Skip to main content


birds eye view of Swarthmore campus buildings

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus, when you are ready to return and after you have been permitted to return. This website describes the Return ("readmission") process, which most students successfully complete. 

Please know that the readmission process is not the Admissions process and it is not competitive. The overwhelming majority of students who seek return successfully complete the readmission process. Students who have successfully completed the readmission steps in a timely way have been readmitted.

STEP 1: Required Leave/Return Form

If you wish to return to Swarthmore following a leave of absence, then you must complete the required Leave/Return e-form to request return. The e-form is available in the student e-forms section of mySwarthmore.

  • Deadline for completing e-form for Fall semester return: July 1. If possible, we recommend requesting return before April 1

  • Deadline for completing e-form for Spring semester return: November 15. We typically begin reviewing Spring return requests in mid-October.

Within 5 business days of submitting your Leave/Return Form, you should receive an email that tells you whether or not your return has been approved. After reviewing your Leave/Return Form, Dean Liz Derickson may also email you to advise you on other necessary steps related to your return. If you were advised upon leaving Swarthmore that there were other requirements related to your return, then please also address those in your e-form return request.

You are not permitted to return until you have received formal email notification that you are permitted to return. If you do not receive a follow-up email message in response to your submitted Leave/Return Form within 5 business days, then please contact Dean Derickson via email. If you can not access email, then please contact Dean Derickson by phone: call 610-328-8475 and leave a message.

Please read the Return Checklist [PDF] for an overview of the return process. 

Subsequent steps

Class year

If you need to change your class year, please email the Registrar's Office ( to make that request. If you are considering completing your degree requirements in a Fall semester, be sure to review the December Finisher process website. Please note that the college only graduates students in May of each year, and there is not a December graduation.

Course Registration

If your return request is approved, then you should consult with your academic advisor(s) and select courses once advising and registration are underway. Please see the Registrar's website on Pre-Registration from Away.


If applicable, you should contact Student Disability Services to request academic, housing, or other disability accommodations.

Financial Aid

If applicable, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.


After your return request has been approved, you should contact Star Longoria (Director of Residential Life) to request college housing or to notify her that you plan to live in non-college housing. For more information on the housing selection process, please see the website on Seeking Housing following a Leave


International students must be sure to consult with Jennifer Marks-Gold (Asst. Dean and Director of the International Student Center).

  • Impact of Taking a Leave of Absence on F-1 Practical Training Eligibility: International students returning from a Leave of Absence enter the U.S. on a new, initial I-20.  For this reason, they must complete another full academic year in F-1 status before they are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  If you plan to apply for OPT, you must be enrolled as a full-time student for at least 2 semesters prior to your anticipated OPT start date.

Logistical Notes

Student Accounts

Students who have not satisfied their financial obligations are not permitted to return to campus, to attend any classes, to live in campus housing, nor have a meal plan. If you have questions about student accounts, please contact Linda Weindel (Student Accounts Office Manager).

Student Health Insurance Plan

All students who are approved for return are enrolled by default in the Swarthmore student health insurance plan (SHIP). Annually, all returning (and continuing, and incoming) students are required to provide the Student Health Center with proof of health insurance coverage. This applies even if your insurance remains the same from last year. Students may waive out of the plan if they meet the College requirements and provide proof of insurance. Additional information can be found on the Student Health and Wellness website.

Off-Campus Study

If you are studying abroad through the Swarthmore Off-Campus Study Office, please know that is not considered a "leave of absence." You must stay in close communication with the Off-Campus Study Office staff as you pursue enrollment in an approved study abroad program or return from study abroad through the Off-Campus Study office, to be sure that you are meeting important deadlines and following necessary procedures.

Normally, students who are returning from leave must be successfully re-admitted to the college and then complete at least one semester at the college before being approved for a subsequent semester abroad. However, the expectation of completing at least one semester at the college following readmission before a semester of study abroad is being waived in 2021-22.

For more details, please see the Student Handbook, and the College Catalog sections on expenses & faculty regulations 8.5.