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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. 

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. 

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. In general, we recommend requesting return well before the deadline. 

  • Deadline for completing e-form for Fall semester return: July 1. If possible, we recommend requesting return before April 1, given that Fall course registration and housing selection typically occur in April.

  • Deadline for completing e-form for Spring semester return: November 15. 

If you need disability accommodations related to completing the return request e-form, you can contact Student Disability Services to explore the disability accommodations process. 

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 cannot access the Leave/Return Form, then contact Dean Derickson via email. If you cannot access email, then contact Dean Derickson by phone: call 610-328-8475 and leave a message. 

For an overview of the return process, read the below website content and/or the Return Checklist [PDF]. 

Subsequent steps

Class year

If you need to change your class year, email the Registrar's Office ( to make that request. If you are considering completing your degree requirements in a Fall semester, 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. 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.

Health Re-entry

Health re-entry documentation and conversation for students who took a leave for health reasons – Contact Counseling and Psychological Services (, 610-328-8059) and/or the Director of Student Health and Wellness Services (Casey Anderson, 610-328-8058) to provide documentation that describes your diagnoses, treatment, readiness to return to the college and related details. Related consultations are completed by phone or Zoom.


After your return request has been approved, you should contact residential life staff to request housing or to share your intent 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 and undocumented students should 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). Financial eligibility is determined separately from academic eligibility.

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.


If you are studying abroad through the Swarthmore Global Engagement office, that is not considered a "leave of absence." You must stay in close communication with the Swarthmore Global Engagement office staff as you pursue enrollment in an approved study abroad program or return from study abroad through the Swarthmore Global Engagement 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. 

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