
- Attendance of a family holiday, cultural or sporting event
- Alleged inadequacies of teaching or long-term matters relating to loss of preparation time, loss of study time or facilities
- Disabilities for which NESA has already granted disability provisions
You can read about your eligibility for special consideration of illness/misadventure here.
Step 1: It is important you attend your exam where possible, however if you cannot attend your exam, notify your principal immediately. Do not risk harm in order to attend your exam or against medical advice.
Step 2: Complete an Illness/Misadventure form through your principal before the exam (if there is time) and notify the Presiding Officer when entering your exam. Otherwise, complete the form after your exam.
Application forms are available on Schools Online.
Step 3: You must collect evidence on the day of your exam to support your illness/misadventure application. If you did not sit the exam this evidence must indicate why you were unable to attend.
Your application must include the following supporting pieces of evidence:
- Your personal statement explaining how they were affected during your exam
- A medical certificate with details of the date of the onset of illness
- A presiding officer’s report
- Statement from your principal
You can read about supporting pieces of evidence you need in more detail here.
Step 4: Once your have collected your evidence and completed your form, your principal will submit it to NESA.
Step 5: A panel will review your application and all pieces of supporting evidence.
Step 6: The panel will then make a decision as to the outcome of your application.
If approved, in most cases, you will be awarded a higher examination mark. If you application is declined, you will receive the mark you obtained in the exam.
You can read the application process in more detail here.
What is it?
Disability provisions in the HSC are practical arrangements designed to help students who couldn’t otherwise make a fair attempt to show what they know in an exam room or assessment.
Usually, this means schools can provide adjustments for your school-based assessment tasks such as:
- Adjustments to the assessment process e.g. extra time in an exam, scaffolded instructions etc
- Adjustments to assessment activities e.g. questions rephrased
- Alternative formats for responses
Any HSC student with a disability recognised in the Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005 can apply for disability provisions.
The definition of ‘disability’ in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 includes:
- neurological, and
- learning disabilities, as well as
- physical disfigurement, and
- the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.
Step 1: Ask your year adviser, school counsellor or other nominated teacher to complete the online application form through Schools Online.
Step 2: They should make sure the application form includes which provision you’re applying for, how your disability affects your assessment performance and evidence of your disability.
NB: Applications need to be submitted by the last day of Term One! (Although there are some exceptions to this)
Step 3: NESA will process the application through a panel of specialists that include medical practitioners , educational psychologists and consultants.
Step 4: When a decision has been made, a letter approving or declining your application will be published on Schools Online.
What is it?
The COVID-19 Special Consideration Program helps students who’ve had their preparation or completion of a performance exam, oral language exam or their major project significantly affected by COVID-19.
All HSC students with a performance exam or an oral language exam are eligible for this type of special consideration.
Additionally, the program also takes into consideration all students with major projects or submitted works for:
- Textiles and Design
- Design and Technology
- Industrial Technology
- Visual Arts
You may also be eligible if your preparation or completion of a major project or submitted work has been significantly affected by COVID-19 for these subjects:
- English Extension 2
- Society and Culture
- Music 2 and Extension (compositions and Musicology)
- Music 1 (compositions)
How to Apply
This program works a little differently to the schemes above since your school will need to apply on your behalf.
Essentially what happens is your teachers will mark or estimate a mark for your assessment, instead of a HSC marker (since they will have a better understanding of how you’ve been affected by COVID-19 restrictions).
This mark, however, will only take into account any impact from COVID-19 restrictions — so if there are any other factors that aren’t related to COVID-19 (e.g. broken leg), your teacher will need to submit an application for illness/misadventure.
The mark provided by your teacher will then be moderated by NESA, by comparing your performance to the cohort’s performance in assessments that are externally marked.
The only subjects that require an application for Special Consideration under this program are English Extension 2, Society and Culture, and Music. For the other subjects, your teacher will marks your oral/performance exam or major project taking COVID-19 restriction impacts into account.
Your school will need to apply for the COVID-19 Special Consideration Program through Schools Online for the whole cohort or for individual students, and include a brief explanation as to how students were affected.
There you have it!
That wraps up the 4 types of special consideration for the HSC — we hope this article helps you with the special consideration application process!
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Millicent Tai hopes to one day become a full-time teacher and is currently studying a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science at UNSW. She enjoys tutoring students at Art of Smart in English and Maths and has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. In her spare time, you can find her avidly reading Christian biographies or fishing in Animal Crossing.