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Withdrawal and Return to the College

Overview of Withdrawal Processes

A student may choose to withdraw during the semester because of an unexpected circumstance or opportunity, or because their capacity to function in an academic environment is compromised to the extent that they cannot meet the academic requirements for their classes and/or reside safely on campus. Whatever the reason for withdrawal, the student will be expected to remain away from the college for the semester following their withdrawal.

Types of Withdrawals from the College during the Semester:
Types of Absence from the College:
Return to the College after Withdrawal

Students returning from any withdrawal, taken for any reason, must apply to return. Detailed information about the process is available on the Class Dean's website.

Medical Clearance for Return after Withdrawal

In the case of a medical withdrawal, the student must provide documentation of treatment to the director of the Schacht Center. The documentation must address regained functional capacity through evidence of any of the following:

  • completion of coursework elsewhere (the Administrative Board may require a certain amount of credit at its review upon the student’s withdrawal)
  • engagement in a full-time activity such as employment (letter from supervisor)
  • consistent volunteer work (letter from supervisor).

If students are unable to engage in above activities due to disability-related reasons, modification to this requirement will be considered as a reasonable accommodation. In these circumstances, other readiness documentation will need to be provided.

The student's application for medical clearance should also outline a plan for self-care upon return. The director of the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness or their designee will review requests for readmission for withdrawals for medical reasons and determine medical clearance. The Return to Smith Committee makes the final decision. The Return to Smith Committee may deny an application to return if a student has been withdrawn from the College three times in consecutive or non-consecutive semesters.

In very rare instances the Administrative Board may decide that a student who withdraws for medical reasons during the semester is ineligible for return.

Information about Medical Leaves
Voluntary Medical Withdrawal during the Semester

A student may request a medical withdrawal during the semester should they determine that they cannot fulfill the academic requirements for their classes and/or a documented medical condition makes it difficult to successfully complete the semester.

The request to withdraw must be made in writing to their respective class dean, the director of the Schacht Center, or the directors for medical or counseling services.

Required Medical Withdrawal during the Semester

The director of the Schacht Center, the director for counseling services, and the director for medical services, or the dean of students (or their designee) may require a student to withdraw during the semester when the student:

  • presents a substantial risk of harm to self or others or fails to carry out substantial self-care obligations, or
  • significantly disrupts the educational or other activities of the college community
  • is unable to participate meaningfully in educational activities
  • requires a level of care from the college community which exceeds the resources and staffing that the college can reasonably be expected to provide for the student’s well-being.
Evaluation Committee/Appeal Processes for Required Medical Withdrawal/Denied Medical Clearance

Should a student wish to appeal a Required Medical Withdrawal, a denial of medical clearance, a denial of a medical withdrawal or if the College wishes to conduct a review of a student’s ability to remain a student at this time, an Evaluation Committee (EC) can be convened.

A student may seek an appeal by the Evaluation Committee by requesting a review within seven (7) days of the date of the withdrawal or denial of clearance. The Evaluation Committee's recommendation, following an appeal, will be given to the Administrative Board for reconsideration of its decision, as appropriate.Generally, the dean will only consider an appeal if new information, that was not available earlier, is included in the request. All requests should be made in writing and sent to the dean of students via email or c/o Dean of Students, Smith College, Clark Hall, 50 Elm Street, Northampton, MA 01063.

The members of the Evaluation Committee may include:

  • the dean of students
  • the associate dean of students
  • the director of Schacht Center for Health and Wellness,
  • the student’s class dean
  • the director of disability services

The EC may request that a representative from the Class Deans office, Residence Life or another area of the College present information about the student’s experience. In addition, other administrators may be added to the Evaluation Committee if expertise is needed that is not already represented on the EC.

The EC may ask the student (and if appropriate, the family) to participate in the review by inviting them to make a brief written or oral statement.

The EC has access to the student’s educational records as required for an appropriate review. A representative from the medical or counseling services may share information regarding the student’s health in limited circumstances or with the student’s expressed permission. The information shared may include hospital records if the student has been hospitalized, other information from outside providers or internal evaluations.

The EC is responsible for informing a student (and if appropriate, their parents or guardians) the result of the committee’s deliberations.

The EC's decision following consideration of all relevant information will be the final decision of the College. The Evaluation Committee will communicate its decision to the student and the appropriate administrative offices.

The Evaluation Committee meets as needed.

Updated August 2023