Information for Students Who are Enrolled for a Dickinson Degree
Enrollment and Course Request
First-Year seminars are assigned on the basis of a preference questionnaire submitted by the student during the summer. New students plan their course schedules in the summer prior to arriving on campus. Students will meet with an assigned faculty advisor during the orientation period of their first semester to discuss the schedule and the student's long-term academic goals. During each subsequent semester, students plan their course schedules with their advisor during the advising period which precedes registration. The course request period for spring semester occurs in late October/early November; the course request period for fall semester occurs in late March/early April. First-Year and sophomore students must meet with their advisors each semester for a advising session at which time they will receive an alternate PIN to be used during the course request period.
Courses are offered in two semesters, each totalling 15 weeks (including classes, a brief reading period, and final examinations). The fall semester begins in late August and concludes prior to the holidays. Students have a reading period after the end of classes in which to take stock of their work for the semester and prepare for the final examinations and papers which are scheduled at special times during the subsequent week. Spring semester begins near the end of January and runs through mid-May, following a similar pattern.
First-year seminars, all foreign language classes, courses on writing, and most upper-class seminars have class enrollments of approximately 15 students. A typical introductory course enrolls 35 students, most intermediate-level courses have 25 to 30 students, and 300-level courses usually enroll 25 students. Most introductory science course lectures enroll classes of 36 to 48 students, with accompanying laboratories for these courses conducted in sections of 18 to 24; others using a "workshop" approach meet for two hours of integrated lecture and lab for 20 to 25 students, three times a week. Advanced science classes and labs are usually under 25. Maximum class sizes are established in order to provide students with adequate opportunities to interact with their professors and with other students. As a result, students do not always gain access to their first choice of courses during a given course request period, and some majors are more difficult than others to initiate. Consistent with the college's commitment to overall balance, however, every effort is made to anticipate such problems and when necessary to open new course sections.
Course Load and Credit
Each course, unless otherwise noted in the course description, is equivalent to four semester hours. Credit for courses is based on the assumption that at least three hours of study accompany each class period (excluding labs). Half courses exist in only a few departments and may meet either for only half the semester or on a half-time basis for the entire semester. Physical education courses and some military science courses carry no academic course credit.
A normal schedule is four courses each semester (the equivalent of 16 credit hours); a student who carries three courses (the equivalent of 12 credit hours) is considered full time. A student who wishes to carry fewer than three courses must receive permission to be part-time from the Registrar. A student's full or part-time status is determined at the end of the add/drop period. A student may register for up to 4.5 course credits without special permission each semester. After successfully completing his or her first semester, a student may register twice for a semester load of five course credits during his or her Dickinson career; registration for a fifth course may be completed only during the Add/Drop period.
Students are responsible for selecting the courses in which they enroll and for the election of courses which will satisfy the requirements for graduation. Only those students who have completed all requirements for the degree are eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony each May. Students enroll in four courses each semester. Normally, a course meets three times a week for 50 minutes or twice a week for 75 minutes; some upper class seminars meet just once during the week for three hours. Some natural and mathematical science courses meet in two-hour lecture and laboratory workshops several times a week or schedule advanced laboratories or field trips in single afternoon blocks. This variety in the weekly schedule provides class times suited to differing teaching methods and to the requirements of specific subjects. For example, brief but frequent meetings are often the best way to learn information, practice a skill, or discuss a series of related issues. Sometimes extended workshop sessions serve well the rhythms of a course that requires room to develop an idea or explore a problem or acquire a technique.
Changes in Course Schedules
Students may make changes in their course registration during the first five days of the semester, referred to as the add/drop period. No change in registration is official until the student has made the change using the on-line registration system or confirmed the change in the Registrar's Office. Starting a course after the first few days of classes is usually not advisable. Students are expected to be properly registered for courses and in residence beginning on the first day of the semester. Students who fail to do so by the end of the add/drop period will be administratively withdrawn. Changes to or from the pass/fail option and in the use of the audit status require the instructor's permission. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain the instructor's signature on a form and return that form to the Registrar's Office before the end of the add/drop period.
Changes in Course Level
Certain courses in the languages are offered at several levels. Students who find themselves enrolled at an inappropriate level in these courses may change level with the approval of the instructor during an additional period. (See college calendar for exact date.)
