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Taking Time Off

Dean Bond Rose Garden next to Parrish Hall

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.


  • Leave Request Timeline: See the Leaving webpage for important details on how to submit a leave of absence request. If possible, students should request a leave of absence by November 15 for a Spring semester leave of absence, or by April 15 for a Fall semester leave of absence. However, leave requests are possible after April 15 or November 15. 
  • 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 website for important details.

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. Leaves from the College may occur for academic, disciplinary, health, or personal reasons and may be voluntary or required by the College.

New Student Gap Year questions? The leave of absence process applies to returning sophomores, juniors and seniors. New transfer students and first-year students are not eligible for a leave of absence. However, new first-year and transfer students are able to request a one-year deferral (gap year) of their admission; or two years for students participating in mandatory military service for their home country. New students (first-year and transfer) should contact Vice President and Dean of Admissions Jim Bock with enrollment deferral (gap year) questions.

Questions? Concerns? Please reach out to your assigned dean and/or Dean Liz Derickson.