Valid Reasons for Leave of Absence from School (5 Valid Reasons)

In this blog entry, we will be discussing how a Leave of Absence from School is defined, the valid reasons for taking a leave of absence from school, and we will be answering frequently asked questions regarding leaves of absence from school.

What are valid reasons for taking leave of absence from school?

Valid reasons for taking a leave of absence from school can involve medical conditions, the death of loved ones, other emergencies, and even studying abroad. Although with matters regarding mental health, schools have different procedures and policies. Surprisingly, leaves of absence from school can last from a few weeks to a few years. 

Leaves of absence are available for college students because things can happen during college that may be of more priority than working toward their degree. They do not necessarily mean a student has failed at something. Most of the time, requesting a leave of absence is used as a tool to help the student deal with other more pressing matters so that when and if they return to school, they can be more focused on their studies.

Let us explore the valid reasons for taking a leave of absence from school:

Academic Endeavors

You may want to take a course in some other academic institution and study a specialization there or conduct academic research elsewhere. Depending on the policies of your current college or university, your request may be granted or denied. When filing for a leave of absence request for this particular reason, make sure to specify in detail whatever it is you plan on doing while you are on leave and how the endeavor can help you with your degree. Doing so will facilitate the filing process, and you may just get your leave of absence request granted.


One cannot function well if one is depressed, if at all. When someone is suffering from depression, it can be truly tough to live life day by day and attend to one’s personal needs, let alone deal with school responsibilities. If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, you may decide or have to take a break from college and hope to improve your mental health before resuming classes. This is not a bad thing as taking a break for the sake of your well-being is in fact doing yourself a favor in order for you to help get yourself back to normal functioning.

Employment Obligations

You may be one of those students who currently juggle school and employment so that you can get yourself the tertiary education that the field of your future career deems necessary. Many times, it can be too much work for one person to handle, and you suddenly find yourself having to decide to give up one of the two obligations. This usually results in giving up your studies in the meantime because employment can provide for your survival needs, but higher education can wait. It’s ok because college can indeed wait.

Financial Hardship

You could be employed but maybe what you earn is not enough to help keep up with the academic costs, not to mention your living expenses. When you realize this in the middle of your enrollment, you may find it necessary to interrupt your semester or term in college. It is time then that you consider having a leave of absence from school so that your current situation could be alleviated.

Serious Medical Condition

Either you are the one who has a serious medical condition or you need to care for a parent, sibling, relative, or spouse, this should be a valid reason for taking a leave of absence from school. As the saying goes, health is wealth. You need to take care of yourself and if you need time to do that then you should take it before anything worse happens. If you need to take care of a loved one because no one else could then who should stop you? There are things more important than college and one of them is family!

Reasons to Avoid Taking a Leave of Absence from School

Now, as much as valid reasons exist, there are also a few reasons why we think you should avoid taking a leave of absence from school. Let us go through each one of them:

You might not go back

Once you take a leave from school, it can be difficult for some people to go back, especially if they find a job that pays them well and they think that they do not need more education anymore to keep what they already have. Getting out of school can also lose you the momentum, and you may just really find yourself unsure of going back when the time comes even if, for example, you have finally solved the problem on why you decided to have a leave of absence in the first place. You may also end up getting hassled or overwhelmed when you try to make the efforts required for you to get back to college unless you have the strong will to fight off laziness or the feeling of distress.

You may have to reapply

After taking a leave of absence from school, you may have to resubmit an application and all sorts of other documents, just as when you first applied into college, despite having already attended. What does this mean for you? Urgent deadlines and more fees! If this does not discourage you or stop you from going through everything again plus more, then it may be all well and good.

You will graduate later than you initial planned

We each have our own timelines, so graduating “late” is not actually a problem. But, it can affect your emotions when your mind starts becoming sentimental about the thought of classmates having ‘gone ahead’ while you still have some schooling to deal with. If this does not bother you though, then graduating late should not really be an issue. You have your reasons anyway, and not only are they valid, but they are very personal too.

FAQs: Valid Reasons for Taking a Leave of Absence from School

Here are five Frequently Asked Questions regarding taking Leaves of Absence from School:

Can you take a Leave of Absence (LOA) from school?

Yes, you can take a leave of absence from school, but in college or university (tertiary education), and not in primary school or secondary school when such policy is not applicable.

What is another term for a formal leave of absence from college?

Another term for a formal leave of absence from college is “exeat,” a British word which means, ‘a permit for temporary absence’, as defined by Merriam-Webster.

How do I write a leave of absence letter for college?

When writing a leave of absence letter for college, your letter should comprise the subject, the dates you need to be away from school, the date you plan on returning to school, the content which is the reason for you wanting to be on leave, and your thanks to their consideration of your request.

How do I know if I should take a semester off?

According to University of the People, here are some of the reasons which would make you know that you should take a semester off college:

You are encountering financial problems

College is expensive and can be really expensive. If you find yourself truly not being able to afford college or university at the given time, taking a semester off could be a good idea so that you can work to save up funds for when you go back.

You are experiencing health issues

You have nothing without your health, so what good could schooling do for you when you are experiencing health issues? Forcing yourself to go to school will just make things worse for you in the long run, so it is better to take the semester off now and get yourself physically recovered. Next time then, you will be able to attend your classes without expecting sudden medical emergencies.

You are having a family or personal crisis

All of us have different sorts of lives, and for some of us, we may find ourselves getting to experience what we may feel or think the worst of the worst problems anybody could ever have. If we happen to get into something seriously problematic, then we should take the semester off because when things get better, school or college will still be there.

You are losing interest

It is normal to get burnout during your college career with all the demands it makes. If you find yourself unable to focus on your classes anymore or are not retaining information from your courses, it may be a good idea to take a semester off.

You are unsure of your major

Accordingly, an estimated 75% of college students change their major before they graduate, so it is natural to find yourself questioning yourself in the middle of school what you really want to study and do for the rest of your life. If you take a semester off, then it might just give you more time to self-reflect and discover what truly is it you want to do for a living.


Right now, you should know more about taking leaves of absence from school in general, how a leave of absence from school is defined, the valid reasons for taking a Leave of Absence from School, and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the subject matter. If you have any questions or comments, then just enter them into the comment section below and let us get back to you!


APlus Topper 2020, Leave Letter for School, accessed 02 February 2021, <>

Pace University, LEAVE OF ABSENCE POLICY, accessed 02 February 2021, <>

Student Caffé Blog 2016, Should You Take a Leave of Absence?, accessed 02 February 2021, <>

ThoughtCo. 2019, Leave of Absence from College, Explanation and Benefits, accessed 02 February 2021, <>

University of the People, Thinking About Taking a Semester Off? What You Need to Know, accessed 02 February 2021, <>

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