Getting a support letter from a counsellor

Sometimes it’s necessary to obtain a letter from Counselling Services explaining to your lecturers or school why you weren’t able to complete an assessment on time, study at a full load, or complete every unit within a semester. Read on to learn what to do in each circumstance.

Assessment extension

You must adhere to Curtin’s official extension process to apply for an extension to assignments, tests, examinations and other forms of assessment.

To gain support for an assessment extension from Counselling Services, you must have exceptional circumstances that are relevant to this Service. Exceptional circumstances that we can provide support for include:

  • Injury, illness or condition (which includes mental health concerns) that have resulted in a significant delay on the assessment in question; and
  • Family issues such as an injury, illness or bereavement.

You will be required to bring verification of your circumstances before support can be provided. Without such verification, it is likely you request for support will be denied.

We do not provide letters of support for extensions when the exceptional circumstances involve:

  • Purely medical conditions (please see your doctor for support);
  • Commitments to participate in elite sports or emergency services (please obtain verifying documentation from the team/club/organisation you are involved with); or
  • Unavoidable and unexpected work commitments (please obtain verification from your employer).

See the student administration forms page for the official form to apply for an assessment extension.

Refund and remission of fees

You must adhere to Curtin’s official process to be eligible for a refund and remission of fees.

Counselling Services supports your wish to request a refund or remission of fees if you have experienced:

  • Serious physical or psychological illness causing a serious loss of study time and preventing attendance at classes;
  • Personal or family circumstances, including the death or serious illness of a close relative, that significantly affected your study; or
  • A change of employment conditions that could not have been anticipated before the last date for withdrawal.

You will be required to bring verification of your circumstances before support can be provided. Without such verification, it is likely you request for support will be denied.

Medical diagnoses and conditions cannot be supported by a counsellor or disability advisor.

International students requesting to enrol in less than 100 credits

Though international students are normally required to maintain a full-time enrolment, they can seek to reduce their load under certain circumstances, including due to extenuating medical reason (for which they should see their doctor) or for extenuating personal reasons.

In this latter case, Counselling Services may be able to assist you in your application by providing supporting documentation. You’ll likely be required to provide verification of your circumstances, so bring this to Counselling Services when you make your request for supporting documentation.

Note: According to the Department of Home Affairs, financial hardship and poor English skills are not considered valid reasons for reducing study load and support will not be provided when these are the only relevant circumstances.

See the student administration forms page for the official form to apply to reduce study load.

Leave of absence for international onshore students

Though international students are generally precluded from taking a Leave of Absence (LoA) due to their visa conditions, there is provision for this to occur where there are compassionate or compelling circumstances. Examples of such circumstances include:

  • Serious illness;
  • Serious illness of a close relative;
  • Bereavement; or
  • Pregnancy.

Counselling Services may be able to assist you in providing a supporting letter for this application. You’ll likely be required to provide verification of your circumstances, so bring this to Counselling Services when you make your request for supporting documentation.

See the student administration forms page for the official form to apply to leave of absence as an international onshore student.

Appeals against status

Counselling Services does not provide organisational support to students who have been terminated or placed on conditional status (i.e. no letters of support will be provided). Instead, if you’re affected in this way, see Curtin’s help with academic status page, which details what to do if you’re on conditional or terminated status.

The Counselling Service does, however, provide personal counselling if you’re experiencing acute stress after receiving your results, or needing therapeutic help regarding the circumstances that affected your study. See how to make an appointment.

Statutory declarations

Often written verification will involve the need for you to complete a statutory declaration. This is a document which becomes legally binding once it is witnessed by an eligible individual, and on that basis can be used for or against the person making the declaration in a court of law.

You can download a statutory declaration to print off and complete from the WA Police website.