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Withdraw For One or More Quarters (Term Withdrawal) & Re-Entry (FRET)

Students have the option to withdraw from Northwestern University for one or more quarters, then return at a later date. 

If you would like to withdraw for personal reasons, learn about the withdrawal policies [see https://www.registrar.northwestern.edu/registration-graduation/registration/withdrawal.html], and submit the Term Withdrawal Request form for undergraduate students [see https://www.registrar.northwestern.edu/records/records-forms.html]. If you are seeking a medical leave of absence (MLOA), information and instructions on completing this process are available on the Medical Leave of Absence page from Student Affairs [see https://www.northwestern.edu/counseling/clinical-services/leave-of-absence/index.html]. 

Additionally, if you plan to return to Northwestern, you must fill out a Former Returning Students (FRET ) form, submit it to the Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising (dear-soc@northwestern.edu), and meet with the SoC Undergraduate Dean. The FRET form is a one-page document that will be officially processed when you are ready to return to Northwestern.  Filling it out at the same time that you submit your request for a term withdrawal helps to streamline the process of moving you back to “active student” status. Additional details on the re-entry policies and procedures can be found at: https://www.registrar.northwestern.edu/registration-graduation/registration/former-students-re-entry.html    

Important Things to Consider: 

  • Withdrawing from the University does not impact your GPA.  Any quarter during which you do not enroll in any courses simply does not appear on your transcript.  
  • Your reasons for withdrawing remain private, but it is important to be honest when you’re meeting with the SoC Undergraduate Dean because they can help you determine the best strategy for responding to your situation.  
  • When you withdraw, you are no longer a full-time student.  This may have implications for your status on your insurance plan, so talk with your advisor, family, and the SoC Undergraduate Dean to be sure you are prepared for any issues that may arise. 
  • When you withdraw, the clock on your student loan grace period starts counting down.  Most student loans give you a grace period lasting 6 months total when you are not enrolled full time before repayment kicks in.  This means that stepping out for one or two quarters can diminish or wipe out that grace period, and your repayment may begin immediately upon graduation.  Talk with your family and check the terms of your student loans to be sure that you know what to expect with your repayment schedule. 
  • Keep checking your Northwestern e-mail account.  If you receive a notice from NUIT that tells you your e-mail account will be deactivated, forward that e-mail to dear-soc@northwestern.edu with a note reminding us that you have withdrawn.  We will override that deactivation.  
  • Keep in touch with your advisor and the SoC Undergraduate Dean during the time that you are away from the university to stay abreast of any important information and updates.