I am taking a gap year (year off after high school.) Although not that common in US, it is common in NZ, UK, and Australia. I have read somewhere that some universities don't mind students taking a year off to not be a couch potato but to really gain a worldly perspective and discover what they want to do.
I took a gap year for two reasons: I skipped two grades, so I was 16 when I graduated. I had a fairly good idea about my intended major, but I wasn't decided on where to go for tertiary education. So I decided to take a gap year to consider different choices.
I also took it to travel and take a summer school at Harvard. I went to China for an international science competition, then travelled afterwards. Harvard Summer School was really an epiphany: i found the urge to try out for US colleges.
So what do you guys think? Will this gap year disadvantage me?
Well, honestly, if you really want to try, just go ahead and apply. That gap year is done; it may or may not affect you, but either way you just can't say that you didn't take it if it's disadvantageous. Why would it matter at this point whether or not it is disadvantageous?
Very true. I am, of course, going to apply and am busy working on my app. But what I want are opinions from students who are/have taken a gap year, or know of someone who has. Also, in NZ very few people apply to US, so neither my school nor I have much knowledge on what US colleges think about gap year. For example, I know that Australian and NZ universities do not give it much emphasis; they see students taking a gap year often. I am not sure if US colleges would be similar in that regard.
Thanks for your post!
Use the Additional Info section of the common app to explain you were 2 years younger than your peers at time of graduation and took a gap year to do ....... and explain what you got out of your time away.
i dont think its very important, just as long as you're justifying it thoroughly. you dont have to out right say this is the reason blah blah., just have to mention the stuff you did. theyll get it. im on a gap year myself.,and its ok!
i know someone who got cornell and carnegie mellon after his gap year, and he didnt even justify it !!
I don't think this will disadvantage you at all, it might even show greater maturity on your part. I know someone who applied to colleges during her gap year, she didn't apply to any super-selective schools but got into nearly everywhere she applied and got significant merit aid at a lot of places. This wasn't necessarily because of the gap year, though it does show initiative on the part of the student, it was probably also because of good grades and scores in high school. Still, I really doubt it'll hurt you in anyway.
i dont think it will be an issue. Especially due to the fact that you were 2 years younger than your peers when you graduated. Just send a personal statement saying that and what you did during your year off
Hey hajikmai: thank you very much for your advice =) I didn't apply at all last year; in fact, i didn't even think about US colleges when i was in my final year of high school. But I have a long list of 10 colleges to apply to, and most are long shots, especially because I am an international student needing financial aid.
IBscrewed91: Carnegie Mellon? Thats sweet! one of my friends from harvard summer school was going to matriculate this sept at carnegie. He says its pretty awesome, although I don't think I will be apply to it because i am not focused on engineering as such.
IMHO, your gap year could be an asset. I know two people here at Stanford who did something similar to you (one traveled in Europe and the other India). From the admins POV, the world perspective they gained allows them to enrich the Stanford environment. Also, as was said above, since you graduated early, your gap year may be seen as making you mature enough to handle college (not that you weren't before, but the admins might worry). Good luck!