A student may attend a course without credit by registering to audit the course. The permission of the instructor is required. Audit registration occurs during the add/drop period. A student who has received credit for a course may retake the same course on an audit basis. Students who are enrolled for three or more courses may audit without an additional fee. The instructor stipulates the requirements of the course for all auditors early in the semester. Courses taken as audits do not appear on a student's transcript unless the instructor authorizes such an entry at the end of the semester.
Late Changes in Course Schedule
Add/drop and change-in-level deadlines are significant points in the semester beyond which any change in schedule affects academic performance. Students who wish to add/drop a course or make a change in the level of their registration after these deadlines must make their request by petitioning the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. If a late drop is approved, the course will be removed from the student's record. If a late drop results in a change from full-time to part-time status (fewer than 3 courses) the student must have approval to be part-time.
Withdrawal from a Course with a "W" grade
A student may withdraw from a course until 4:00 PM on the last day of classes for the semester. The option to withdraw from a course and the use of "W" grades without prior review and approval by the Subcommittee on Academic Standards is limited to two courses during a student's Dickinson career. Course withdrawal is accomplished by completing the Course Withdrawal Form and submitting to the Registrar's Office by the deadline. A request for a course withdrawal after 4:00 PM on the last day of classes for the semester or for more than the allotted two courses will require a petition to the Subcommittee on Academic Standards for an Exception to Academic Policy or Deadline (See Student Petition information for detailed instructions).
Students may petition the Subcommittee on Academic Standards to withdraw from a course for health reasons. (To do so, students will complete the Request for a Withdrawal for Health Reasons.) If granted, a grade of "W" will be posted to the student's record, but will not count as one of the two withdrawals mentioned above.
Any authorized course withdrawal will be indicated by the entry of a "W" grade in the student's record. (NOTE: Withdrawal is not an option for physical education courses.) A course withdrawal for any reason does not affect a student's full-time status but is considered a course attempted, but not completed and may affect a student's satisfactory quantitative progress toward the degree (see Academic Expectations Section below).
Professors evaluate student achievement by the traditional means of written comments on papers and exams as well as by assigning letter grades. They are also available to students for individual conferences, to answer questions or discuss complaints, and just to talk further about some important matter raised in class. Faculty report an evaluation of student performance twice each semester. At mid-semester (Roll Call), the following grades are reported for all students: "S" indicating satisfactory achievement to date (normally, work of "C" quality or above), "U" indicating unsatisfactory achievement (normally, work of "C-" or below), "I" indicating incomplete work outstanding, and "NE" indicating no evaluation made by the faculty member (applicable to an entire course or section). These roll call grades are available to students via the college Website and are sent to advisors and serve as a useful benchmark for progress; however, they do not become part of the student's permanent record. At the end of each semester final grades are reported which become part of the student's permanent record. Once a grade has been reported to the Registrar's Office, it may not be changed unless the change has been requested by the instructor and approved by the Provost/Dean of the College. Students who think that a final grade may be inaccurate should begin by contacting the professor as soon as possible. If the professor confirms that a calculation or data entry error has occurred, the professor will submit a grade change request to the Provost/Dean of the College. This request must be submitted no later than Roll Call of the subsequent semester.
Students who, after requesting and receiving from the faculty member a detailed explanation of a grade, think that an assigned grade represents unfair or capricious grading should contact the Department Chairperson who will investigate the charge and report findings to the Provost/Dean of the College for further action.
Most coursework, independent study, and independent research work are graded on an A through F grading scale incorporating pluses and minuses. A student's cumulative average is based on letter grades received in Dickinson courses and at other colleges in the Central Pennsylvania Consortium (Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg). Two other grading options, pass/fail and credit/no credit, exist and are explained below.
A through F Grading
All courses are offered for a letter grade unless otherwise listed in the bulletin or in the course offerings online. The letter grades reflect the achievement of Dickinson students in the following manner: A, exceptionally high level of achievement; B, substantial level of achievement; C, satisfactory level of achievement, the minimum average grade required for graduation; D, minimal level of achievement required to receive course credit; F, unacceptable level of achievement. Plus (+) and minus (-) are gradations of the letter grade scale.
A student's cumulative average is based on the numerical value assigned to letter grades:
The pass/fail grading system in courses for academic credit is an option intended to encourage students to venture into new intellectual fields. This option is available on a limited basis to students after the first semester of their freshman year.
