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Personal Leave

There may be instances in which it is in a student's best interest to spend some time away from the college. Accordingly, students may pursue taking a personal leave from Davidson for medical or other needs. Students should be advised that the Dean of Students must approve a personal leave of more than two semesters, and that a personal leave of three or more consecutive semesters may result in a withdrawal from the college. Personal leaves are approved by the Dean of Students office, and a student must communicate with one of the deans before departing.

Academic leaves are coordinated through the Registrar. Contact the Registrar's office for information about academic leaves. Below you will find a list of the basic logistical steps for going on a personal leave and returning to the college.

In Order To Take A Personal Leave

Logistical Steps:

  1. Contact the Dean of Students office to communicate with a dean about your needs.
  2. Submit the brief Leave Application form (login required) or fill this out with your dean during your meeting.
  3. Provide the dean with up-to-date contact information to stay in touch with you during your leave.
  4. Meet with your hall counselor, RA, or other college staff member to check out of your room and turn in your room key before departing the campus. Please note that you will need to take all of your personal belongings with you.

Additional Information:

  • Going on personal leave may affect your financial aid package. We recommend that you contact the Office of Admission and Financial Aid to discuss financial considerations, if applicable.
  • Going on personal leave may affect your visa status if you are an international student. We recommend that you contact International Student Services to discuss this consideration, if applicable.
  • The Dean of Students office reserves the right to notify your parent or guardian of your intention to take a personal leave.

In Order to Return to Campus

Logistical Steps:

  1. Once your return to the college is approved, pre-register for classes for the semester that you anticipate returning to campus. You will need to watch your Davidson email for a message about your WebTree Pin and go through the regular class registration process.
  2. Select a student to serve as a proxy for you during the Residence Life housing lottery, and/or communicate with Mary Ann Shessler at mashessler@davidson.edu about your housing request. Please note the following housing priority deadlines:
    • March 15 - housing lottery held for fall semester assignments
    • November 1 - housing lottery held for spring semester assignments
  3. Follow regular communication and standard deadlines from the college about tuition payment, submission of financial aid documents, etc.

Additional Information:

  • You will maintain access to your Davidson email address while you are on leave from the college, and we strongly encourage that you check this email from time to time. Offices like Business Services and Residence Life will continue to email you about important deadlines at this email address.
  • The Dean of Students office coordinates the personal leave process and will reach out to you during your time away from the college. Please feel free to direct questions or concerns to 704-894-2225.
  • If you need to extend your personal leave beyond one semester, we encourage you to communicate with your faculty adviser and/or the Registrar's Office to establish a plan for completing the academic requirements for graduation.
  • In some cases the Dean of Students office may establish specific requirements for your return to campus if the circumstances of your departure warrant it. The goal of such conditions is to prepare you for a successful return to the college; for example, you may be asked to participate in a consultation with the Student Health and Counseling Center to facilitate a successful return. If the leave is health-related, any conditions or requirements for your return to campus will be based on an individualized assessment, including consideration of current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence. Careful consideration will be given to the opinions and recommendations of your treating physician or mental health professional, if available.

Exceptional Circumstances

Repeated or Extended Leaves

A student who has taken two consecutive semesters of personal leave from the college must get approval from the Dean of Students office to take a third consecutive semester of personal leave. A student who has taken three or more consecutive semesters of personal leave from the college, including any partial semesters and any mandatory leave of absence, may be withdrawn from the college and no longer be eligible for the regular reinstatement process.

A student in these circumstances who wishes to return to Davidson must contact the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and request readmission. The more extensive readmission process asks the student to document readiness to return to Davidson's rigorous academic environment, including, as appropriate, how the student's situation has changed or developed, to support a successful return.

Mandatory Personal Leave

Davidson provides a range of support services to address the medical needs of students, including mental health needs, within the context of the campus community. On occasion, students may be unable to perform the basic academic and/or non-academic activities of student life, or may experience health needs requiring a level of care that exceeds what the college can appropriately provide. In such circumstances, students may take a voluntary leave of absence. The Dean of Students office has the authority to place the student on a mandatory personal leave in situations where:

  • a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations or to participate meaningfully in educational activities;
  • current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health and safety of others;
  • a student poses an actual risk to their safety not based on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities;
  • a student's behavior is repeatedly disrupting the educational, residential, or other activities of the campus community;
  • a student demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to engage sufficiently in treatment while maintaining participation in campus life;
  • and the student does not want to take a leave voluntarily.

Before placing any student with a disability on a mandatory personal leave, Davidson will do an individualized assessment of observable functional criteria to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to continue to participate in Davidson's campus community without taking personal leave. Such decision may be appealed in writing to the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students.

Appealing Denial of Return to Campus

In the rare circumstance that a student's request to return to campus is denied on grounds of health or safety, or failure to satisfy specific requirements of return, the decision may be appealed in writing to the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students.

Additional Information

  • The following deadlines for planning future semesters of personal leave:
    • After March 15, a penalty of $250 is charged if a student receives approval for personal leave beginning the following fall semester.
    • A $500 penalty applies after June 15.
    • In like manner, a penalty of $250 is charged if a student notifies the college after November 1 that he or she does not intend to enroll for the spring semester.
    • A $500 penalty applies after January 1.
  • A student who receives approval for personal leave after the first two weeks of the semester have passed will have the grade "WA" (Authorized Withdrawal) recorded for the student's courses.
  • Davidson's policy is to refund 100 percent of tuition or room rent if a student takes a semester leave or withdraws before the tenth day of classes. Otherwise, no refund of tuition or room rent is made, regardless of whether the leave is voluntary or mandatory. Fees for meals are refunded on a pro rata basis as determined by the date of the leave or withdrawal. The college offers tuition-refund insurance through AWG Dewar, Inc. Detailed information may be obtained by calling 617-774-1555.
  • The college will make appropriate arrangements to ensure that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations as needed to participate in the Personal Leave process. Requests for accommodations must be made to the college's 504/ADA Coordinator.
  • Any student currently enrolled who believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability should consult the Student Disability Grievance Procedure.