Medical Leaves allow students to leave mid-semester or at the end of a semester to address medical or psychological issues that interfere with their health, happiness and/or success and to prepare to return and to thrive at the College. To initiate a medical leave, students consult not only their dean but also a member of the medical or counseling staff at the Bryn Mawr College Health and Wellness Center. If working with medical professionals outside the College, they ask their providers to speak with the Director of Medical Services or the Director of Counseling.
While on medical leave, students are expected to receive appropriate care, resolve the issues that led to the leave, and develop new strategies through sustained therapy and/or meaningful work. As the leave progresses, students are encouraged to engage in activities that test their strategies and demonstrate their ability to manage challenging situations, such as employment, volunteer responsibilities, or part-time coursework at a college near home. Students are advised to consult our transfer credit policy and may apply to transfer up to two Bryn Mawr units per semester away.
Occasionally, a member of the College’s Health and Wellness Center or Dean’s Office may recommend that a student take a medical leave.
In such cases, a student may decline and instead attempt to address their issues while remaining enrolled. In a small subset of these situations, the Dean of the College will convene a confidential evaluation committee comprised of representatives from the Health and Wellness Center, the Residential Life Office, and/or the Undergraduate Dean’s Office to make a holistic and individualized assessment of whether to mandate a leave of absence. The Dean will do so if it appears that the student may be
- presenting a substantial risk of harm to self or others,
- significantly disrupting educational or other activities of the College community,
- unable to participate meaningfully in educational activities,
- requiring 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, or
- presenting other evidence of insufficiently good physical or psychological health to meet academic commitments or to continue in residence at the College.
In evaluating the need to mandate a leave, the committee may consult with the student and with other community members as the committee deems appropriate. At the student’s request, the committee may consider psychological and medical assessments made by the student’s medical providers as well as by the College’s Health and Wellness Center staff. The committee will consider alternative interventions such as reducing the student’s course load. If the committee determines that these alternatives are insufficient or impractical and that a leave is necessary, they will require that the student take a medical leave. The committee’s decisions are final. The Dean may place a student on an immediate emergency interim leave of absence until the evaluation committee can complete its process. Students on emergency interim leaves may not return to campus until the leave is lifted.
Medical leaves last one, two or three full semesters. In making a determination about when a student can return, the College’s re-enrollment committee will make an individualized assessment of the student’s readiness to return through the re-enrollment application process and may allow an earlier return.
Before embarking on a leave, students with an F-1 visa must notify the Director of International Student and Scholar Services to update their immigration records and avoid compromising their eligibility to return to the U.S.