Under this system, "pass" is defined as work of a quality earning a grade of at least "C" and "fail" is defined as work of a quality earning a grade of "C-" or below unless the instructor indicates a different criterion for the grade of "pass." Pass/fail grades do not calculate into the gpa. Taking a course on the pass/fail basis requires approval of the instructor. It is the responsibility of each individual instructor to indicate at the beginning of the course the standards for passing and failing work in that course. Some departments may prohibit use of the pass/fail option in specific courses and, normally, pass/fail work should not be included among courses taken for the major or minor or certificate program requirements, or, to satisfy any specific graduation requirement.
Courses taught on the credit/no credit system may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. Students may elect to take no more than one course on a pass/fail basis each semester and no more than a total of four pass/fail courses among the 32 required for graduation. Changes to or from a pass/fail grading basis must be made during the add/drop period.
Courses offered only as pass/fail (i.e., when the student has no option to take as a regularly graded course) are not included in the four course limit referenced above.
Credit/No Credit Grading
Credit/no credit grading, in contrast to the pass/fail system, is not the student's option. Each semester a few courses are offered on the credit/no credit basis at the request of the instructors and with the approval of the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. All students registering for a course offered for credit/no credit will be evaluated on that basis. Mastery of the course's objectives is considered a satisfactory completion of the course and results in a grade of "credit." Failure in the course results in a grade of "no credit." Normally, internships are offered on a credit/no credit basis. As with the pass/fail system, neither grade results in a change to the student's cumulative average. The option to enroll in credit/no credit courses is open to all students including first-semester first-year students (except internships, normally limited to juniors and seniors) with no maximum number of credit/no credit enrollments.
A grade of "incomplete" may be reported only in cases in which illness or other serious emergency has prevented the student from completing the work for the marking period. No incomplete is in effect until a form has been filed with the Registrar that states the reasons under which it has been granted, contains an evaluation of the student's work to the date of the incomplete, and is signed by both student and instructor. An incomplete may not be reported because of negligence or procrastination on the part of the student. An incomplete grade must be cleared before Roll Call of the following semester unless an exception is granted by the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. In every case, the incomplete must be cleared before the end of the semester. If an incomplete has not been cleared within stipulated time limits, the appropriate grade indicating a lack of satisfactory completion will be recorded.
Grades in Year Courses
Independent Study and Independent Research registered for year-long activity, as well as several senior seminars, may receive either a letter grade for the semester or an "S" grade with course credit. Upon completion of the second semester, the "S" grade will be converted to a letter grade along with the second semester's letter grade.
A letter grade of "F," a "fail" under the pass/fail system, or a "no credit" under the credit/no credit system are all evaluations expressing failure in a course. The letter grade of "F" reduces the semester and cumulative averages, while "fail" and "no credit" do not change the average. A failed course may be retaken for credit. In the case of letter-graded courses, both the original grade and the new grade are calculated in the average. All failing grades continue to appear on the student's academic record regardless of course repetition.
Contesting a Grade
The College protects students from capricious and/or prejudice in grading. Students have the right to request a written explanation of a grade in a course. Students need to compare the explanation to their own records to be sure there is no miscalculation or other discrepancy that would lead to the next step of a discussion to rectify the situation. Faculty are usually quick to request permission to change a grade that has been miscalculated.
Students who, after requesting and receiving from the faculty member a detailed explanation of a grade, think that an assigned grade represents unfair or capricious grading should contact the Department Chairperson who will investigate the charge and report findings to the Provost/Dean of the College for further action. Students may want to consult with their advisor prior to contacting the Department Chairperson.
Students may not repeat a course for which they have already posted credit. This applies to courses taken at Dickinson for which a grade of D- or above was earned, as well as equivalent course content taken at another institution and transferred to Dickinson.
