How to Support Students on Leave

Departments: Students may need to come to you with questions about classes they plan on taking, about changes to their major, about switching advisors, or about planning their academics for when they return. We encourage students to be in touch with their departments directly with these kinds of questions. We hope they will be able to continue to feel like part of your department even while they are off doing other things. We strongly encourage department staff and faculty to make every effort to be receptive to students' outreach and offer forthright, supportive, and timely feedback to them. If you have any questions or concerns about a particular student, please feel free to be in touch with us directly.

Advisors: When a student goes on leave, we generally encourage them to talk with their advisors about their plans and to discuss any academic details of their leave. When the leave is processed, you will be copied on the email sent to the student confirming their leave. This email outlines the expectations the student discussed with their S3 dean at the time of requesting to take a leave. We encourage students to stay in contact with their advisors while they are away, and keep them updated with their activities including any classes and/or work. As part of the return request process, students are asked to consult with their advisors and request a letter outlining an academic plan for the student to complete their degree requirements. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about a particular student, please feel free to be in touch with us directly.

Family: Students take leave from MIT for many reasons. Students sometimes express reluctance to talk with their family about taking a leave out of concern of disappointing them. Family support can be a critical factor in making a student's transition to leave go more smoothly. The concerns family may have are understandable, but we are happy to talk with you about how the leave and return process works so that you are in the best position to support your student.

Friends: Even if a student knows taking a leave is the right thing to do, leaving their MIT friends is never easy. Friends can play an important role supporting a student's decision to take leave and to help them continue to feel connected to the MIT community while on leave. Friends play an equally important role in welcoming a student back when returning from leave. If you have any concerns about a friend, we encourage to you come to S3 to talk with one of the deans. We cannot talk about another student's private information but we can answer any general questions you may have about the leave and return process, about ways of being supportive to your friend.