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If there are extenuating circumstances that have caused significant educational or home life disruption or disadvantage for a student, it may be appropriate for the school/college referee or the applicant’s doctor or social worker to complete and submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF) by 22 October 2020.

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 or home life 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 through 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 circumstances of which it would be appropriate to inform us 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
  • where the applicant has been the victim of a serious crime
  • other circumstances where serious disruption has occurred – the school/college, doctor or social worker 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 22 October.

In those cases where the applicant's school/college remains unaware of the full circumstances, the applicant’s doctor or social worker may complete 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

An updated version of the Extenuating Circumstances Form will be available here shortly.