Credit for Course Work at Other Institutions
Course work submitted by transfer students is evaluated by the registrar after a preliminary and tentative appraisal has been performed by the admissions counselor. In general, coursework taken at accredited colleges or universities that parallels the curriculum at Dickinson is transferable provided grades of C (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better have been earned. College-level course work will be evaluated according to the following criteria: (1) must be listed on an official transcript of an accredited institution; (2) must be a minimum of 3 credit hours; (3) must indicate a grade of C or better (2.0 on a 4.0 scale); (4) must have liberal arts content; (5) must be offered in a setting which allows for interaction between student and instructor (i.e., no credit will be awarded for correspondence, on-line or one-way video courses). A maximum of 16 courses may be accepted for transfer. Transfer students must then complete the remaining 16 courses toward graduation on campus. Students admitted as transfer students to Dickinson College with 12 courses (2nd semester Sophomores) may count up to a year of study abroad on Dickinson Programs toward the residency requirement and students who transfer with 16 courses (1st semester Juniors) may count a semester of study abroad on Dickinson Programs toward the residency requirement.
Dickinson students who desire to study away from campus for summer study or during the academic year must obtain prior approval of the program of study. College-level course work will be evaluated according to the following criteria: (1) must be listed on an official transcript of an accredited institution; (2) must be a minimum of 3 credit hours; (3) must indicate a grade of C or better (2.0 on a 4.0 scale); (4) must have liberal arts content; (5) must be offered in a setting which allows for interaction between student and instructor (i.e., no credit will be awarded for correspondence, on-line or one-way video courses). Students in good academic standing may receive up to a total of four transfer course credits for summer or January-term study at other approved institutions; they may be taken in a combination of one or more summers. Off-campus study during the academic year is normally limited to a maximum of four courses for one semester or eight courses for a full academic year.
In addition, off-campus study in the senior year, if it precludes a student from being on campus for six of the last eight courses, or the last four courses, preceding graduation, requires special approval from the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. Special approval is also necessary for participation in more than two semesters of study off campus or for participation in more than one off-campus program.
Final determination of credit and satisfaction of Dickinson distribution and language requirements will be determined by the Registrar. All courses intended to be considered for a major, minor or certificate program must receive additional approval and evaluation by the relevant academic department/program.
Full-time degree-seeking students who, in a given semester, earn a superior academic average are named to the Dean's List. Academic qualification for inclusion on the Dean's List requires that the student earns a 3.70 academic average for the semester, with no grades lower than a C- and no incomplete grades. A minimum of three courses must be completed for a grade, and the student must have a cumulative grade-point average greater than 2.00. Students with records in violation of the community standards or who engage in other behaviors that the dean judges inimical to the mission of the college may be ineligible for the Dean's List. Students who are on "suspension", "stayed suspension" and/or affiliated with organizations banned by the college are typically ineligible for the Dean's List.
Progress toward the Degree
Normally, students complete either the B.A. or the B.S. degree programs in eight semesters by taking four courses per semester. Students are expected to meet all requirements for graduation in effect at the time of their matriculation. In the event that the graduation requirements are changed, any reductions in requirements will be in effect for students enrolled at the time of the change; these students will not be obligated to meet additional requirements. Responsibility rests with the student for the election of such courses that will satisfy the requirements of the college for graduation. Students accepted as first-time students are permitted a maximum of twelve (12) semesters of full-time study in which to complete a Bachelor's degree at Dickinson College. The maximum degree completion timeframe equivalency will be pro-rated for part-time and transfer students.
A minimum of 16 courses must be taken on the Dickinson campus. Students must be accepted for a major field of concentration by the time they earn junior standing. A student who does not have a major declaration form on file in the Registrar's Office by the end of the semester in which the sixteenth course (counting towards the degree) is completed may be required to withdraw from the college. Six of the last eight or the last four courses in a student's program must be taken on campus in order to fulfill the senior residence requirement. All course work taken at other institutions after admission as a degree candidate must have prior approval from the Registrar (for domestic study during summer school) or the Associate Provost of the College/Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement (for international study at any time during the year and domestic study for an academic semester). A student must be in good standing and obtain prior approval to study at another institution during the academic year. Approval for this status can be granted for one semester or one year. Students may transfer up to one full year of academic work (a total of 9 courses) if prior approval of the program has been obtained.
The transcript is a reflection of a student's academic performance at an institution. It contains coursework that is officially recognized and integral to the academic program.
Academic Prizes and Awards, Dean's List and Phi Beta Kappa are included on the transcript when conferred. The following are added upon graduation: Degree Awarded (BA or BS) and date; Major(s); Minor(s); Certificate(s); Latin Honors, Departmental Honors.
Only transcripts printed on secure paper with the official seal of the college as the watermark, signed by the Registrar and embossed with the raised seal are considered official.
