Student Handbook

Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

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 from the college.

Types of Separations from the College:

Types of Withdrawals from the College:

Types of Leave from the College:

If the student withdraws from the college within the first five weeks of the semester (the add-drop deadline), she may be granted an additional semester in which to complete the degree or she may be required to earn credit while away from the college.

If the student withdraws from the college within the first five weeks of the semester, they may be able to recoup the semester in which to complete the degree. If a student withdraws after the completion of the fifth week, an additional semester will be granted only under exceptional circumstances.

All withdrawals taken during the semester for any reason are reviewed by the Administrative Board, which may impose additional conditions in order for the student to be eligible for readmission, such as earned credit while away from the college.

Return to the College after Withdrawal
Students returning from any withdrawal, taken for any reason, must request readmission. Detailed information about the process is available on the Class Dean’s website.

In the case of a medical withdrawal, the student must provide documentation of treatment to the director of the Schacht Center, the associate director for medical services, or the associate director for counseling services. 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).

The student may also be asked to outline a plan for self-care upon return. The director and/or the associate directors of the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness will review requests for readmission for withdrawals for medical reasons and determines medical clearance. The Administrative Board makes the final decision. The Administrative Board may deny readmission to any student who has 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 readmission.

Information about Medical Leaves

Voluntary Medical Withdrawal during the Semester
A student may request a medical withdrawal during the semester should she determine that she cannot fulfill the academic requirements for her classes and/or a documented medical condition makes it difficult successfully to complete the semester.

The request to withdraw must be made in writing to a Class Dean, the Director of the Schacht Center, or the Associate Directors of Medical or Counseling Services.

Required Withdrawal during the Semester
The director of the Schacht Center, the associate director for counseling services, the associate director for medical services, or the dean of students 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, or
  • is unable to participate meaningfully in educational activities, or
  • 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
Should a student wish to appeal a Required 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.

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 Class Deans, 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 on an as-needed basis. The information shared may include hospital records if the student has been hospitalized, or other information from outside providers, or internal evaluations.

The EC is responsible for informing a student (and if appropriate, her 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.

Appeal Process
A student may seek an appeal by the Evaluation Committee by requesting a review by the Dean of the College within seven (7) days of the date of the finding of the Evaluation Committee. Appeals will be heard regarding a decision to require medical withdrawal or for denial of medical clearance. The Evaluation Committee's recommendation following an appeal will be given to the Administrative Board for reconsideration of its decision.

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:
Appeal - Required Medical Withdrawal/Denied Medical Clearance
c/o Dean of the College
Smith College
College Hall 203
Northampton, MA 01063