Withdrawals, Leaves, and Reinstatement

Withdrawals, Leaves of Absence, and Reinstatement

The University expects that students who have matriculated in the college will remain enrolled as full-time students each semester, either at the University or on an approved study abroad or domestic study away program, until graduation. However, for a variety of reasons, a student or the University may determine that the student’s enrollment at the University should cease. Normally this period is temporary, and, after fulfilling any conditions required by the University, the student may apply for reinstatement.

Some students may plan substantially in advance to take a semester or two for intellectual or personal development, and the college may grant such students a leave of absence. Once granted a leave of absence, a student may return as planned, without applying for reinstatement, so long as the conditions of the leave are met. Most leaves of absence are granted for students pursuing study abroad or domestic study away.

Students who cease enrollment before graduation and who are not on a leave of absence are considered withdrawn from the college. Students may withdraw voluntarily, or may be withdrawn involuntarily, as when suspended for academic, disciplinary, or other reasons.

Withdrawals become official when the dean of students, after consultation with relevant offices, so designates. The dean of students sends the student a letter announcing the withdrawal and explaining any conditions for departure and return. If a student’s withdrawal takes place during a semester, then the student receives no credit for the semester, the student must leave within twenty-four hours of notification of withdrawal, and the student may return to the Domain only with written permission from the dean of students.

The registrar notes leaves of absence and withdrawals on students’ transcripts. For information on the University’s refund policy contact the treasurer's office.

Leaves of Absence

The college may grant a leave of absence, for up to two semesters, for intellectual or personal development. Students wishing a leave must send a formal request for leave, stating specific plans for the period of absence and the planned date of return, to the dean of students. If the dean approves the request, he will send a letter to the student explaining any conditions of the leave. A student who meets the conditions may return as planned as a full-time student without applying for reinstatement. Students who have not met the conditions at the conclusion of the leave of absence are withdrawn from the college and must apply for reinstatement as described in the next section.

The deadlines for submission of leave of absence applications for the Advent and Easter semesters are August 5 and January 5, respectively. Students who do not meet these deadlines but spend a semester or more away from Sewanee must apply for reinstatement. When application for reinstatement is necessary (and even in the rare event that the dean of students should approve a leave of absence request submitted after the deadline), the University retains the reservation deposit. A second reservation deposit is necessary to reserve a space in the college for the semester of planned re-entry.


Medical Withdrawals

Students who need to withdraw to receive treatment for physical illness or injury should contact the office of University Health Services and may apply to return to campus at the beginning of the first semester following the student’s recovery.

At the time of application for reinstatement, the individual’s physician must communicate the degree of recovery and ongoing medications to the office of University Health Services. The dean of students will explain any further conditions for reinstatement, if any, in the withdrawal letter.

Likewise, a student who needs to withdraw to seek treatment for chemical dependency, depression, or other psychological disorder must meet with a professional from the University Counseling Service and must apply for reinstatement.

With prior approval of the office of the University Counseling Service, the departing student should begin an off-campus course of therapy. At the time of application for reinstatement, the individual’s therapist must confirm the student’s successful completion of the approved therapy program with the University counselor. The dean of students will explain further conditions for reinstatement, if any, in the withdrawal letter.

Other Withdrawals, Including Suspensions

A student may withdraw for voluntary, non-medical reasons. The University, in turn, may require a student to withdraw. This latter practice is also known as suspension.

The University reserves the right to require a student who is not fulfilling minimal academic standards of performance, who is judged to be disruptive to the community, or who poses a threat, to withdraw. Students who pose a threat will likely be withdrawn.

Moreover, the dean of students, in the dean’s sole discretion, may judge that a student’s continued residence on campus is not in the best interest of the student or the University. In these rare cares, the dean of students may require the student to withdraw, and the withdrawal letter will provide clarification as to the nature of the difficulties which led to the withdrawal.

Students who voluntarily withdraw or are suspended are required to remain off-campus for the remainder of the semester, if the withdrawal occurs during a semester. Students who voluntarily withdraw, or are suspended due entirely to failure to meet certain academic standards of progress, may also be required to remain off-campus for one or more months. However, students who are suspended for disciplinary or honor code reasons, who voluntarily withdraw prior to suspension for one of these reasons, or who are suspended at the discretion of the dean of students, may be required to remain off-campus for one or more entire semesters.

In some cases a student may be required to meet one or more additional conditions, as for instance employment for a continuous period of some months; enrollment in one or more academic courses; or evaluation by qualified personnel for psychiatric or substance abuse conditions and completion of any indicated treatment.

Students Not Returning

Students who choose to leave the college after successfully completing the previous semester are placed on Not Returning status and are withdrawn from the college. The office of the dean of students asks that all students not returning to the college obtain and submit a Not Returning form. The form serves as a type of exit interview and prompts the dean’s office to notify other University offices regarding students who are not continuing in the college. Students interested in returning to the college after being placed on not returning status and withdrawn from the college may apply for reinstatement.


Students who are withdrawn from the college may apply for reinstatement. Applications for reinstatement are available from the office of the dean of students. Students must return the completed application and any required materials so that they are received by May 1 for the following Advent semester or November 15 for the following Easter semester. Reinstatement during summer terms is not normally permitted.

Reinstatement is not automatic. A faculty-staff committee meets in the weeks following each deadline and makes its decision after reviewing the application with all supporting materials and the student’s academic and social records at the University. The committee reserves the right to require additional documentation that the student is qualified and ready to return to rigorous academic work and social life. At its discretion, the committee may require an on-campus or phone interview.

The committee looks for evidence that an applicant is ready to return to all aspects of college life and be successful. The committee will not reinstate students if required progress toward graduation is not feasible, or if continued separation is considered to be in the best interest of the student, the University, or both.