The faculty assumes that every student admitted to Dickinson will be able to qualify for graduation. However, the opportunity to continue at Dickinson is a privilege that a student must earn by academic achievement.
All students must meet the minimum cumulative grade point average. First-year students must earn at least a 1.75 cumulative grade point average (gpa) in order to be in good academic standing. All other students must earn at least a 2.00 cumulative gpa to be in good academic standing. In order to graduate, a senior must have a minimum cumulative gpa of 2.00.
At the end of every grading semester, the Subcommittee on Academic Standards reviews student records and applies these standards on a case-by-case basis. Students with a cumulative gpa which falls below the applicable minimum will be required to withdraw. Students may petition the Subcommittee on Academic Standards for immediate return on academic probation (see Appeal of Required Withdrawal for Academic Reasons).
Any students with a semester gpa of 0.00 will be required to withdraw even if their cumulative grade point average remains above a 1.75 (first-year students) or above a 2.00 (upperclass students). When upperclass students have a semester gpa below 2.00 for three consecutive semesters, they will be required to withdraw from the college, even if their cumulative grade point average remains above a 2.00.
A first-year student with a semester average below 1.75, and a cumulative gpa of 1.75 or above will receive a letter of warning. An upper class student with a semester average below 2.00 and a cumulative gpa of 2.00 or above will receive a letter of warning.
Students must make satisfactory quantitative progress toward the completion of degree requirements. Quantitative progress is calculated by dividing the number of courses creditable toward graduation by the number of courses attempted. While not creditable toward graduation, courses with grades of W (withdrawal), I (Incomplete) and F or FA (failure) are calculated in the number of courses attempted. At the end of the spring grading period, the Subcommittee on Academic Standards reviews student records and applies these standards on a case-by-case basis.
Full-time students are normally expected to complete at least 4 courses each semester creditable towards graduation and to progress one grade level each year. A first-year student is anyone who has completed fewer than seven courses. A sophomore is anyone who has completed between seven and fourteen such courses. A junior is anyone who has completed between fifteen and twenty-two such courses. A senior is anyone who has completed more than twenty-three courses.
To meet the standard of satisfactory quantitative progress, students must have credit toward graduation for the following percentage of courses attempted:
First-year students - 60 percent
Sophomores - 70 percent
Juniors - 80 percent
Seniors - 80 percent
Students who do not make satisfactory quantitative progress are placed on quantitative academic probation. If a student must withdraw from all courses attempted in a semester for health-related reasons, the Subcommittee on Academic Standards will waive academic probation status. A student on quantitative academic probation is required to develop and maintain an academic plan that will achieve satisfactory quantitative progress.
Students on quantitative academic probation are at risk of being required to withdraw from the college. Normally, while on quantitative academic probation, earning a grade of F, or withdrawing from a course or courses, will result in required withdrawal from the college. This remains true even if the cumulative GPA is above the college minimum (1.75 for first-year students; 2.00 for all other students).
Changes in Student Status
Leaves of Absence
Policy Statement: From time to time, students may need to take time away from the college under circumstances where they wish to maintain their status as enrolled students, eligible to return to active status without applying for readmission. Subject to the compliance with the procedures set forth below, Dickinson College will grant qualifying students leaves of absence.
Requests for leave from the college are considered for a variety of reasons. These are the more common reasons, but they are not intended to be an exhaustive list:
- Health related
- Family circumstances (such as illness or death of a family member)
- Financial hardship
- Global educational opportunities not approved by Dickinson
- Academic performance (when affected by illness or family circumstances)
- Unique non-academic opportunities
- Other reasons such as volunteer work or taking time away from college to reassess one's educational goals
A request for a leave of absence is generally initiated by a student although there are certain circumstances under which the college will initiate leave procedures. Regardless of who initiates the process, the grant of a leave of absence will generally include conditions for return.
Student-Initiated Request for a Leave of Absence
A request for a leave of absence should generally be submitted before the beginning of the semester but no later than the last day of add/drop of the semester for which the leave is sought. Exceptions are routinely made where the reason for the leave could not be planned, such as in health or family emergencies.
Except when a leave is requested for the pursuit of educational opportunities, requests for leaves of absence should be submitted to the Associate Dean of Students. The Associate Dean of Students will serve as the point of contact for gathering information about and communicating the college's response regarding the student's request. For leaves related to the pursuit of educational opportunities off campus, requests should be directed to the Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement.
