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Should I Defer Admission or Take a Leave of Absence?

Last updated November 6, 2023

If changes to your personal or financial circumstances lead you to consider taking a break from attending college, it's important to know that you have options. Deferring your admission or taking a leave of absence from college can allow you to take some time for yourself without giving up your place in school. Here's what you should know about the differences between deferring your admission and taking a leave of absence, and what steps to take if you're considering either.

Deferring admission

Deferring your admission to college means accepting your offer letter to attend a school, and then requesting an extended period of time off before starting. It's important to know that you must accept your offer of admission before requesting to defer it. This way, your school can hold your spot for you; and in most cases, you will not have to re-apply when you’re ready to start.

Here are some important questions to ask your college before deferring your admission: 

  1. When is the deadline to defer?
  2. Will deferring affect my financial aid package?
  3. Will I need to document my time spent away from school?
  4. What will I need to start school next year?

A large red and white building on a college campus sits behind a field of grass - Should I Defer Admission or Take a Leave of Absence?

Leave of absence

Students who are already attending college and want to take time off can take a voluntary leave of absence. During a leave of absence, students are not enrolled in any classes, but are still considered students of their school.

Here are some important questions to ask your college before taking a leave of absence: 

  1. How often do I need to update you about when I plan to return?
  2. Will I need to re-apply for admission when I’m ready to return?
  3. Will I have to pay back the financial aid I’ve already received for the quarter/semester?
  4. What will show up on my transcripts while I’m not in school (an “incomplete” or “withdrawal from classes”)?

Finishing college is an incredible journey to see through! If you have any questions about deferring your admission, taking a leave of absence, or returning to school after either, we're here to support you! Text #College to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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