12th Grade

Should I Take a Gap Year?

Not every student wants to go to college right out of high school. Some aren’t sure they want to attend college at all – looking instead at alternative options. Though the atmosphere of education encourages immediate entry into college post-high school, this isn’t every student’s story. Some students choose to take a gap year.

What is a gap year?

A gap year is a year after high school spent in missions, volunteering, or work. Students might sign up for an actual program or one-year intensive. Others may work and save for a year. Some choose to travel or join a missions organization like YWAM. They may beef up their ACT/SAT scores and work on college applications. The gap year gives them freedom to think and prepare prior to buckling back down to the academic grind.

Will colleges still accept a student who takes a gap year?

Yes! Colleges are used to hearing from students who wish to take time off academics between high school and college. Even so, it’s very important that the student stay in contact with the college and finish the admission process. It is wise to have all your documents on file with the university, then defer admission to a future date.

Will I still get credit for my CLEPs?

If you’ve taken CLEPs, AP exams or dual credit, these remain on your transcript no matter what. A gap year shouldn’t change that status of your transfer credit. However, be aware that degree completion plans (outlines of the classes required for certain majors) are subject to change every year. If you take a gap year, contact your destination university toward the end of it to confirm that nothing has changed in your intended program of study.

Do admissions committees look down on a gap year?

If you weren’t accepted to a university yet – though your documents are all on file with them – you might be concerned that the admission committee won’t consider a gap year student. Don’t worry! As a general rule, a gap year won’t alter the decision of an admission committee as much as academics and extracurricular work might. The gap year could actually work to a student’s advantage if it is used for productive purposes. Colleges love to receive applications from mature students, which a gap year can help with! Be sure to record what you do during your gap year to add to your transcript and resume for college admission processes.

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