Disrupted Studies

If you have experienced issues of a personal, social or domestic nature that have affected your post-16 studies, or your performance in any GCSE subjects cited in our course entry requirements, we would encourage you to let us know by completing our Disrupted Studies form.

We know it can be difficult to discuss these kinds of issues at length in the UCAS application. The Disrupted Studies form gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how your situation has affected or may affect your academic achievement. These should be circumstances that have not already been mitigated by an examination board or taken into account prior to awarding marks for formal assessments, such as coursework.

The following are examples of some situations which would qualify for consideration (please note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • Undertaking the role of main carer in the home for a parent or guardian, sibling or other immediate family member
  • A period of ill-health affecting performance in examinations or other pieces of assessed work
  • Bereavement of an immediate family member
  • A period of teacher absence in subjects that are material to you meeting your offer conditions
  • You are from a care background, or have spent a period of more than three months in looked-after care
  • Other personal, social or domestic circumstances, such as a relationship breakdown at home
  • A disability or long-standing medical condition.

Please note that information that sets your application in its educational or socio-economic context, for example if you live in an area with low participation in higher education, is not considered via the Disrupted Studies scheme. This information will be handled in accordance with our Contextual Data Policy Statement.

Your notification of Disrupted Studies should:

  • arrive via our Disrupted Studies form, which should be completed in full
  • be supported by your UCAS referee or appropriate third party
  • where possible, arrive at the same time as your UCAS application
  • be corroborated with an item of third-party evidence, such as a letter from your doctor

If we receive information after you have made your UCAS application, we cannot guarantee to consider this when deciding whether or not to invite you to interview or make you an offer. However, information will still be accepted until 31 July of the year of application, and will be reviewed when exam results are released in August.

More information is available below:

Guidance for applicants

We realise that there are some issues that cannot be discussed fully within the personal statement in your UCAS application. These are often things of a sensitive nature. The University of Sheffield's Disrupted Studies scheme provides you with an opportunity to tell us more about any circumstances that have caused, or may still be causing, significant disruption to your post-16 studies, or to any GCSE subjects that are needed as part of our course entry requirements.

Please read this guidance carefully and ensure you liaise with your UCAS referee prior to completing our Disrupted Studies form.

Eligibility

The Disrupted Studies form should only be completed if you are applying for one or more undergraduate courses at the University of Sheffield. We have decided not to publish a list of qualifying criteria, although examples of circumstances that would qualify for consideration are provided on the Disrupted Studies homepage. All we ask is that you use the form to tell us about circumstances that have affected you and which have been outside your immediate control.

Completing the Disrupted Studies form

Part One of the Disrupted Studies form should be completed, signed and dated by you, the applicant, including the following information:

  • Specific information about any extended absences from your studies that were caused by these circumstances (for example dates/times)
  • A demonstration of how these circumstances have affected, or may go on to affect your ability to meet our standard requirements for admission to your chosen course(s)

Part Two of the form is for your UCAS referee to complete. All sections of the form must be completed in full before it is returned to us.

We ask that you provide supporting evidence with your Disrupted Studies form (for example a doctor's letter), but we understand that in some situations this may not be possible. Where such third-party evidence is not available we may go back to your referee for further corroboration.

Deadlines

Where possible, Disrupted Studies forms should reach us at the same time as the UCAS application. In terms of invitation to interview or issuing offers, we cannot guarantee to consider any information received after this deadline. However, information will still be accepted until 31 July of the year of application.

All Disrupted Studies forms may be subject to further review when exam results are released.

What happens to the information you provide?

The information will be passed to the academic selector(s) for the course(s) you have applied for, who will assess it in accordance with the University's Student Admissions Policy.

Information submitted via the Disrupted Studies form will be recorded on your applicant record. This will enable us both to assess the results of the scheme and to provide you with any relevant pre-entry support. All data is held in accordance with Data Protection protocols and will not be shared beyond the University of Sheffield.

If you are accepted under the Disrupted Studies scheme and go on to register as a student at the University, we will pass your details to our Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or Student Transitions and Support team, as appropriate.

Please note that information provided via the Disrupted Studies form does not guarantee the offer of a place, nor a lower offer than stated in our published course entry requirements.

Guidance for referees

What is the Disrupted Studies scheme?

The Disrupted Studies scheme is a University-wide initiative providing an opportunity for our undergraduate applicants to tell us more about any circumstances that have adversely affected their post-16 studies, or grade outcomes for GCSE subjects that form part of our published course entry requirements.

We want our academic selectors to have all the information they need to enable holistic decision-making, especially if an applicant has experienced disadvantage. However, we recognise that it can be difficult for both applicants and their referees to elaborate on these issues within the constraints of either the UCAS personal statement or reference, especially if this information is of a sensitive nature.

Notifications via our Disrupted Studies form should normally be initiated and supported by the applicant's UCAS referee(s), their designate(s) or another appropriate third party. In some instances the University may contact an applicant's UCAS referee directly to encourage their support in getting an applicant to complete a Disrupted Studies form.

Eligibility

We do not issue prescriptive qualifying criteria for the Disrupted Studies scheme, given that applicants may be subject to any number of factors outside their control. Instead, we have provided examples of circumstances that would qualify for consideration.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Service's Access team:

disruptedstudies@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 222 1410

Completing the form

Part 1 of the form should be completed and signed by the applicant, and should include the following information:

  • Specific information about any extended absences from their studies that were caused by these circumstances (for example dates/times)
  • A demonstration of how these circumstances have affected, or may go on to affect, their ability to meet our standard requirements for admission to their chosen course(s)

Part 2 is for the referee to complete, and should be a statement confirming the details supplied by the applicant in Part 1, and providing information about the applicant's academic trajectory and any barriers to their continuation in post-16 education.