A request for a leave of absence should contain:
- a clear statement of the reason for the request
- sufficient facts supporting the reason
- an estimate, if one is available, of the duration of the leave
- any records or documents that may be useful in considering the request (when a leave is for a medical or mental health reason, this must include a letter from your treating health care provider).
The grant of a leave of absence is within the discretion of the college. In considering a student's request the Associate Dean of Students will consult with the Dean of Advising, the Executive Director of the Wellness Center (when health related) and the student's College Dean, and others as necessary. The college will conduct an individualized assessment of each request for leave before a decision on the leave is reached. In most circumstances, a grant of a leave of absence will include conditions that must be met for the student’s return. The determination of the conditions for return will be based upon an individualized assessment of the student's situation and the circumstances under which the leave is requested. Where the request for leave arises from a medical or mental health reasons, significant weight will be given to the documentation from the student’s health care provider.
The desire to avoid low grades unrelated to health, family issues or other unavoidable circumstances is not a proper use of the leave of absence policy. Requests made on this basis will not be granted.
College-Initiated Request for a Leave of Absence
In circumstances where a student's conduct seriously affects the health or well-being of any person, where physical safety is seriously threatened, or where the ability of the college to carry out its essential operations is seriously impaired, and the student does not request a leave of absence, the Associate Dean of Students may initiate a request that a student be placed on a leave of absence. All college-initiated requests will be sent to the Leave of Absence Committee for consideration, with a copy provided to the student. The Leave of Absence Committee includes the Associate Vice President for Student Life, the student’s College Dean, the Dean of Academic Advising, and if necessary an ad hoc College Dean to make a committee of three administrators. The Student shall have an opportunity to present information to the Committee. The Committee shall conduct an individualized assessment of the circumstances and shall consider the information submitted by the student before a decision is reached and in setting forth any conditions for return. Significant weight will be given to any documentation from the student's health care provider that the student submits for the Committee's consideration.
Notification and Appeal
The student will be notified promptly of a decision upon any request for leave. The decision shall indicate whether leave is granted, the time period for any leave, and will identify, if applicable, any conditions for return. The student may appeal the decision to the Vice President and Dean for Student Life. The decision issued by the Vice President and Dean for Student Life is final.
When the request is student-initiated and the student is dissatisfied with the decision (including the conditions for return) or any decision on appeal, the student may decline the leave or may withdraw from the college. See Withdrawal.
When the request for leave is college-initiated, and the student is dissatisfied with the decision (including the conditions for return) or any decision on appeal, the student may withdraw from the college. See Withdrawal.
Duration & Conditions of the Leave
Leaves of absence are granted for the remainder of a semester, a single semester or an academic year. When a student takes a leave of absence during the course of a semester, either the grade of "Withdrawal" (W) or "Incomplete" (I) will be recorded by the Registrar for those courses in which the student is enrolled. Students eligible to utilize the grade of "Incomplete" should follow instructions in the Academic Bulletin. Students are eligible to receive incomplete grades only if the leave begins six weeks or less before the end of the semester.
A student on a leave of absence is completely separated from campus and may be on campus or at College-sponsored activities only with written permission from the Associate Dean of Students. Generally, campus visits are limited to the handling of administrative matters related to the student's leave.
Please note that the College's policies for refunds and deposits are applicable when leaves of absence are granted during a semester.
At the end of the leave, students are expected to return to full-time study in Carlisle. Students may not study off campus (semester or academic year) directly following a leave of absence. (Students who feel that there is a compelling reason to study off-campus the semester directly following a leave of absence may petition the Global Education Advisory Committee.) Students may request an extension to the leave of absence prior to the expiration of the current leave by submitting a written request to the Associate Dean of Students. Students who fail to return on time from a leave of absence or any extension of the leave will be withdrawn from the college. Normally, leaves of absence may continue for no longer than two semesters before students will be withdrawn from the college. See Withdrawal.
