Although Grinnell College is noted for its open curriculum — consistent with our philosophy of self-governance — the College is not without a significant number of policies related to a student's academic life.

As a student you should know that often there is little or no flexibility within these policies and that, in some cases, not following them can have significant academic consequences. If you have questions about any of the following policies or other procedures at the College first consult the Academic Policies section of the Student Handbook. Then bring your questions to the staff at the Academic Advising Office or speak with your faculty adviser. We can help you navigate.

Leaves of Absence

The Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising works with students who are considering taking time off from their studies.  The policies below explain these options.

Emergency/Medical Leave of Absence

Students interested in seeking an emergency leave of absence should consult the Student Handbook for more information. The Leaves of Absence policy is stated there. Further information about taking a leave of absence can be found on the handout land FAQ links below.

Students should then make an appointment to speak immediately with the Dean of Academic Advising. Call 641-269-3702 immediately to schedule an appointment.

Upon returning from a medical leave in the second year, a student from the class of 2013 reported:

I have had a really great semester. I don't think it could have been better. I found adjusting to being back at Grinnell pretty seamless, probably mostly thanks to my friends. I've loved my classes and the Grinnell environment in general (much more than last year, which just shows how much I was already being affected by mental health problems then). I can say that for students who are thinking about taking a semester off or who have already decided to, getting my mental health in order has made all the difference to my college experience. I'm not taking it for granted, and still see a therapist every week, and I'm very conscious that brain chemistry is always changing and my medication may not always work as well as it does now, but at the moment I'm enjoying life at Grinnell a lot. I also would like students with mental health issues to know that taking a semester off isn't a sign of weakness. It's much wiser to take a little time off to get things straightened out than to just keep struggling through because you feel expected to.

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Personal Leave of Absence

Students requesting a leave of absence should first consult the Student Handbook for more information. The Leaves of Absence policy is stated there. Further information about taking a leave of absence can be found on the Handout link below.

Students interested in applying for a leave of absence need to complete the Personal Leave Application form on the link below by the deadline and submit it to the Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising.

A brief interview with the Dean or Student Success and Academic Advising is also required. Call 641-269-3702 to schedule an appointment.

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