Many students choose to attend W&L because it is a place where students are treated as unique individuals. The reinstatement process emphasizes each student's individuality by reviewing each request on its own distinctive features. The Committee examines the academic, social and pertinent health histories of applicants for reinstatement, and its members carefully evaluate those elements that serve as predictors of both academic and personal success at W&L.
All reinstatement decisions are made by a Committee, rather than by any single individual. The Committee strives for consistency in the way it reviews requests for reinstatement. One of the Committee's primary responsibilities is to support the reinstatement of students who are likely to be successful both academically and socially at Washington and Lee. While a majority of reinstatement candidates ultimately return to W&L, they do not always do so in short order.
Undergraduate applications for reinstatement are available here. Undergraduate students must return the completed application, along with all required materials, so that the Associate Dean of The College receives it by 5:00 p.m. US Eastern time November 15 for winter term, March 1 for spring term, and May 15 or August 1 for fall term. The University will not reinstate an undergraduate student for a spring term unless that student's transcript indicates that the student was enrolled in a full-time course load during at least one of the two preceding 12-week terms at Washington and Lee.
Where can I get an application for reinstatement?
Contact the Associate Dean of the College (540-458-8746) to have a hard copy of the application mailed to you, or download an application from the University web site here. Instruct all recommenders writing on your behalf to address their materials to the Associate Dean of the College, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450. Letters or supporting documentation sent to other departments on campus may not reach the proper office until the deadline has passed.
Can I be reinstated for winter or spring term, or is fall term my only option?
Reinstatement applications are due May 15 or August 1 for fall term, November 15 for winter term, or March 1 for spring term. (NOTE, however, that you can only apply for spring term reinstatement if you were enrolled full time during fall or winter term of the same academic year). While applications for reinstatement are accepted for spring term, it is not always the best time to return. Consult with the Associate Dean of the College if you need more information about determining the appropriate timing for your application.
Who must apply for reinstatement?
Any former degree-seeking undergraduate (anyone who has matriculated in the past) who has withdrawn from the University for any reason must apply for reinstatement via the Committee on the Automatic Rule and Reinstatement.
If I left for physical or emotional health reasons, why can't I simply have a doctor certify my readiness to return?
Because health and academic issues may affect one another, all requests for reinstatement are reviewed according to the same criteria, involving both academic and social readiness to return to W&L.
If a dean/faculty member/counselor/physician told me to come back in a certain term, do I still need to apply for reinstatement?
While a dean or health-care provider may be helping you prepare to return, only the Committee, through its official action, can approve the reinstatement of any former undergraduate student. The Committee reviews a complete application, along with relevant professional feedback (e.g. from a faculty member, dean, or doctor) and the academic record at W&L, before determining whether the timing of a student's return seems appropriate. Because the Committee's decision is based on a wide variety of factors, it may differ from the opinion of an individual with whom you've spoken.
If I have questions about the reinstatement process, whom should I call?
The Associate Dean of the College chairs the Committee, and s/he can answer your questions at (540) 458 - 8746 (click here for more contact information). See also the text of the reinstatement policy in the Catalog which will contain the most up-to-date information.
At the time of your withdrawal
What are the chances that I will be reinstated if I am suffering from serious emotional problems at the time of my withdrawal from W&L?
The chances of returning sooner (rather than later) are enhanced if a student withdraws before emotional problems result in severe academic or social difficulties for the student or for others in the W&L community. Even if a student leaves under extremely adverse circumstances, the chances of eventual return are high, although it is not guaranteed, the Committee may recommend a longer period of time away from W&L to establish a record of emotional stability and/or academic focus prior to return.
If I am facing judicial charges on campus at the time of my departure, will this affect my ability to seek reinstatement?
The Committee is concerned only with a student's eligibility to return to W&L. If reinstated, a student would return to face any pending charges that were unresolved at the time of withdrawal (e.g. a student who withdraws voluntarily to avoid facing a judicial hearing would face the hearing upon return). The Dean of Students (540-458-8754) can usually answer additional questions on this topic either before or after a student withdraws.
My health problems have caused me to slip academically. How can I tell whether it would be best to stay at W&L or to withdraw?
The best strategy is to consult with a physician or counselor at W&L as soon as health problems (or emotional health problems) emerge. Students who withdraw to seek more intensive treatment or therapy, or to get healthy away from the stresses of a rigorous academic environment, are far more likely to recover quickly and to return to W&L after a shorter absence.
While withdrawn from W&L
What should I do while withdrawn from W&L to maximize my chances of reinstatement?
The answer will depend on each student's unique circumstances at the time of withdrawal. The best way to answer this question is to speak directly with the Associate Dean of the College, who chairs the Committee.
