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Does a gap year necessarily look bad for grad school applications?

hufflepufflehufflepuffle Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
edited August 2018 in Graduate School
I'm currently a junior on my way to a BS in Cognitive Science, and planning on applying to MS programs in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Human Resources. I'm currently considering spending a year living at home (I live an hour away from the university) and working to save up a little bit of money for graduate school (while also waiting for my boyfriend to finish the 5th year master's program he's planning on doing at the school we attend, so he can move with me when I go to graduate school).

My stats are pretty good--I have a 3.9 GPA and will probably do well on the GRE, and I've been pretty active as a research assistant and TA during undergrad, so this thread isn't about the rest of my application. Will non-research-oriented graduate schools look down upon taking a year to work in a position that's not necessarily impressive or related to the field I'm going into? My other option is joining my school's five year double-degree program and adding on a BA in sociology.

Replies to: Does a gap year necessarily look bad for grad school applications?

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,726 Super Moderator
    No, they don't. Particularly in professional fields like I/O psychology, working before getting an MS is very, very common. (And I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a job that's not related to I/O psychology.)

    Definitely don't add on another year of school and expense just because you're waiting for your boyfriend...there are so many better things you could do with that year.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    It wouldn't be counted against you. It's pretty normal to want a little time off between college and grad school to work and get out of the academic sphere.
  • Trixy34Trixy34 Registered User Posts: 1,155 Senior Member
    No. Why would it?
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 5,057 Senior Member
    I took two years off and worked. I think that it helped me get into a top graduate school with undergraduate stats that were a bit "inconsistent" (on a semester by semester basis). It also helped me figure out what I wanted to study in graduate school.

    If you are working in an area which is relevant to your studies, and if you get good references from your employer, then I think that it is a plus, and definitely not a problem.
  • basketballfan18basketballfan18 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I took a year off and got in grad school.
  • SlynnxSlynnx Registered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
    It will not look bad. Many people work a few years before going to grad school. It will actually be useful for your particular field to have some professional work experience, even if it is not directly related to your degree. Your observations will help with class discussions as you learn about workplace behaviors and human resource concerns. Could you apply for internships in HR? This may help you in gaining an entry-level HR job after graduating. But even if you end up in a different position, this will not negatively impact you if the rest of your application is strong. I would, however, still try to land a decent position and not just take anything to pass the time. It's still an opportunity for you to learn new skills and grow as you make your grad school plans.
  • erosemorinerosemorin Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    Not at all. I've never heard of it counting against anyone. Everyone I know, in any field, takes a year off for one reason or another. Work, studying for exams like the MCAT or GRE, etc.
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 5,121 Senior Member
    Not at all. I know my friends' MOM getting into grad school.
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