NOTE: For loan repayment purposes, students on a leave of absence are considered withdrawn from Dickinson College. Federal Student Loans have a grace period before repayment of the loan must begin (six months for Direct Loans, nine months for Perkins Loans). Students who have not re-enrolled with at least a half-time course load by the end of the grace period must begin repaying their loans. The loans will revert to in-school status once students are re-enrolled with at least a half-time course load. Since the grace period has been used, however, the loans will go into immediate repayment once students are no longer enrolled. Students with Private Loans should consult with their lender concerning treatment of leaves of absence.
Withdrawal from the college, whether voluntary, required, or administrative, discontinues one's enrollment as a degree candidate. If a student withdraws from the college with disciplinary matters pending, whether social or academic in nature, the matter may proceed to disposition, at the sole discretion of the college. Under such circumstances, the student has all rights afforded under the policies of the college for such proceedings, including the right of participation. Any sanctions imposed, other than expulsion, shall be imposed should a student return to Dickinson College at a future date. A sanction of expulsion shall become effective immediately.
For those matters which did not proceed to disposition upon a student's withdrawal from Dickinson, should a student seek to be readmitted within one (1) calendar year of withdrawal, the disposition of the disciplinary matter will proceed at the time application for readmission is made and before a decision on readmission is made by the college.
For those matters which did not proceed to disposition upon a student's withdrawal from Dickinson, no student shall be considered for readmission if one (1) calendar year or more has passed from the time of withdrawal. Note: See below for criteria for readmission.
A student may withdraw voluntarily at any time, with "W" grades being recorded for all registered courses if the withdrawal is made on or before the last day of classes. If withdrawal is made during the final examination period, earned grades will be recorded. Students should contact the Registrar's Office to obtain the appropriate forms and information and to schedule an exit interview. Note: See below for criteria for readmission.
Dickinson College reserves the right, at any time, to require withdrawal from the college of any student whose academic performance or personal conduct on or off the college campus is, in the sole judgment of the college, unsatisfactory or detrimental to the best interests of the college. Students who do not meet the minimum qualitative and/or quantitative standards for their class are required to withdraw.
Appeal of Required Withdrawal for Academic Reasons
Normally, students must wait a full semester after required withdrawal before making reapplication. Students who wish to appeal for immediate reinstatement to active status must petition the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. To be eligible for appeal, the student (1) must submit a petition with the requisite information outlined below, and (2) have proven his/her ability to achieve the established probationary average. In this written petition, addressed to the Subcommittee and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, the student must include a candid assessment and reflection of the poor academic performance as well as a detailed plan to be implemented to improve academic performance to levels expected by the College should the student be permitted to return.
Upon review of the student's submission, the Subcommittee may deny the request for return and continue the required withdrawal, or may approve the student's return to active status on academic probation (see information regarding Academic Probation in Readmission section below) and require the implementation of some or all of the steps outlined in the student's plan as well as the following:
- active participation in the Steps to Academic Success Program for first-year and sophomore students if reinstated for spring semester.
- active participation in the Fall Bridge Program if reinstated for fall semester
A student with a semester grade point average of 0.00 in the fall semester is not eligible to appeal for immediate return to active status in the spring semester.
Students who fail to register by the end of add/drop and who do not inform the Registrar's Office of their plans will be administratively withdrawn. Such students may apply for readmission. Note: See below for criteria for readmission.
Suspension from the College
Sanctions for Violation(s) of the Academic Provisions of the Community Standards A student suspended from the college may not participate in classes or other college activities and may not be on College property (except by appointment, arranged in advance with the Provost/Dean of the College or the Dean of Students or one of their designees) for the period of time specified in the notice of suspension. Students will receive "W" grades for all registered courses when suspension takes effect during the semester. Suspension extending beyond the semester in which action is taken shall consist of units of full semesters. In no case shall the suspension terminate prior to the end of a semester. Courses taken at another institution during this period of suspension will not be accepted for transfer to Dickinson. Conditions for resuming active status on campus following suspension may be imposed by the College. See the Community Standards and Procedures.
Sanctions for Violation(s) of the Social Provisions of the Community Standards For the individual, exclusion from classes, activities of the College, from residence halls, and/or use of facilities or other property of the college for the period of time specified in the notice of suspension (except by appointment, arranged in advance with the Provost/Dean of the College or the Dean of Students or one of their designees). Students will receive "W" grades for all registered courses when suspension takes effect during the semester. Suspension extending beyond the semester in which action is taken shall consist of units of full semesters. In no case shall the suspension terminate prior to the end of a semester. Conditions for readmission may be specified. Courses taken at another institution during this period of suspension will not be accepted for transfer to Dickinson. Conditions for resuming active status on campus following suspension may be imposed by the college. See the Community Standards and Procedures.
