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College Catalog

Academic Policies

  • Withdrawal from and Readmission to the College

    Administrative withdrawal

    A student may be administratively withdrawn from the College by the Dean of Students if the student is not fulfilling his or her academic obligations (e.g., not attending classes or completing academic work) and he or she has ignored all institutional efforts toward resolution. A student who is withdrawn by the Dean of Students for this reason will receive a WA on the transcript for that semester’s courses. WA indicates that the student was involuntarily withdrawn from the College due to abandonment of academic responsibilities.

    Before an Administrative Withdrawal is mandated in either situation, the Dean of Students or designee will encourage the student to take a voluntary withdrawal from all courses.

    In the case of Administrative Withdrawal, normal withdrawal policies will apply. In extraordinary circumstances, the Dean of Students may agree to a different refund than would automatically apply, in which case the student must submit a letter of appeal.

    Medical withdrawal

    Students may request permission from the Dean of Students to withdraw from the College for documented medical reasons. The notation MW (medical withdrawal) is to be allowed only where the Dean of Students judges that serious illness, for which the student is placed under the care of an off-campus physician or other appropriate off-campus health care professional, requires the student to leave the College for proper treatment and convalescence. The financial consequences of medical withdrawal are the same as those for withdrawal from the College.

    A student who, for medical reasons, must withdraw from the College must submit a letter to the Dean of Students. The letter should explain the reason for the withdrawal and the approximate date of return, if applicable. The request for a Medical Withdrawal must be accompanied by documentation from a medical professional that details, from a medical perspective, the reason for the withdrawal and the approximate date of return, if applicable. All medical documentation is confidential and is kept in a secure file in the Dean of Students’ office.

    The medical documentation should answer the following questions:

    1. Is the student able to return to campus and manage his or her condition independently?
    2. Is he or she able to live independently in a residence hall? 
    3. What recommendations can be offered with respect to issues such as course load, residence hall assignment, and continued treatment, in order to support the student’s successful return to his or her academic program?

    In rare instances the professionals at Lake Forest College may determine that a student should not continue the academic program at the College but should withdraw due to psychological instability. In these instances the policies regarding medical withdrawal will apply.

    Students who wish to return to the College after a medical withdrawal must apply for readmission when they are well enough to resume their studies. Readmissions are handled through the Admissions Office, which must receive all application materials at least four weeks prior to the start of classes. In addition, the Dean of Students must receive a letter of support for the students’ return from an off-campus physician.

    Withdrawal procedure

    A student who wishes to withdraw from the College is expected to complete the following procedure:

    1. Pick up and complete the paperwork at the Dean of Students’s office and follow the steps outlined in the paperwork.
    2. Remove all personal belongings from campus within 24 hours after the effective date of the Withdrawal unless an extension has been granted by the Dean of Students.

    Failure in courses will be recorded on the academic record of a student who does not properly follow these procedures. The actual date of withdrawal is usually, but not always, the last date that the student has attended classes. Academic or disciplinary suspension or dismissal take precedence over voluntary withdrawal or Leave of Absence in determining a student’s status and official reason for leaving the College. Rules governing refunds to students who withdraw are discussed in the College Catalog. When withdrawing from the College, a student will receive a “W” for all courses he/she is passing at the time of the withdrawal. Students who are failing a course at the time of withdrawal from the College will receive a grade of “WF” in that course.

    Readmission to the College

    Students seeking readmission must formally reapply through the Admissions Office, indicating the semester for which they hope to return and describing their activities while away from campus. In cases of suspension for academic reasons, students are not eligible for readmission for at least six calendar months. In cases of suspension for disciplinary reasons, eligibility for readmission is stated at the time of suspension. Readmission is possible only once.

    Program leaves

    A student may enroll during the fall or spring semester for one course at another institution while remaining registered for three courses at Lake Forest for that term. If approved by the student’s advisor, the program must be checked with the registrar to assure transferability of the work. If the work is satisfactorily completed with a grade of C- or better in each course, and the credits are transferred to Lake Forest College, the student will be reimbursed for the per-course cost of the tuition at the other institution up to the per-course cost of tuition at Lake Forest College for the same period.

    Leave of absence

    A student without a judicial or academic suspension or dismissal may request a one-semester Leave of Absence for personal reasons without withdrawing from the College. Without exception, a Leave of Absence must be requested by the student, in writing, and approved by the Dean of Students prior to the first day of class for the semester in which a student is requesting a leave. Generally, only one Leave of Absence may be granted to a student in a 12-month period. However, more than one Leave may be granted in limited, well-documented cases due to unforeseen circumstances. Contact the Dean of Students’ office for additional information.

    If the student does not return at the end of one semester from an approved leave or gain approval from the Dean of Students for an extension, the student will automatically be withdrawn from the College, with the withdrawal date being the last day the student attended classes. The student must then seek readmission in accordance with the College Catalog.

    A student leaving the College during a semester will be considered withdrawn for that semester and may not request a Leave of Absence for the following semester.

    A student who is granted a leave of absence is considered to remain in an “in-school status” for Federal Student Loan repayment purposes. That is, no repayment of a federal student loan is required during the Leave.


    A student must make a request for a Leave of Absence to the Dean of Students, in writing, and is expected to take each of the following steps:

    1. Request a Leave of Absence from the Dean of Students in writing. This can be completed via email or in letter form. A specific reason must be given in writing as to why the student is requesting a Leave of Absence. Before approval is granted, the Associate Dean or Dean of Students may request a meeting or phone call to clarify the request; however, this is not always required. If an Associate Dean denies the request, the student may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students.
    2. Check with the Financial Aid Office to protect future eligibility of scholarships, grants and/or student loans.
    3. Clear Business Office account. College refund policies apply. Resident students will be charged on a pro-rata basis for any room and board for the days prior to the start of the semester.
    4. Return all College keys to Residence Life staff or Facilities Management, as applicable.
    5. Resident students must be officially checked out of the residence hall by a member of the Residence Life staff. Arrangements must be made with the Office of Residence Life to complete a housing cancellation form and be checked out in a reasonable amount of time. No storage is available on campus.
    6. International students must communicate and discuss a leave of absence with the Office of Intercultural Relations before leaving.
    7. Upon approval for a leave of absence, a student will be notified initially in writing from the Dean of Students office. A follow-up and official approval with additional instructions and information will be mailed to a student’s permanent mailing address. Any clarifying questions or concerns regarding an approved Leave of Absence should be directed, first, to the Dean of Students Office.

    Approval Date

    The actual date of leave is the approval date agreed upon by the Dean of Students.

    Academic and Conduct Standing

    Academic or disciplinary suspension or dismissal takes precedence over a Leave of Absence in determining a student’s status and official reason for leaving the College.


    Rules governing refunds are discussed in the College Catalog in the section Tuition and Financial Policies. All academic and conduct standings of the student remain in effect upon the student’s return.


    Students will be allowed to pre-register for courses during the intended first semester of return but are subject to the same dates and financial obligations in place for all students. Registration procedures are discussed under Course Procedures above.

    Room Selection

    A student may participate in Room Selection for the following year if he or she is on a Leave of Absence during the Spring semester. Contact the Office of Residence Life for assistance.