EX&S Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: The Committee on Examinations and Standing is on summer recess. They will meet again in the 2nd week of the fall semester – the day has not yet been determined. Please refrain from submitting additional petition materials or support until August 1st. We are revamping the submission process and you may have to re-submit materials if you submit before that date.

EX&S Frequently Asked Questions

When do I petition?

If you have experienced extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting your responsibilities, you may petition the Committee for help. You may petition for permission to add or drop a course after the deadline, for permission to return to the University after a suspension, for waivers of rules or requirements, and for other actions pertaining to your academic status.

If you have a problem that a professor or a department has the authority to solve, it is wise to approach the professor or department before petitioning the Committee, because the Committee will usually refer such matters to the professor or department for action.

Do my circumstances qualify?

The committee is charged with approving exception to the rules as extenuating circumstances warrant. This usually includes circumstances outside the student's control such as illness, family emergencies and accidents. Circumstances within the student’s control are not considered justifiable cause for an exception.

Reasons for granting a petition must be fair to other students in a course. Do not say, "I've been working on a play at my college, and I want to drop a course late to avoid a bad grade", "I want to drop this course after the deadline because I am not doing well and a low grade will look bad on my transcript", or “I want to pass/fail this course after the deadline because I changed my major and it is no longer a required course for my major.” Participating in extracurricular activities, wanting an impressive transcript, or changing a major are not considered extenuating circumstances.

Students are expected to assess their progress and act accordingly before published deadlines.

What if my circumstances are personal in nature?

Occasionally, students are faced with circumstances that are personal and/or difficult to share but the committee needs a full set of facts in order to make a fair and informed decision. Students are encouraged to be as forthcoming as possible. All committee meetings are confidential, with only committee members privy to the proceedings, and all discussions ending at the close of the meeting.

What is the petitioning process?

  1. Submit your petition to EXS@rice.edu.
  2. Submit supporting documentation to EXS@rice.edu.
  3. Have your professor submit his/her input regarding your request via EXS@rice.edu.
  4. If clarification or additional information is needed before your petition can be heard you will be notified via your Rice email.
  5. If applicable, submit revisions and/or additional supporting documentation.
  6. File is prepared for the committee’s review.
  7. Petition is presented to committee for consideration and a decision is reached.
  8. Decision and any further instructions are communicated via Rice email.
  9. If applicable, student follows instructions indicated in decision email to finalize process.

How do I write a petition?

A petition should be written as a letter, addressed to the Committee on Examinations and Standing. It should begin with your request, followed by reasons for making the request, a description of the extenuating circumstances, and documentation from physicians, instructors, or others that proves your description is true and that your request is feasible.

Some questions you might need to address in your petition would include:

  • How did your circumstances prevent you from meeting the deadline?
  • How have you resolved your circumstances to ensure the likelihood of meeting future deadlines?
  • If making a request based on a single course, how did your circumstances affect you in one course and not others?
Do you have a petition template?

There is no specific template for a petition. The petition needs to be formatted as a letter, include all relevant information, and be concise. The petition can be written in the body of the email, or as a doc or pdf attachment. Please do not send other file types as it could delay the process.

While each petition will be different, as the request is based on individual circumstances, below is a sample of a simple petition.

September 23, 20XX

Mailing Address

Houston, TX 77251

Dear Members of the Committee on Examinations and Standing:

I request approval to add English 381 after the add deadline. Three days before the deadline for adding courses, I was hospitalized for a broken leg after an auto accident in Galveston, and I was unable to submit my drop/add form on time.

Please approve my request because I could not anticipate this accident and I have done all the work for the class to date. I have been attending the class regularly since the second week of the semester, and I have Professor X's approval to add the class. A memo indicating the instructor's approval and a memo confirming my circumstances from Dr. XX, the college magister will be sent directly to EXS@rice.edu. Letters from the physician in Galveston and a photocopy of the accident report are also attached.


Full Legal Name, Student ID
Residential College
Phone Number

NOTE: A petition to drop classes would be worded similarly, but the student should state that he/she stopped attending the class early in the semester, or never attended, and did not complete any assignments or exams.

What documentation do I need to include?

The committee will require confirmation of your circumstances; therefore you will need to submit documentation to support your claim.

For example, if you claim that illness prevented you from submitting your drop/add form on time, you should attach a physician's statement that you were in the hospital or under care at the time of the deadline. If you claim that you should be permitted to add a course late and that the instructor has agreed to your adding the course, submit a confirming statement from the professor, written on department letterhead or emailed directly to EXS@rice.edu. If your request is due to a death, you will need to provide an obituary.

Confirming statements and/or input from the professor MUST be written on department letterhead or emailed from the professor directly to EXS@rice.edu.

If you are stating medical reasons but do not have medical documentation, please have your masters, RAs and/or professors confirm your circumstances.

An unsupported or undocumented request is unlikely to be approved.

How do I submit a petition?

Type your petition, attach any necessary supporting documents, and, from your Rice email address, email it to EXS@rice.edu before the weekly deadline. Please be sure to include your full legal name, student ID number, college, and a number you can be reached.

How do I submit supporting documentation?

If you have a confirming statement from your professor, it must be written on department letterhead or emailed directly to EXS@rice.edu.

If you need to submit medical documentation or other supporting documents, you can send them via email to EXS@rice.edu or fax at 713-348-5322. If being sent directly from your medical provider or other third party, please ask that they include your name in the subject line of the email or on the fax cover sheet.

When does the committee meet?

The committee meets weekly during the academic year, taking a break for winter recess and university holidays.

What is the deadline to submit my petition?

Please note: The Committee on Examinations and Standing is on summer recess. They will meet again in the 2nd week of the fall semester – the day has not yet been determined. Please refrain from submitting additional petition materials or support until August 1st. We are revamping the submission process and you may have to re-submit materials if you submit before that date.

Do I need to attend the meeting?

EX&S Committee meetings are confidential; therefore, petitioning students do not attend the meetings. The committee chair will present the petition and supporting documentation to the committee for consideration.

What are the chances that my petition is approved?

Each petition is reviewed individually and a decision is rendered based on the unique facts of each case. Therefore it is impossible to predict the likelihood of approval.

I submitted my petition, when will I get a decision?

If the petition and all supporting documentation were received by the deadline, and your case reviewed by the committee, usually a decision will be communicated via your Rice email account within 48 hours of the meeting conclusion. The committee’s decision is communicated via letter, and will not be provided over the phone or in response to email inquires regarding the decision.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you need to discuss your situation before submitting a petition, or have additional questions regarding the process please contact Tamara Jones, Student Services Administrator, at tamarajones@rice.edu or 713-348-4997.