Returning to School After a Leave

Returning to OHIO after a leave of absence, like any transition, can be fraught with emotions — excitement, joy, worry, anxiety. Most often, students describe having all of these feelings. It’s important to reflect on how you feel, as your feelings about your readiness are central to your next steps in how and when you re-engage in coursework. This web page will help you examine and track your readiness to return to school, as well as explore resources to facilitate your transition and map out the logistics for your successful return.

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Assess Your Readiness to Return 

Often your path to resuming classes is paved with many conversations and careful consideration. Consider taking the time to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of either returning to or not returning to college at this time.

As you evaluate, consider the option that would most benefit your overall well-being.

  Semester/Year Benefits/Pros Drawbacks/Cons



  Semester/Year Benefits/Pros Drawbacks/Cons
Not returning      

Track Readiness to Return

Deciding to return to college can be driven by family, social, financial, or institutional pressures or expectations. We recommend tracking your readiness to return as objectively as possible to build your confidence and drive away worries or negative thoughts about returning.

Decide Part- vs. Full-Time

In considering a return from leave, it’s important to know you may have options for returning as a full-time or part-time student. Through the Office of Student Accessibility Services or your coordinator, you may be eligible to receive an accommodation(s) with appropriate medical documentation.

You might even be able to complete your degree while attending classes part-time. Your student accessibility coordinator, your academic advisor, financial aid advisors, and members of your support team can help you understand your options.

Use the prompts to guide your consideration of part-time vs. full-time

Financial Aid Office/Family

  • The cost difference per semester/quarter (or class) for part- versus full-time
  • Eligibility for the same amount of financial aid for part-time versus full-time
  • Ability to pay for full-time college
  • Ability to earn money if attending part-time
  • Ability to maintain a work-study job as a part-time student


  • Consider your preference for earning a degree within a certain timeframe
  • Feeling successful and proud enrolling part- versus full-time
  • Willingness to finish degree at a pace that works for you as an individual, even if that means enrolling in school for longer

Athletic/Organizational Coach/Leader

  • Eligibility to play/participate in activities/competitions if part-time
  • The impact of scholarship money if enrolled part-time
  • Ability to hold leadership positions and/or qualify for awards if part-time

Housing and Residence Life/Family

  • Availability of on-campus housing as a part-time student
  • Need to pay for off-campus housing, if on-campus housing isn’t available
  • Availability to live at home

Student Health Insurance

  • The impact on accessing student health insurance as a part-time student
  • Access to university supports as a part- versus full-time student

Mapping Out the Return 

You’ve been working hard at building your readiness to return to college. You’ve practiced finding and connecting with people who support your well-being. You’ve also found meaningful ways to develop and maintain your academic skills and engagement to promote belonging and satisfaction. Now you’ve arrived at mapping out the logistics involved in your return.

Return Plan Checklist

Re-entry Documentation and Meetings


  • Consider housing priorities (e.g., single, sober living):
  • I will be living in/at:
  • I will be living with:
  • If I’m moving, the move-in date is:
  • It’s important for me to share with my roommates:

Finances and Environment

  • Throughout the term, it’s my responsibility to pay for:
  • My monthly budget is:
  • My weekly budget is:
  • My meal plan is:
  • If I want to grocery shop, I can go to:

Care and Support

  • My therapist/counselor is available to meet (day/time):
  • When I need a medication refilled, or medicine, I can go to:
  • I will communicate with my parents/family/supports (day/time):

Academics and Course Enrollment

  • My approved courses are:
  • Purchase textbooks/materials (e.g., computer, printer, notebooks)
  • Know class schedule
  • Learn how to open OHIO email account
  • Learn to access necessary OHIO platforms (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas)

Support and Resources

Your Resources

The people, places, things and activities that kept you well during your leave of absence are supports you may want to access upon your return. Use the following checklist of common campus-based and campus-adjacent contacts, offices and resources to connect with as you map your successful re-entry to OHIO.

Student Accessibility Services

This office provides services and support to ensure that you are able to access and participate in the living and learning opportunities at OHIO. Accessibility Services coordinates accommodations and connects students with disabilities to the most relevant campus resources.

Student Accessibility Services


Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) provides mental health and adjustment services to students. Our services are designed to help students understand themselves and their difficulties, and ultimately make healthy choices for their lives. Counseling staff, psychologists, licensed mental health clinicians and licensed clinical social workers are available to help you address any psychological or adjustment issues that arise while you are a student at OHIO. In addition to one-on-one appointments, counseling service centers offer group counseling on topics such as depression, grief, anxiety, and more.

Counseling and Psychological Services


Ombuds Office

The Office of the Ombudsperson is a confidential service open to all students, employees, alumni, parents and community members at Ohio University. The mission of the Office of the Ombudsperson is twofold: to ensure that every member of the university community receives equitable and fair treatment and due process, and to support and facilitate a positive working and learning environment.

Ombuds Office Services


Survivor Advocacy Program

The Survivor Advocacy Program provides confidential support and advocacy services to student survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence and stalking. We work to increase student survivors’ access to support and resources through survivor-centered advocacy and empowerment. The Survivor Advocacy Program works to give power and control back to the survivor, and they are never expected to disclose details they are not ready to share.

Survivor Advocacy Program Services

740.597.SAFE (7233)

Academic Advisor

Your academic advisor is the person who helps you choose your major, your minor, and all your classes along the path to graduation. They are also a great resource to ask about professors and classes that are a good fit for your learning style, in addition to fitting within your chosen major/minor. They can also help you explore student groups and resources on campus. It’s an excellent idea to schedule at least one meeting per semester with your academic advisor. If you do not have an academic advisor assigned to you or have forgotten who your advisor is, please contact your academic college Dean’s Office.

Campus Involvement Center

Part of enhancing your social wellness on campus involves finding YOUR people. Whether it’s a running club, knitting group, or environmental protection group, the Campus Involvement Center has a group unique to your interests. Identify a few student groups, along with meeting times, to join before returning to campus. The Campus Involvement Center can also connect you with other interests across campus including the Performing Arts Series, Sorority & Fraternity Life, and Student Senate.

Campus Involvement Center Services


Dean of Students

The Office of the Dean of Students is committed to your personal and academic growth. In their offices, you’ll find staff committed to helping you acclimate to the University, assist with concerns, help you navigate the complexities of the university, and ensure that you find the most appropriate resources.

Dean of Students Services


Instructor Office Hours

Each of your instructors likely offers weekly office hours. This is an opportunity to ask for clarification around class content and assignments, as well as to make a connection with your professor for future recommendations and support. Beyond the course content, instructors are also happy to discuss on-campus resources, your adjustment to the academic rigor of coursework, and more.

The preceding was developed from Taking a Leave of Absence: A Guide for College Students, commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and in collaboration with Boston University, the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and the Boston University College Mental Health Programs for Wellness & Academic Success.

A special thanks to both Dori Hutchinson, Sc.D., Executive Director and Clinical Associate Professor, and Courtney Joly Lowdermilk, M.S.Ed., Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives at the Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Services: Sargent College; Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation for sharing their resource with Ohio University.