Medical & Emotional Difficulties

Medical & Emotional Difficulties

Life throws curveballs from time to time. If you encounter personal challenges during your degree, we’re here to help. Supporting LFS students is our job! If something goes off the rails, get in touch with us at Student Services. We’ll help you find the support you need to get back on track.

On this page, you’ll find information about the LFS academic advisors, missing classes or exams, academic concessions, and links to other resources.

When Things Go Sideways, Talk to an Academic Advisor

We know that what you are going through may be difficult to share. You may not feel comfortable telling us exactly what’s going on, and that’s okay. You’re not required to share personal details with us, but disclosing what’s going on to an academic advisor is important so that we can offer our support. For example, we can help you navigate the academic impact of missing classes or a final exam. We can also help you access resources and services that may be helpful. All details shared in an advising interaction remain confidential and we are very protective of the information you share with us. The only time an academic advisor may share information is when a UBC-related resource needs to know in order to help you (e.g. Centre for Accessibility, UBC Counselling Services, UBC Student Health) — and we talk about it with you beforehand.

Missing Classes? Missing a Final Exam?

In-Term Concessions:

Short-term absences from class

In your time at LFS, you may experience a short-term complication or issue that prevents you from attending class, writing a midterm exam, or completing an in-class test or assignment. If you need to miss class, you may be able to catch up on class notes by contacting a fellow classmate. Establishing a connection with your classmates early on can provide you with a support network for such instances, and we encourage you to do so — it’s a skill that’s useful in the working world, too, as you would similarly need to catch up with colleagues after having missed a day or two of work. If you miss an in-class test or midterm, you will need to connect with your instructor directly and refer to your course outline for their attendance policies and academic concession (see below) policies. LFS Student Services advisors rarely get involved in academic concession cases related to a short-term absence, but if you need further assistance, please visit our office.

Long-term absences from class

If you are facing issues that affect your in-class attendance for an extended period of time (e.g. health concerns, a death in the family, mental distress etc.), the first step is to address them. If you are feeling unwell, anxious or low, there are many on-campus services available to you to access and receive support. In the case of a long-term absence, you may miss too many lectures to realistically catch up in your courses. When considering withdrawing from one or multiple courses, it’s best to consult with an academic advisor about how this decision will impact you academically. You may also need to contact your enrolment services advisor (ESA) to discuss any potential impact on scholarships or bursaries, your student loan eligibility, your residence contract, or your athletics eligibility. If the withdrawal deadline for your course has passed, you will need to consult with an LFS academic advisor to discuss a late withdrawal, which is a type of academic concession (see below).

End of Term Concessions:

Absence from a final exam

You may experience an unforeseen event or illness that prevents you from writing a scheduled final exam. If you are affected by a family emergency, accident or illness, be sure to take care of yourself and access the support you need, then notify LFS Student Services as soon as you’re able. If you are dealing with a medical or personal situation that affects your ability to complete coursework or write a final exam, an academic concession in the form of a course withdrawal or deferred standing may be considered (see below).

​What is an Academic Concession?

Note: LFS follows the institutional policy related to ‘Academic Concessions’ found in the UBC Academic Calendar. There is a lot of information there, so we’re highlighting things for you here – however, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to ask for an academic concession, we strongly encourage you to read through the details in the Calendar so you’re well informed.

An academic concession is an academic exception or extension that is formally granted to you by your instructor or by LFS Student Services when you encounter unexpected events or circumstances that impact your ability to participate in or complete your academics. All requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and decisions will be influenced by one or more of the following factors:

  • the nature and duration of the issue that’s affecting you;
  • confidential consultation with other appropriate units who can provide professional opinions on your situation;
  • the scope and type of academic work affected;
  • the proportion of prescribed academic work completed at the point in the term or program when academic work is affected; and,
  • your achievements in the course or program to date.

Grounds for Academic Concession

You may be eligible for an academic concession when one or more of the following conditions applies to your situation:

If you’re registered with the Centre for Accessibility, and your request is related to why you’re registered with them, please reach out to your Accessibility Advisor, and they will be in touch with LFS Student Services or your instructor, as needed.

It is important that you notify your instructor or LFS Student Services as early as possible when making a request for academic concession, so your request can be assessed in a timely manner with the least impact on your academics, and to reduce your anxiety as you wait for a response.

Types of Academic Concession

Which form of academic concession you are granted will be determined by your unique set of circumstances, and the influential factors listed above. It is important to note that if you have received one form of academic concession in the past, you cannot expect to receive the same decision in the future. Each situation is assessed on its own merits and circumstances. Please go here to see a list of types of academic concessions (such as deferred standing, late withdrawals, etc.) you may be granted.

How to Request an Academic Concession

In the event that your request is for missing classes, assignments, quizzes, exams, etc. that take place within a course, this is referred to as an “in-term concession.” You should check your instructor’s course syllabus to understand what options they have already outlined for you, and connect with them as early as possible to discuss things. Depending on the circumstances, you and your instructor may come to an agreement and LFS Student Services will not be involved.

Your instructor may ask you to complete a Self-Declaration form required by their department to process your request, or refer you to LFS Student Services for next steps and approval.

If your situation is impacting performance or attendance your across all of your courses, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are welcome to visit LFS Student Services to discuss things and we can always work with you to connect with your instructors and help you navigate things.

In all other cases, especially when you miss a formal final exam, you will need to contact an Academic Advisor in LFS Student Services to request academic concession by following these steps:

  1. Contact us as soon as possible
  2. You can make your request in person, by phone, or by email
  3. Be prepared to provide or obtain additional relevant or necessary documentation

In the event that you are denied academic concession, and you feel the policy was not applied appropriately in your case, you are welcome to learn more about Senate Appeals on Academic Standing.

If you’ve been assigned Deferred Standing (SD)

This means you have been granted the deferral of a final exam beyond the end of term, and the notation of “SD” will be posted to your academic record to indicate this approval. The “SD” will be replaced when the final exam has been written and a final grade has been assessed by your instructor. You will be expected to write deferred final exams during the official deferred examination period set by Enrolment Services. It is your responsibility to arrange your schedule to be available at these times. Please note the examination periods may be different for specific courses in various Faculties, so be sure to read the email from the LFS Academic Advisor carefully and note the dates in your calendar right away. LFS Student Services will email you to outline specific information in relation to your exam, but it is your responsibility to follow through with the instructions and attend the deferred exam. A deferred final exam cannot be deferred again, so it is important to attend.

Other resources you can access

UBC has many groups, resources and experts who can help keep you feeling focused and supported during your time here. When the going gets tough, reach out! We’re all in this together. And we’ll help you get through. Start here:

Still Have Questions?

We’re always here to help. Pick up the phone, send us an email, or better yet, drop by our office.