Want to take a gap year, but worry what deferred college could mean for your acceptance? We asked admissions departments from a number of top universities to put your fears at ease. While some applicants worry about the decision to defer admission to college, the top colleges and universities tell us they wish more incoming students would consider a gap year.
“Perhaps the best way of all to get the full benefit of a “time-off” is to postpone entrance to college for a year. For more than four decades, Harvard has recommended this option, indeed proposing it in the letter of admission. Now more than one hundred students defer college until the next year. The results have been uniformly positive.” [“Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation”]
“No one ever regrets having taken a gap year, but plenty of people regret not having taken one. The bottom line here is that it is okay to slow down. Life, college, career -- it's not a race.” [“On Taking a Gap Year”]
“For many, a gap year is a time to focus, recharge, and learn about themselves before starting their academic journey. So if you’re thinking about a gap year, we want to help. From understanding our deferral policy, to hearing from students who made the most of their gap year, to connecting with programs around the globe, we want you to have every resource possible to inform your choice.”
“We find the kids that come back from a year off often are wiser, they’re more mature, and have different perspective than those who might have gone straight to college.”
Once you have applied, and been accepted, to a college, you have the option to defer entry for a year (or even just a semester), and start college the following fall instead.
Most Fellows choose to apply to college during their senior year.
Once you're accepted, almost all colleges have a straightforward process to request a one-year deferral to take a gap year.
If you do not get admitted to the college of your choice, Global Citizen Year will support you in applying during your gap year. Past Fellows can attest that a year abroad gives you great perspective on what you want out of college, and will only strengthen your application.
When it comes to how to defer admission, you can usually find deferral instructions on the college’s admissions website. If you don’t see it on the college admissions page, check this list of University Deferral Policies compiled by the Gap Year Association or call the College Admissions office for more information.
Almost all colleges will be happy to approve your gap year deferral request. You can always contact Global Citizen Year for extra support.
Yes! Our Director of College Admissions Guidance supports Fellows who choose to apply to colleges during their Global Citizen Year. This service is available to students who are applying to college the first time, or students who may have applied during senior year, but have not accepted/deferred anywhere.
A growing number of colleges are offering their own gap year programs, supporting students with gap year scholarships, or providing resources about gap year options:
* If you work in higher education, please contact Linda Frey at email@example.com to find out more about how your institution can partner with Global Citizen Year