Just curious about the best way to go about this. Unfortunately for my situation, this seems like an imminent possibility.

When I originally joined the band several years ago, I was working towards being at the school I currently am. I wasn't as busy back then, so I was able to make gigging work during semesters, only being unavailable for midterms, finals, etc.  I originally joined the band with an understanding and transparency that getting into and ultimately through this program at the school I am currently at, was ultimately the main priority for me, and that the context of the band was more to make music and have fun, without much pressure to gig constantly. There was also an understanding that friendships were a higher priority than the band itself.

Unfortunately, the gigging aspect of that understanding has recently changed, I was accepted to said school but my workload is significantly heavier than it was when I joined. There is now an expectation and significant push to take on gigs during very heavy workload periods, likely due to a recent record release and more opportunities to gig. Despite making it clear that this was not possible well in advance, and making it clear my boundaries were being crossed by pushing the issue continually, things do not seem to be changing. I am concerned that this attitude will continue going forwards, as I do not plan on complying with those expectations for the sake of my schoolwork. My bandmates are not listening to me and are instead coming up with reasons why i would be able to handle a gig very close to exam periods, which is definitely not feasible. (finals are weighted at 50% course grade)

Once I am in a position where finals are completed (2-3 weeks), I will address the situation in person, but I do see leaving as a possible but hopefully avoidable outcome. I will not address it now due to the disruption it could have to my studying.

In preparation for that, any advice about how to handle leaving a band while maintaining friendships would be greatly appreciated.  
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Last edited by British_Steal at Apr 4, 2017,
It's pretty simple:

"Guys, I have to put school first right now so I am giving 30 days notice that I need to back out of the band at least until I finish my degree.  If you like I will help you find a replacement and show him the ropes."

Simple, honest, dignified.  If they cannot accept this they are not really your friends.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Pretty much that yeah. That is also way better than being half present or skipping practices and canceling gigs at the last moment. That would lead to resentment from both sides. Just let them know why you cant do ti anymore and help them find a replacement. Ive had members leave my band in both of those ways, and the one who just flat out said his heart is not in it anymore is still a good friend of mine, while the other guy.... not so much. 
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
You should assume that your band mates won't change their attitude if they haven't already. Just make sure you go to their next gig and cheer them on to show that you still support them!