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Not Sure You Want to Go to College Right after High School?

Information adapted from Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College and adMISSION POSSIBLE®.

What a college thinks about a gap year depends on how you make use of that year.

If you spend the year sitting on your couch catching up on celebrity gossip, colleges won’t be impressed. However, if you’re committed to going to college—just not right away—and you do something productive, such as traveling or volunteering or working, colleges are likely to be sympathetic and may even consider it a sign of maturity.

Our experts say you should go through the entire college admissions process while you’re a senior in high school. It is much easier to get teacher and counselor recommendations when they still see you on a regular basis. You should accept admission to the school of your choice, then ask your admissions officer what you can do to defer enrollment for a year. It's best not to discuss the idea of taking a gap year in the middle of the admissions process because a school could turn you down in favor of a student who is more likely to enroll in the fall.

You can also check a college’s website for any information about deferring enrollment.

Overall, make sure you have completely planned out how you would spend a gap year before deciding that it's the best choice for you.