Information for students about letters in support of
claims for extenuating circumstances written by the
University Counselling Service.
1. We are sometimes
asked by students, particularly at exam and coursework submission
time, to provide letters in support of claims for extenuating
2. Where appropriate we
offer letters of support to students who are in ongoing
counselling with us, (usually a minimum of three weekly
sessions). We feel able to do this because we have usually
witnessed how their situation has affected their psychological
well-being over a period, and thereby feel
confident in stating the likelihood that this will
have impacted on their studies.
3. We also receive
requests from students not in ongoing counselling
who come for one session only and describe
current difficult personal circumstances in order
to ‘get a letter’. These students often feel they have been
directed or ‘sent’ to us, do not usually desire to engage further
in the counselling process and will be seen, but it is more likely
they will be referred to someone more suited to providing the
written support and a letter from the Service declined.
There may be someone else who is party to
their circumstances who knows the student better or who has been
regularly providing support, and so is a more
appropriate source of written supporting evidence. Examples
could be the police or social services, a hospital doctor or
someone from the student’s church or temple.
4. If the student in the
above example wants to engage in the counselling process for a
number of sessions after the first appointment in
which they requested a letter, we may feel later
more able, having got to know them better, to write a letter of
support for them, however, this letter would only be relevant to
the period after which the student starts to engage in counselling
(see point 5).
5. Some students
approach us in search of a letter of support for something they
experienced some weeks or months earlier.
We generally do not write retrospective
letters as we do not consider ourselves the best witness to the
student’s prior emotional state. In such
circumstances, we would encourage the student to seek support from
someone who witnessed their difficulties at that
time. As before, this may include perhaps a doctor,
employer, local minister or community elder.
6. There is the rare
occasion when a student requests a different kind of letter from
us: one that simply acknowledges their attendance at a counselling
session on a certain date. In certain circumstances we are willing
to do this, but it is clear from the content of such a letter that
it is purely factual, rather than a letter of
support. In such circumstances we would advise the
student to seek more appropriate written support
to back their claim.
Any exceptional cases are referred to the Head
University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY
Course enquiries: 0800 953 3222, General enquiries: 01902 321000 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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