Thinking About a Leave of Absence?

Many students take a leave of absence at some point during the undergraduate career.  Some take a leave to work or travel or to be at home with family.  Others enroll at another college or university to experience a different campus environment or to take courses not offered at Wesleyan.  Whatever reasons you may have for taking a leave, the more thought you put in to planning your leave, the better use you will make of your time away, and the more smoothly your transition back to campus life will go.

Planning your Leave

If you have been thinking about taking a leave absence, you should first make an appointment to meet with your class dean to discuss your needs and goals.  Your dean will help you determine whether a leave is best for you, and will also help you determine the duration of your leave and whether it will be necessary to modify your expected graduation term or class year standing to accommodate your time away. 

A leave of absence may be one or two semesters in length.  You may extend (or shorten) your leave while you are away. However, a leave of absence may be no longer than four consecutive semesters in length.  Your Wesleyan email account and WesPortal access will remain active during your leave.  

In addition to meeting with your class dean, you should also consult with your faculty advisor to get a sense of how your leave may affect your academic plans.  Sometimes, taking a leave of absence may lead to missing a required course for your major, or it may mean that your advisor will be going on sabbatical when you return.  In most cases, potential academic snags like these can be readily addressed with foresight and planning.

During your leave it is possible to take courses at another college or university and transfer the credit back to Wesleyan.  To do this, it is necessary to obtain pre-approval of your course from the appropriate academic department at Wesleyan.  While it is possible to obtain this permission after you have left campus, it is a lot easier to obtain approval while you are still here.  During the academic year, transfer credit can be obtained only from a domestic college or university; Wesleyan will not grant permission to transfer credit from a study abroad program or from a non-domestic college or university during the academic year (permission may be granted for these programs if they take place over the summer).

Before you leave campus, you should also check in with the Office of Residential Life and the Office of Financial Aid, if appropriate, to let them know about your plans. ResLife will let you know what you need to do about moving your belongs out of your room, returning your key, and making arrangements to participate in the General Room Selection process while you are away. Please see their policies regarding leaves here.

The leave of absence application form must be completed before your Leave of Absence or Withdrawal from Wesleyan will be processed. You also must consult with your faculty advisor about your plans. Leave of Absence forms are due prior to the first day of classes. Withdrawal from the University forms are due by the last day to withdraw from full-semester courses. Check the academic calendar for exact dates.

Continuing students who are considering taking a leave of absence for the fall semester, transferring, or withdrawing from the university, should notify their class dean prior to July 1. Notification received between July 1 and July 31 will result in a $500 charge, and those received after July 31 will result in a $1000 charge.

Students should submit a ticket to Residential Life asking for an exemption from the fee if their situation was due to emergent circumstances beyond their control.

If you are a financial aid recipient or have taken out loans, the Office of Financial Aid will be able to answer your questions about repayment or about how to submit next year’s financial aid application if you will be away from campus when the application is due. Be sure to review Student Account Center in WesPortal. Your student account must remain in good standing while on leave to ensure that you are eligible for pre-reg, housing, etc. upon your request for return.

The leave of absence application is submitted online at