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Returning From Medical Leave

American University is an academically rigorous institution and students are responsible for maintaining good academic standing. It is recommended that students returning from medical leave consult with their academic advisor and the Dean of Students Office to make plans for the academic transition. Students should evaluate their ability to attend class, meet deadlines, complete work in a timely fashion, and seek assistance, as appropriate.

In addition to the academic transition back to campus, students should plan for the social transition. This means thoughtfully reflecting on existing relationships and peer groups, participation in activities and leadership positions, management of free time, housing arrangements, and use of alcohol and other drugs.

It is recommended that students create a plan of action in the event that they begin to experience a reoccurrence of the symptoms that lead to the temporary medical leave. Students should plan to contact their care provider, academic advisor, or the Dean of Students in a timely fashion if they notice patterns of behavior, medical issues, or decision making that may interfere with personal or academic success.

Consultation with a care provider is necessary during a temporary medical leave. There may be modifications to the living, learning, or social environment that might help to ease the transition and increase the possibly of success. Students should discuss these modifications with their care provider and the Dean of Students Office prior to returning from a leave. Some of the most common modifications include:

  • Requesting accommodations for a documented disability,
  • Living on (including substance free housing) or off campus depending on the medical issue,
  • Setting up regular meetings with the Academic Support & Access Center,
  • Setting up regular meetings with student's academic advisor,
  • Establishing a local therapeutic relationship,
  • Continuing with a new medication plan, and
  • Establishing a regular communication plan with parents or other family members.

The Dean of Students has created a guide for determining a student's readiness to return. It is recommended that students bring this form to their care provider to help facilitate a conversation regarding academic and social planning for return. The Dean of Students requires this document to be completed and/or a letter from a care provider stating readiness to return and suggestions for support and modifications to facilitate academic and personal success upon the student's return to American University. Students must be cleared by the Dean of Students Office to return to classes prior to the first day of class for the semester in which the student wishes to return. It is incumbent upon the student to contact the Dean of Students Office at least one month prior to the start of the semester to begin the process of being cleared to return. The Dean of Students Office highly recommends that students returning from a medical leave consider purchasing the Tuition Refund Plan if they have not already do so in the past.