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Articles / Applying to College / Can My Son Defer College Applications to Gap Year?

April 12, 2008

Can My Son Defer College Applications to Gap Year?

Question: I've been told that before my son takes a gap year, he has to apply to--and be accepted by--a college, then talk to them about deferring admission for a year. I was under the impression that he could apply for college during his gap year. Which is correct?

Your son can certainly wait until his gap year to apply to colleges. However, this might be a little tricky if he plans to be far away from home or in any sort of situation where he won't have regular access to the Internet and e-mail. (Yes, it's still possible to go through the process without technology, but it sure isn't easy!) Also, before your son graduates, he might want to consider soliciting references from his teachers and guidance counselor, but that isn't an imperative either, as long as he'll be in a position to stay in touch with them during his year off.


So, don't worry, it looks like you got some bad info from the grapevine this time. Not only can your son wait until his gap year to make his college choices and complete his applications, but also this may be a sound approach because his gap-year experiences could significantly affect what he wants to do and where he wants to be. Waiting those extra months to apply to colleges should also add a bit of sanity to his senior year.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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