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Better to apply to college before or after gap year?

Momoo3Momoo3 0 replies1 threads New Member
My high school senior will definitely need a gap year due to depression/anxiety/immaturity. We’re wondering if it’s better/easier to apply to colleges now in her senior year of high school — and asking for a deferral — or wait a year to apply. Her grades have been declining since sophomore year , so we’re not sure she’ll even be accepted anywhere. Perhaps it would be better to apply after she’s taken some college level classes during the gap year and, hopefully, done well. It just seems like the application system is set up for senior year of high school. Once she’s out of high school for a year, what about getting letters of recommendation? Hoping for some advice from someone who’s been through this.
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Replies to: Better to apply to college before or after gap year?

  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 648 replies1 threads Member
    You will need help from the guidance counselor. If there are some test optional or non selective affordable colleges, it may best to apply now and defer- if they allow deferral. Would have to check.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 1320 replies25 threads Senior Member
    My daughter is planning a gap year next year and thought she would apply now and defer, but most of the schools she looked at do not allow deferrals. So, she’s applying to the two that allow it and will go from there. I would definitely look at where she may want to apply/has a shot at acceptance and find out if each allow a gap year deferral. I agree it seems harder to smoothly navigate the process after being removed from high school. If she takes classes at college during her gap year (without an acceptance and permission from the accepting school) she would be a transfer rather than freshman applicant most likely.
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  • massmom2018massmom2018 67 replies11 threads Junior Member
    My son took a gap year last academic year and is currently enrolled in college as a first year student. He applied to schools senior year of high school and deferred for one year. I highly recommend applying as a senior. He sent in a letter requesting deferral and it was granted.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    Applying senior year makes the most sense. After all, she can always apply a second time if things change for her during the deferral year. Most schools will allow a deferral. If a few of the ones she is considering won't allow a deferral, she can apply to the smaller group next year. Applying now gives her the widest range of options even if it means she is not competitive for some of the more selective schools (which may not be the best fit anyway).

    {Hint: in the event you worry that her grades aren't high enough to gain admission to the sort of schools you hope she attends, full pay students with mediocre grades can often gain admission to fairly selective schools that are not need blind-yet those applying for aid will be subjected to more scrutiny}.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30018 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Look at what schools appear to be a good fit and would support a gap year, given her current situation and academic status. It’s nice to have a school in the pocket when taking that time off even if it’s not a top choice and the process might be repeated. It is a bird in hand.

    Make sure you check out what financial aid rules are for gap years, whether gap years are even permitted and get a good general idea as to what classes if any can be taken at college without turning into a transfer student should your daughter decide to apply to more schools after her gap year.

    Also talk to the school GC about support next year for college apps. I’ve known schools and GCs who give marvelous support for that situation. My kids’ private school was very pro gap year, and would talk about how much better prepared some of the kids who took off that time were, and that was woven into the newest LORs when the kids did decide to apply to additional schools after the time off. The GC school Rec is an important component of applications to many selective schools. A lot depends upon the schools that are on the agenda for your DD and some you may be eyeing as future possibilities. The rules can vary greatly— there is no one size fits all here
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  • beanishbeanish 2 replies2 threads New Member
    My CA daughter is also taking a gap year, and is planning NOT to apply now. Most of the UCs do not do deferrals, for one thing. I think her application will be stronger if we wait, because it can incorporate her gap year activities (working on political campaign, travel, job, volunteering), her senior grades which should be strong. Also, I don't think she really has strong feelings about which colleges she wants to apply to. Having this extra year to visit a few colleges, to volunteer/live back east to see if she might want to go to school that far from home, etc. might focus her list a bit more. New to this idea and adventure, so I am sure we will be in for some surprises. We have heard that Common App could be opened now, and teacher letters of recommendation submitted now, to make it somewhat easier next Fall. She will talk to her public school counselor to see what he recommends regarding letters etc. Good luck to you, and all the Gappers!
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