Gap Year After High School

Are you thinking about taking a gap year after high school? A gap year can be a great way to transition from high school to college and uncover your passions and purpose in life.

Consider the many benefits of a gap year and how it can expand your worldview and prepare you before you head off to college.

The Effect Of A Gap Year On College Admissions: Top Tips

Apply to College Before Your Gap Year: If you’re considering taking a gap year after high school, it’s generally recommended to complete your college applications during your senior year in high school as if you intend to enroll immediately after graduation.

Deferment Request: After receiving admission to the college or university of your choice, you may be required to send in a deferral request. Deferment of college acceptance for a gap year can be a thoughtful and enriching decision for students seeking personal and academic growth before embarking on their college journey. To initiate this process, it is crucial to first carefully review the college’s deferment policy, which typically outlines specific guidelines and deadlines. Most institutions require students to formally request deferment in writing, stating the reasons for the gap year and outlining their planned activities during that time. Most colleges have deferral instructions and/or forms on the admissions website. If you’re doing your gap year with a program, many (including Global Citizen Year) will provide you with a deferral support letter confirming your enrollment in the gap year program and detailing how you’ll be meaningfully using your gap experience

Defer Enrollment: Once your college approves your deferral request, you can secure your spot in the incoming class by paying a deposit. It’s important to note that the typical decision deadline for most colleges is May 1st. Once deferment has been approved there is no need to reapply to college. The deferment secures your place at college when your gap year/semester is complete.

Colleges After a Gap Year: Some students choose to take a gap year because they weren’t admitted to their desired college or were looking for an alternative but are determined to attend in the future. A gap year can provide an opportunity to rebrand themselves and stand out among other applicants during a second application. During this time, students can grow and mature, and there should be a clear connection between their gap year experiences and their future academic goals. A gap year can be a stepping stone to attending a great college.

It’s important to recognize that not all gap years are viewed equally by admissions officers. They look for the growth and development in your academic profile during your gap year. What you did during your time off should align with your educational aspirations and show a positive direction in your academic journey. Each gap year is unique, and it’s crucial to make the most of it to enhance your academic and personal growth.

Global Citizen Year’s college partners recognize the importance of developing a global perspective, self-awareness, and a defined sense of purpose — life skills that are uniquely developed with a gap experience with Take Action Lab.



Research shows that students who take a gap year actually perform better than their peers once they get to campus. This really shouldn’t be a surprise given the many things students learn during a bridge year, including:

A new culture

Live, play, and work with the local residents. Truly immerse yourself to make the most of your experience.

A new network of friends.

You’ll make memories and friendships to last a lifetime, and join a network of people with similar goals and aspirations. You might not know the other applicants before you start, but in this experience, you’ll quickly learn about one another and the many commonalities you share that will be the basis for a long-lasting friendship.


Global citizenship, entrepreneurialism, leadership.

You’ll acquire skills that will prepare you for college and give you a competitive advantage beyond graduation. These are skills you can’t learn at a desk, but you’ll inevitably learn with real-world experience.

Perhaps the biggest thing you’ll learn during a gap year after high school is who you are. A bridge year is a year of self-discovery, finding your true grit and uncovering hidden passions. You’ll mature beyond your years and set foot on campus more academically engaged than ever.

A gap year doesn’t just fill the space between high school and college. At Global Citizen Year, a gap year allows you to smoothly transition between two very different phases while preparing you for life beyond.

How To Know If A Gap Year Could Be Right For You

  1. You Crave New Experiences

If you find yourself yearning for new experiences, eager to step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown, a gap year could be the answer. This journey offers the chance to explore different cultures, traditions, and environments, fostering personal growth and broadening your perspectives.


  1. Academic Burnout

Have you been burning the midnight oil to excel academically without pause? If you’re experiencing academic burnout or questioning your current educational path, a gap year can provide a great pivot. It allows you to recharge, pursue alternative interests, and return to formal education with renewed focus and energy.


  1. Uncertainty About Your Future

If you’re uncertain about your future academic or career choices, a gap year can be a valuable time for reflection. It enables you to explore various fields, gain clarity about your interests, and make informed decisions about your future.

  1. Desire for Personal Development

A gap year is not just about traveling or taking a break; it’s a time for personal development. If you’re eager to build life skills, gain independence, and enhance your resilience, a gap year can be a transformative experience.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report:

Colgate University:


More Gap Year Resources