If you are supporting a non-mature (aged under 21) student in their application to a Foundation Year course at our Department for Lifelong Learning, please note that we provide a separate Disrupted Studies form  for this purpose, and require additional information to be supplied by the applicant in Part 1 of the form.

While we trust that statements from the referee are a complete and accurate record, we may ask applicants to provide further evidence from a third party (for example a doctor's letter). We understand that this may not always be possible, in which case we may approach the referee for further corroboration.

While every effort has been made to minimise the burden on both applicants and referees wishing to notify us of Disrupted Studies, we ask you to complete one form for each applicant.

Deadlines

Where possible, Disrupted Studies forms should reach us at the same time as the UCAS application. In terms of invitation to interview or issuing offers, we cannot guarantee to consider any information received after this deadline. However, information will still be accepted until 31 July of the year of application.

All Disrupted Studies forms may be subject to further review when exam results are released.

How will this information be used?

All information will be passed to our academic selectors and will be assessed alongside the UCAS application in accordance with the University's Student Admissions Policy. This will help our selectors to make a holistic academic judgment at each of the three admissions decision-making moments: selection for interview (where relevant); offer-making; and Confirmation (confirming places following the release of exam results).

Information submitted via the Disrupted Studies form will be recorded on the applicant record. This will enable us both to assess the results of the scheme and to provide any relevant pre-entry support. All data is held in accordance with Data Protection protocols and will not be shared beyond the University of Sheffield.

Please note that information that sets the application in its educational or socio-economic context will not be considered via this route. This information will be handled in accordance with our Contextual Data Policy Statement.

Where applicants accepted under the Disrupted Studies scheme go on to register as students at the University, we will pass their details to our Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or Student Transitions and Support team, as appropriate.

Guidance for non-mature (U21) students applying for courses in the Department for Lifelong Learning

Courses at the Department for Lifelong Learning are designed specifically for mature learners who have been out of education for some time and have not previously accessed higher education. The requirements for entry are different from those for students wishing to enter directly onto a degree course. However, applications from non-mature students can be considered if they meet the following criteria.

To be eligible to apply, applicants should:

  • Not have been in recent, full time post-16 education

Or

  • Have experienced extenuating circumstances which have had a demonstrable impact on their Level 3 achievements.

Non-mature applicants will still be expected to demonstrate that they:

  • Have the potential to succeed on their chosen degree course, evidenced by a combination of work, life and prior educational experience
  • Have an understanding of and commitment to the subject-area of their chosen degree course
  • Are prepared for the demands of full-time undergraduate degree-level study

In order to demonstrate how they meet these eligibility criteria, all non-mature applicants are expected to notify the Department for Lifelong Learning of their disrupted studies by completing the department's bespoke Disrupted Studies form.

Completing the Disrupted Studies form

Part One of the Disrupted Studies form should be completed, signed and dated by you, the applicant, including the following information:

  • Specific information (for example dates/times) about issues of a personal, social or domestic nature that have affected your completion of any post-16 studies, or any GCSE subjects cited in our course entry requirements
  • An account of previous work, life and educational experience in lieu of formal qualifications, demonstrating your preparedness for university study

Part Two of the form is for your UCAS referee to complete. All sections of the form must be completed in full before it is returned to us.

We ask that you provide evidence with your Disrupted Studies form (for example a doctor's letter), but we understand that in some situations this may not be possible. Where such third-party evidence is not available we may go back to your referee for further corroboration.

Deadlines

Where possible, Disrupted Studies forms should reach us at the same time as the UCAS application. In terms of invitation to interview or issuing course offers, we cannot guarantee to consider any information received after this deadline. However, information will still be accepted until 31 July of the year of application.

All Disrupted Studies forms may be subject to further review when exam results are released.

What happens to the information you provide?

The information will be passed to the academic selector(s) for the course(s) you have applied for, who will assess it in accordance with the University's Student Admissions Policy.

Information submitted via the Disrupted Studies form will be recorded on your applicant record. This will enable us both to assess the results of the scheme and to provide you with any relevant pre-entry support. All data is held in accordance with Data Protection protocols and will not be shared beyond the University of Sheffield.

If you are accepted under the Disrupted Studies scheme and go on to register as a student at the University, we will pass your details to our Disability and Dyslexia Support Service or Student Transitions and Support team, as appropriate.

Please note that information provided via the Disrupted Studies form does not guarantee the offer of an interview or study place with the Department for Lifelong Learning.

Please note:

  • Information provided via the Disrupted Studies form does not guarantee the offer of a place.
  • We do not normally issue Disrupted Studies candidates with lower offers than indicated in our published course entry requirements.
  • Information received via the Disrupted Studies scheme will not be used in support of an application for financial support.

Applicants with disabilities or from a care background

We welcome applications from disabled students and invite them to use the Disrupted Studies form where relevant, but also to declare their circumstances in their UCAS application. More information about support is available via the University of Sheffield's Disability and Dyslexia Support Service.

Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

We welcome applications from students from a care background and strongly encourage care leavers to declare this information in their UCAS application, in addition to completing a Disrupted Studies form. Please see our Student Community pages  for more information about the support available for students from care.

Students from care

If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact the Admissions Service's Access team:

disruptedstudies@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 222 1410