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Students on leave face varying policies on internships, fellowships

November 13, 2020

Students taking personal leaves of absence (PLOA) for the 2020-2021 academic year may have to contend with a variety of policies regarding which College resources are available to them during their leave, according to the College’s Spring 2021 FAQ page updated Thursday.

Students taking a PLOA have full access to job and internship databases through the Center for Career Exploration and Development (CXD), according to CXD Director Kristin Brennan. Additionally, sophomores on leave during either—but not both—the fall or the spring will be able to participate in the Sophomore Career Bootcamp because it takes place between semesters.

However, students on leave for the spring will not be able to apply for funding through the CXD’s funded internship program, Brennan explained.

“Students on leave don’t have access to CXD advising appointments, funding opportunities (such as funded internship grants), on-campus interviews or a small number of limited-capacity events,” Brennan wrote in an email to the Orient. “That’s during the semester(s) in which they are on leave, consistent with the description in the student handbook regarding presence on campus while unenrolled. Once they return, those resources are all available again.”

Brennan explained that this departmental policy is primarily due to employers’ policies regarding unenrolled students.

“Many, or even most, of the internships that applicants for funded internships would apply to—with, for instance, businesses, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits—often have policies requiring that any (unpaid) intern has to be an enrolled student; in many cases the employers are compelled to do that because labor law in a number of U.S. states either encourages or requires it, and federal law encourages that practice as well,” Brennan wrote.

The Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good and the Center for Co-Curricular Opportunities, on the other hand, will permit students on leave for the spring to apply for funding for summer opportunities, as long as they plan to reenroll for the fall semester, according to Tom Ancona, associate director of the McKeen Center.

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