Taking Time Off

Image of a snowy day at Swarthmore College.

Sometimes students take a leave of absence from Swarthmore. Time away can be a valuable and productive experience. Students who take a leave of absence may engage in a wide range of activities during their time away. Those activities frequently include tending to health concerns, volunteering at an organization, working in a paid job, taking classes at another college or university (see Swarthmore "Transfer Credit" Policy), tending to personal or family concerns, resting, or reflecting.


As you contemplate a potential leave of absence or return from a leave of absence:

  • Academic advisor(s)
  • Financial Aid: If you receive financial aid, then you should consult with the Financial Aid Office staff
  • International Student Advisor (international students): consult with the Adviser to International Students and Scholars, Jennifer Marks-Gold.
  • Registrar ("December Finisher"): If you are contemplating completing your degree requirements in a Fall semester and graduating the following May/June, then you should talk with the Registrar.

With leave/return requests, you must contact Asst. Dean for Academic Affairs Liz Derickson.

Leave Request Deadlines: November 15 for a Spring semester leave of absence, April 1 for a Fall semester leave of absence. If you are considering a leave of absence after these deadlines, please reach out to Dean Derickson or another dean right away for advice. See the Leaving webpage for important details.

Return Request Deadlines: November 15 for a Spring semester return, July 1 for a Fall semester return (April 1 recommended, if possible). See the Returning webpage for important details.

Communication is key. Be sure to regularly read and respond to your Swarthmore email account, as that is our official way of communicating with you.

For more details, please see the website sections Leaving or Returning. Please also consult the Student Handbook, and the College Catalog sections on expenses & faculty regulations 8.5.

Questions? Concerns? Please reach out to your class dean or Dean Derickson.