A student at my college will graduate soon and go to the US to study full-time, on a visa. His family however, are planning an important event sometime in the middle of the semester, and they hope that he can return to his home country for two weeks, then return to the US to finish the semester.

  • During that semester, he will only be taking courses and will not be receiving any grants.

Do colleges typically have a policy prohibiting such arrangements? Are professors generally willing to accommodate such requests, e.g. adjusting deadlines for homework?

  • I am afraid this is off-topic here, as it seems to be about undergraduate studies.
    – xLeitix
    Feb 20 '14 at 13:15
  • @xLeitix: If I understood correctly, the student will go to the US after graduating.
    – user102
    Feb 20 '14 at 13:23
  • @CharlesMorisset I may misunderstand, but it certainly does not seem like that to me.
    – xLeitix
    Feb 20 '14 at 13:51
  • @xLeitix: "A student at my school will graduate soon and go to the US". I'm not English native speaker, so I might have a bias, but I understand the "and" as a temporal sequence. Village: what kind of studies will the student follow in the US?
    – user102
    Feb 20 '14 at 13:58

Colleges do not prohibit such events because colleges can't prohibit such events. On the contrary, colleges have policies explicitly permitting absences for certain specific reasons: travel on university business (including athletics), documented medical emergencies, deaths in the family. There is typically a special grade of "Incomplete" awarded if the material missed is critical, such as a final exam; the student takes the final soon upon returning and the grade is adjusted accordingly.

As for what the professors will do, this is highly variable. Some will be accommodating and will extend deadlines, others will mark missed work with zero, while a few might even kick the student out of the course.

Luckily, there is a simple solution for this student. While enrolling for classes, at the very beginning of the term, he should speak to the professors involved and explain the situation. If any professor is particularly hostile, then he should take a different course instead. In extremely unlucky circumstances, a specific course will be essential to take that term (and no later), and the professor will be very hostile. In this case it might end up that the student takes longer to graduate.


The answer will highly vary according to the institute, or even according to the professor because some institutes leave the professor to decide.

What the student should do is to e-mail or meet with the professors who will be teaching in his/her chosen courses, and inform them that he/she will be a away for two weeks, give the professors the actual dates of departure and return.

Usually, deadline can be moved and sometimes even exam can be rescheduled. But it's mostly about how flexible the professors are willing to be. If the professors wouldn't accommodate, then the student should not take that course.

Also, the student should make arrangement about getting the lecture slides or notes that he/she will be missing, and perhaps ask for the lecturers' permission to let a friend of the student's to record the lecture, if possible.

Just remember all of these communications should be done preferably before the semester starts. Never just disappear for two weeks and then come back to negotiate for accomodation.

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