Should I Take a Gap Year and/or Defer Enrollment?

Probably. Gap years can be incredibly transformative in terms of focus, motivation, and interest. We believe and always advise our students that if you are thinking critically and are contemplating a gap year, then you probably should take the gap year. A gap year, regardless of what you do (as long as you don’t spend it holed up in your bedroom--though if you’re a thoughtful student, you aren’t thinking along these lines), can inject you with a sense of perspective, a broader understanding of the world, and a boost in concentration going into your first year of college that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

To students:

Think about it--you’re entering your 14th year of school (at least), and you’re feeling a little bit rundown and restless. You’re going to college because it’s the next step. Yet, you have this feeling that if you were to take a year to say, travel, work abroad, or even work at your local ice cream shop, you’d be able to tone down your anxiety, get your head in the right mind space and enter your first year of school in a revitalized mood.

Let’s talk about the cons of taking a gap year. The main con is essentially FOMO. You’ll be around 1 year older than some of the students in your class now, and you won’t be on the exact same timeline as everyone you went to high school with. Honestly? In the long run, you’re going to be totally fine. And if you’re seriously thinking about a gap year, we tend to believe that you already have what it takes to rise above the pull of FOMO.

Life is long. What’s the rush? If you need a year to decompress, travel, experience, and gain some perspective, then go with your gut. Defer your admission for a year. Just one year. The experiences that you have and the understanding that you will acquire from those experiences will surely serve you well as you enter college with a much more nuanced view of the world. Also Malia Obama took one. 

To parents whose student is considering a gap year:

Your child has been in school for the last 13 years of their lives, at minimum. They might be burnt out. Stressed. Anxious. Exhausted. It’s okay to give them time to reset. They’ll do better in the long run. We swear. Ultimately, students who are able to cope with anxiety and who have the tools necessary to do so are more likely to succeed. If you think about it, it makes sense. Your child will not run away from their life and defer their admission indefinitely. It’s very rare that this happens, and really their gap year will serve them well once they do start college. They will be refreshed, motivated, excited, and focused. You can also help them manage their year, and help them come up with an ideal plan. Truly whatever they do, they will be the better for it. We believe that.

What we also often find with students who take gap years is that they go into freshman year with a clearer vision of what they want to study, making for a slightly less messy freshman year. And clearer vision shouldn’t be downplayed when you’re investing a quarter of a million dollars in their education. Also Barack and Michelle thought it was a good idea. 

That’s our two cents. Take it or leave it, but let us know if you need to talk anything through or if you have any questions. There are absolutely situations where a gap year is more appropriate than others.

We’re happy to talk about it with you. Call us.