Can I stay on campus/audit classes/use University facilities while withdrawn?
Once a student withdraws, they lose University card access to University buildings, as well as e-mail account access and privileges associated with other University resources (e.g. health and counseling services). Students who have unique needs immediately after withdrawing (for a very limited time period) must speak with the Dean of Students (540-458-8754) to make arrangements.
At the time of application for reinstatement
How firm is the deadline for reinstatement applications?
Complete applications must be received in the Office of the Dean of the College by the deadline noted on the application for reinstatement. It is the applicant's responsibility to verify that all materials have been received (not merely postmarked) by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Committee.
I left W&L for health reasons, and my doctor thinks that the lighter course load of spring term will give me a good opportunity to ease back into the rigors of the W&L academic environment. Does the Committee agree?
No. A rigorous, highly competitive college setting is not the best place to finish recovering from health-related difficulties. The Committee tends to reinstate students only when there is a very good chance of the student's being successful here. In recent years, the rate of failure has been higher for those students returning during the spring term than it has been for students returning for the fall term. The Committee has increasingly recommended that students apply for fall term reinstatement instead of spring.
Are my chances for reinstatement enhanced if I offer to under-load (register for fewer than 12.0 credits) during my first term back?
No. W&L accepts only full-time students, and will interpret a request for an academic under-load as a sign that the applicant is not yet ready to return and succeed here.
What is the Committee looking for in assessing my readiness to return to W&L?
The Committee looks for evidence that a student who was ill at the time of withdrawal is healthy, or has improved to the extent that any remaining health condition does not affect the student's ability to succeed in academic and social programs at W&L, and that the student's health has been stable for some period of time. In many cases, the Committee will also ask formerly ill students to show that they can remain stable and healthy even when full-time academic course work is added back to their lives (supporting documentation from physicians, therapists, and/or counselors is a necessity). Those who withdrew while facing academic difficulties (e.g. low GPA, failure to complete a full course load, academic probation, or Automatic Rule) should demonstrate their readiness to return by completing college-level course work at another four-year institution during their absence. Since the Committee reviews each request on its own merits, students are encouraged to discuss their specific situation with the Associate Dean of the College and/or the Dean of Students as soon as possible after leaving W&L.
How forthcoming should I be in revealing details of my emotional/disciplinary/health problems in my application?
The Committee expects full disclosure of these issues. Just saying, "I've thought about my problems," won't be viewed by the Committee as very forthcoming. The essay that you as an applicant write offers the chance to show that you have taken responsibility for any difficult circumstances that may have existed at the time of your withdrawal. In addition, this is an opportunity to reflect on the reasons for withdrawal and the progress you have made during your time away from W&L. The essay is critically important in the Committee's evaluation of your readiness to return and to be successful at W&L.
Will the personal information I share in my application become part of my academic record?
Confidential information is removed from the application packet and filed separately from the academic record that is used throughout the year by deans and faculty members. However, the information is maintained in a separate file constituting the Committee's official record. Access to the confidential record is strictly limited according to federal law and University policies. The Associate Dean of the College can answer additional questions.
What happens next
If I am denied reinstatement, is there any point in applying again in the future?
Yes. The Committee tries to assess the likelihood that you will be successful at W&L at a given point in time. In most cases where the Committee denies reinstatement, the Committee's concerns can be addressed within a few months to a year. Just because the Committee denies an application in August does not necessarily mean it will do so again in December.
If I am denied reinstatement, can I appeal?
An appeal is a request to review the procedure that the Committee followed in its review of a particular case. If there is reason to think that the Committee did not act with internal consistency in its review of your particular case, you can bring that concern to the attention of the Associate Dean of the College, who will decide whether an appeal of procedure is warranted. Because providing additional information after a denial will not result in reconsideration, you should include everything germane to your application when you submit it originally. Unless otherwise advised by the chair of the Committee, all applicants may reapply for reinstatement at a later date.
Can I always return to my former housing situation after reinstatement?
You should give careful consideration to the role that a housing environment can play in supporting or detracting from a successful college experience. The Dean of Students can advise you regarding housing options and relevant considerations, and ought to be consulted on this matter before you return to Lexington. On occasion, the Committee may recommend that you change your housing situation upon return.
If I am reinstated with contingencies, how are they enforced?
You may be reinstated contingent upon agreement to follow up on requirements imposed by the Committee. Such contingencies will be described in the reinstatement letter that the Associate Dean of the College sends after the Committee has acted. Your return and matriculation constitute your agreement to the terms of the readmission letter, including all contingencies. Failure to adhere to the terms specified in the letter will subject you to required administrative withdrawal from the University. Questions about contingencies should be directed to the Associate Dean of the College.
Students who are administratively withdrawn from the University are rarely reinstated.