How to Handle a Prolonged Absence at University


It may be necessary to take a prolonged absence from university if you suffer from illness, the stresses of your personal or family life mean it makes sense to take a break, or you need to spend some time working to pay for your education. University is more flexible than grade school, allowing you to take off even several semesters and return later. However, there are still a few things you need to do to ensure your absence has no negative consequences on your academics.

1. Keep Your University Informed

As soon as you know you’ll be absent for several weeks or more, inform your university. You may need to complete paperwork to stay enrolled on your program and keep the credit you’ve already earned. It’s also worth talking to an academic advisor about how your absence will impact you in the long term.

2. Find Out if You Can Take Online Classes

If you’re unable physically to attend university but you still have the capacity to study, you may be able to continue your education by taking online classes. Many universities are now taking a hybrid approach to learning, meaning that some of the classes required for your program could be available to take online. This could prevent you from failing further behind than necessary.

If studying online is not a possibility at your university, you may be able to take classes at another institution and transfer the credit. Just make sure you contact your university to check before you sign up for anything.

3. Stay in Touch with Classmates

Maintaining social relationships can help you feel connected to your university and make it easier to return after your absence. As well as staying in touch with the friends you already have, you could find out if there are any virtual study groups for the online classes you’re taking.

4. Reach Out for Support

It can be difficult to come to terms with being away from university for a long time, especially when your absence is due to circumstances out of your control. To cope through this period, it’s important to receive the support you need, such as counselling. Some students find it useful to join group programs with other people who are on a leave of absence. You should also focus on your self-care: make sure you sleep enough, eat a healthy diet, and continue with your hobbies.

5. Know When You’re Ready to Return

To make sure your return to university is permanent, it’s crucial that you only return when you’re ready. If you’re unsure, it may be worth writing a list of pros and cons. As you do, assess any emotional, financial, physical, and other factors in your decision. You could also come up with some indicators tailored to your situation that will tell you when you’re prepared to return.

When you do decide to return to university, you’ll need to find somewhere to live. Foundry Princess offers Queen’s University off-campus housing in a welcoming student community. With great features like private bedrooms, study rooms, and high-speed internet, you’ll find it much easier to catch up. Plus, when you need a break, you can head to our onsite fitness centre, BBQ courtyard, or outdoor swimming pool. Secure your spot while there are still units available.

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