Shopping at the GAP or Taking a GAP (Year)?

Acceptance letters and financial aid awards are in! Now what?

Are you and your student happy with the options on the table? If they are, then you did the college search correctly and have the funds to pay for the four year investment.

If not, your student may want to consider taking a GAP year.

Deferred enrollment could be a great option for many students who are not quite ready to make the leap to college, for whatever reason.

When Charlotte Elizabeth Diana turns 17, she’ll probably take a GAP year.

Many college bound students from the United Kingdom take a GAP year before pursuing their college degree. Why not in the United States?

Studies have shown that once a student enrolls in college, the GPA’s are higher for students who have taken a GAP year, than those who went straight to college from high school.

A student tends to be more mature and perhaps, more worldly depending on where they spend their GAP year.

GAP years may not be right for everyone, but for students who have spent the past several years working under intense pressure just to get into college, it may be a welcome respite. GAP year options might include working for Americorps, spending time on an organic farm, or teaching English in another country, to name a few.

The point is, this is not a time for the student to sit on the couch and become the XBox Champion for consecutive days playing the game.

A moment to “take your breath.”

What a liberal arts college in Connecticut says the process is:

Deferred Enrollment

Q: Is it possible to defer enrollment at ABC College for one year if I am admitted?

A: Yes. Deferred enrollment requests must be submitted in writing (letter or email) and approved by June 1st. Upon approval, ABC College will grant deferred admission for one year. Typically, 20 to 25 students are granted deferred matriculation in each class. In order to obtain approval, applicants must submit a plan for their “gap year.” Students granted a deferral cannot make any further admission applications to other institutions or enroll full time in any other institution of higher education. Interested students must also submit their admission deposit by May 1st. Once the student’s request for deferment is received and, if approved, a formal letter acknowledging their deferred status will be sent. An essay, briefly describing deferral activities and reaffirming intention to enroll at ABC College is required by March 1st of the deferral year.

Some concerns:

  • This process is not guaranteed
  • What if over the course of the GAP year, a student decides they want to apply elsewhere?
  • What if you want to apply elsewhere in a year? Is that uncommon? Is it ethical?

If a GAP year is in your thoughts, make sure your student has all of the information they need to make an informed decision.

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