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If there are extenuating circumstances that have caused significant educational disruption or disadvantage for a student, it may be appropriate for the school/college referee to complete and submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF) by 15 October.

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

The information provided on the form gives 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's important that any extenuating information is provided to the relevant Cambridge College (or to the Cambridge Admissions Office, in the case of open applications) at the point of application – failure to declare relevant information can't 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 a College admissions office to discuss an applicant's particular circumstances

The student should apply in the usual way. The Extenuating Circumstances Form should normally be completed and submitted by the applicant's school/college for receipt by the 15 October application deadline.

In those rare cases where the 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.

The completed ECF should be sent to the College the student applied to or, in the case of open applications, to the Cambridge Admissions Office.

If an applicant's circumstances change following the submission of the form, the school/college (or doctor/social worker) should inform the chosen College or the Cambridge Admissions Office (for open applications) as soon as possible.

Related Documents

Extenuating Circumstances Form

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