Admissions view on gap year

Does the intent to take a meaningful gap year in any way affect a student’s chances to be admitted, either positively or negatively? We learned after applying ED (just learned that she was deferred to regular decision) that DD is a semi-finalist for a NSLI-Y scholarship to study abroad. Is it worth providing this update to the admissions office or might it somehow backfire and hurt her chances?

It might help your daughter, if I’m being honest. And not only because that’s an incredible opportunity for growth. The recently-matriculated Class of 2022 is much larger than expected, as several more students accepted the College’s offer of admission than was thitherto standard. As a result, Dartmoith’s administration has been grappling with their response to what’s become a housing crisis. The intent of any applicant to pursue meaningful gap year activities might give admissions’ officers some pause, assuming they’re in dialogue with the ORL (Office of Residential Life).

@SolsburyHill We were in your position two years ago, but my kid had gotten into one of HYPSM early before finding out he was designated as a semi-finalist for NSLI-Y. We did not accept the offer until the very end precisely because we waited for NSLI-Y decision. He was placed as an Alternate for the Academic Year program, so we waited more until one day before. On that day, some Finalist dropped out, and our kid took the spot. And immediately notified the college that he would take a gap year. My kid has absolutely no regrets having taken the gap year. I actually consider his having participated in the Academic Year Program a more important event than his getting accepted to one of HYPSM schools, because you can always go to college but you only have this chance to participate in the NSLI-Y Academic Year Program. That one year was worth more than 4 years of learning the language at college.

Just delay the acceptance date as long as you can. Most top colleges like it when you tell them you will accept their offer but defer attending for one year.

Thank you for your replies. I think my daughter has decided to lay her cards on the table and write a letter to the admissions office to indicate that Dartmouth is still #1 for her, but if she becomes a finalist for NSLI-Y and is fortunate enough to be accepted during the RD period, then she intends to take a gap year. I don’t know in the end if that will hurt or help her chances, but we’ll find out in a few months.

From what I have read on some college boards, many universities look t it as a positive thing. I wish I would have done it.