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College 101

Deferring College for a Gap Year
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

First of all, let’s get something straight. In order to defer attending college, you have to be accepted to at least one college. Deferring doesn’t mean waiting to apply to college for a year. That’s called procrastinating. That’s cheating.

OK, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about legitimate deferment.

Students may defer for a semester or two (or up to two years at some schools) for a variety of reasons. There may be some medical issues, or perhaps they need to work for a year to save some dough. Many students defer in order to participate in a gap year program, which is what we’re talking about here. Notice a pattern, though? All of these are actual, legitimate reasons to defer. Don’t expect your school to hold your place so you can hang out at the mall for a year, your goal to sample every combination of frozen yogurt and toppings.

"We must admit though… it IS tempting…"

So how to go about it? There are a few steps you must take to ensure you do it right.

First of all, check with your school’s admissions department to get details about its specific policies for deferring, as they will be different for every school. Once you confirm that deferring is a possibility, you’ll want to communicate your intentions with the school.

This is not the time to tweet your plans. “Heading to Bangkok LOL” is not an acceptable way to defer. Bust out your formal letter writing skills, and make a written request to admissions, outlining your specific (and constructive) plans for the time you’ll not be going to their school but still thinking about their school…often. Be very clear about what you will be doing, exactly when you plan on enrolling, and how this important activity will help you contribute to the school once you finally start.

Be sure you know if your school needs a deposit to hold your place, and confirm when your school actually wants your deferment letter (whether it’s with your application or after you’re accepted.)

During your gap year, be sure you’re documenting your experiences through journaling, blogging, photos, or some culminating project. Not only will this help you justify your time away from school if needed, but it will be a great way to remember that year between high school and college.  Have a great time! And if you run out of things to do, try out this prank.

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