Students who are separated from the college during any semester for disciplinary reasons, either social or academic, lose the opportunity to receive college credit for that semester.
Any formerly matriculated student who wishes to re-enroll must file a “Request for Application for Readmission.” Students who attended another college while withdrawn from Dickinson must have the “Request for Certification for Students Seeking Readmission” completed by an Official at the prior college and submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office via mail, e-mail or fax. Such applications should be submitted to the Registrar prior to May 15 for the fall semester and prior to November 15 for the spring semester. Normally, students must wait a full semester (not a summer session) after withdrawal from the college before making reapplication. Students who wish to reapply sooner must petition the Subcommittee on Academic Standards. When possible, the student's academic advisor at the time of withdrawal will be consulted as a part of the subcommittee's consideration of an application for readmission. The student's record while previously enrolled at Dickinson will be considered in the decision. A student who is readmitted must meet the requirements for the degree in effect at the time of readmission. Favorable action in readmission, either by an individual or a committee, does not necessarily constitute a guarantee of a space in the college. It is quite possible that a student applying for readmission might have fulfilled all requirements or conditions for readmission but still be denied access to the college for a particular semester or year because of space limitations.
A student whose average is below the minimum class standard at the time of withdrawal may be eligible to apply for readmission by attending an accredited institution for one semester (not a summer session) with a full program of study approved in advance by the Registrar and the Subcommittee on Academic Standards, attaining a minimum average of 2.25 in those courses, and having no grades lower than a C. Military service or satisfactory employment for at least one year may be substituted for a semester of academic work. All applications for readmission for students whose average is below the minimum class average will be considered by the Subcommittee on Academic Standards.
As a condition of return to active status, students with a cumulative grade point average below the minimum for his/her class will be placed on academic probation. A minimum average will be established for the student in the returning semester. Normally, this average is set to be high enough that it will return the student to good academic standing at the end of the semester. All students on academic probation during fall or spring semester must enroll in four courses for a letter grade. Students on academic probation are determined to be making satisfactory progress for the purpose of receiving financial aid. A student who does not achieve the minimum probationary average will be required to withdraw from the college.
If the student was required to withdraw for non-academic reasons, the application process will normally include a clearance interview with a staff member from the Counseling Center, as well as the possibility of additional documentation being required. Any conditions set forth by the college when the withdrawal became effective must be satisfied at the time of reapplication.
A student who is absent from the college for at least three (3) years, and who is readmitted and successfully completes the equivalent of at least two semesters of work on campus, may petition the Subcommittee on Academic Standards to have course credits toward graduation and cumulative grade point averages based only on work accomplished after the second matriculation. "Successful completion" will mean the attainment of at least a 2.00 average, or a higher probationary average, as stipulated by the committee.
A student required to withdraw for a second time for academic reasons is dismissed from the college without the privilege of readmission at any time.
A student who is expelled from the college does not have the privilege of readmission at any time.
Information for Students not Enrolled for a Dickinson Degree
A non-degree student may be part-time (fewer than three courses) or full-time (between three and four courses) depending on the circumstances of admission. This status can be changed only by agreement with the office that admitted the student.
Non-degree students who are attending Dickinson while enrolled in another institution must be in good academic standing at their home school and have the recommendation of the appropriate official responsible for approval of their program. It is the responsibility of such students to obtain all advice necessary regarding their course selections and various grading options from their home institution.
Conversion to Degree Status
Non-degree students may apply to the Office of Admissions for degree status. If approved, all coursework completed at Dickinson will be accepted toward the degree, provided that the student has more than 12 courses remaining to graduate. At least 12 courses must be taken while enrolled for a degree and with an approved major field of concentration. A minimum of 16 courses must be taken at Dickinson. In general, coursework taken at accredited colleges or universities that parallels the curriculum at Dickinson is transferable provided grades of C (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better have been earned. In general, the student must meet all requirements for graduation in effect at the time of acceptance.
The Community Standards & Procedures describe the standards for academic honesty at Dickinson College. The college statement on cheating and plagiarism can be found in this publication in the printed and online versions. See the Community Standards and Procedures.