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Articles / Admissions / No College Classes Allowed During Gap Year?

April 27, 2020

No College Classes Allowed During Gap Year?

Question: my daughter requested deferred admission and was granted it on the condition that she can not be enrolled in any school for the gap year. she was going to work and take some part time classes in community college during her gap year.

Why the admitting college would be opposed to part time classes for enrichment? And how the admitting college can know about them?


It's common for colleges to restrict the number of classes that gap year students can take and, sometimes, to prohibit them entirely. I'm not sure why this policy is in place. Maybe it's to avoid any blurry lines between those who will enter as freshmen and those who will enter as transfers. Perhaps, too, college officials feel that taking courses during a gap year may defeat the purpose of this hiatus which is intended to allow teenagers to spend time away from school work, to recharge their batteries, and to pursue non-academic passions.

Obviously, if your daughter's college says NO GAP YEAR CLASSES, then there is little point in paying for her to take classes for credit. Not only is there a small chance that she could get caught (or, at the very least, would have to be dishonest about her plans) but also she wouldn't be able to report those classes to her college and to get whatever credit she has earned.

So if your daughter wants to take classes for enrichment purposes only ... in other words, to learn more about quantum physics or Islamic art or cognitive science ... she can ask to "audit" a class or more at the community college. She won't get credit, but she also won't have to write papers and take tests or run the risk of getting booted out by the college she plans to attend a year later. If, however, she wants to take the kinds of classes that her “real" college probably doesn't offer anyway (e.g., therapeutic massage or French cooking), then she may be able to register officially for these. She just needs to check with the admission officers who accepted her to confirm that there won't be any problems ... and even the grouchiest of admission folks probably won't be able to say no to a back rub or a crème brûlée. ;-)

Written by

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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