Chance a potential gap year student: ED1

Apologies for the long post. It’s a complicated situation.

Hi there,

I’ve already graduated and am committed to uMich LSA, but I’ve got an intriguing potential opportunity that could make deferring my admission and going on a gap year productive — more on that later.

I’m interested in majoring in Public Health and eventually something business-related, but I will most likely apply as a public health major just because my extracurriculars align that way. After doing some research, I’ve found that Washu offers a public health/anthropology/environment major that aligns with my interests extremely well.

Furthermore, I’ve found that Michigan’s undergraduate public health program is subpar. It’s a new program that’s only graduating its 2nd or 3rd cohort this year — electives are lackluster and the vibe I’ve gotten from speaking with public health graduates has been that the program is extremely disorganized. Another thing to note is that a public health and business dual degree is impossible at Michigan. I will most likely be attempting a transfer out of Michigan for those reasons if I don’t do the gap year. Also, Michigan allows for a deferment of enrollment that is nonbinding. If I don’t get into any colleges in my gap year, I will be permitted to reenter without applying again.

The reason for which I want to take a gap year are several:

  • I’m burnt out.

  • a marine conservationist that I’ve worked with in high school has begun a shark conservation project. I’m already a part of it and I love the work we’re doing so far, but it won’t really be possible to continue at Michigan since it is located in Hawaii and California.

*I want to travel the world before going to college.

My primary concerns are as follows:

  1. That I’ll be wasting my time in a gap year and essentially give up a year of my life for nothing. If someone has had an experience similar as I, taking a gap year for a project of some sort, please let me know. I’d love to talk to you about it.

  2. That I won’t be able to get into Washu ED because of my application. I’d like an opinion on what my chances are.

  3. I’d love to hear about any recommendations for a school that has a strong public health and business program that I could potentially ED 2 at.

Thank you very much. Once again, sorry about the rambly post.


Last cycle, I was accepted into: All UCs except berk and la (regents/merit at some. I forgot which ones specifically), Michigan, NYU Gallatin, NEU (100k merit + honors), Purdue, and UIUC bioengineering. I probably forgot a few colleges but those are the most noteworthy.

rejected from: Stanford (REA), Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Rice, Washu, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Berk, and LA.

no waitlists.

Asian Male living in California. Considered an international. Not applying for financial aid.

GPA 3.87 (6 Bs and 1 B-): 10 APs with nearly all 5s and 2 dual enrollment classes.

ACT: 35

SAT ii: 800 chem, 800 math II, 800 physics


Research presented at a local conference.

Whatever AP award comes with 10 APs of scores 4-5

9 Science Olympiad medals — not very prestigious

Film festival acceptances

PADI certified scuba diver.



Project redacted: Helped establish a shark conservation NGO that uses social media to help geolocate them using unique physical characteristics. One of the biggest barriers to Marine Biology research is the lack of funds to generate data and this helps to fill the gap. Shot multiple conservation mini-films to promote our cause.

Internship at Boston biotech company. Currently doing a literature review of an extremely rare disease that runs in my family. If time allows, I’m planning on starting a website blogging about it.

Creative writing: Published in my blog and submitted (probably rejected) to some literary journals

Wrote a reportorial article on Mercury contamination; published in a conservation journal/magazine.

Published multiple short films on Youtube.

OLD (only really listing my most important stuff):

2nd author on an article on Mercury contamination in fish currently undergoing peer-review at an IF 8 epidemiology journal. (Junior-Senior year)

Directed a short film on the same subject accepted into film festivals. (Senior year)

Board of an NPO dedicated to donating Malarial medicine to 2 Ghanian hospitals. (Junior and Senior year)

Datasci / Epidemiology Internship at t10 on covid mutations and transmissions. As mentioned above, this was presented in poster format at a small conference.

Cofounder of public health club (Senior year)

Copres of chem club (Junior and senior year)

I can’t advise you on the gap year, but assuming you do take one I think a WashU acceptance is unlikely so quickly on the heels of this year’s non-admittance.

OTOH, if you take the gap year and apply to WashU it does seem like a low risk plan, since you state that your U Michigan acceptance would still be intact even if you apply to other schools during the GAP year.

1 Like

I am sort of split here.

On the one hand given that you were turned down by WUSTL this year it seems highly likely that you would be turned down again next year.

On the other hand, your reasons for taking a gap year seem otherwise sound. The project that you are talking about sounds very good to me. Life is not a race and I do not think that we should rush to get to the end of it, particularly when we have a cool project to do along the way.

I am wondering if you should take a gap year and apply to other universities in addition to WUSTL and possibly including schools that you did not apply to this time.

With 6 B’s and a B- Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Princeton and U.Penn seem like rather high reaches, and being Asian and International will not help you unfortunately. WUSTL, Tufts, Vanderbilt, UCB, and UCLA seem like reaches also. That is a lot of reaches. You should look for solid matches and safeties with a great program in your major. I do not know your specific area well enough to know how Michigan’s program is (the people I know who graduated from there majored in some combination of CS and math).

On the one hand given that you were turned down by WUSTL this year it seems highly likely that you would be turned down again next year.

So actually I have a question in regards to this. I applied RD or EA to all of my schools and I’ll be applying ED in this hypothetical round. Do you think there would be a substantial enough difference between applying rd and ED such that someone who might’ve been rejected RD could possibly be accepted in ED? Or, is perhaps my understanding of ED a little too optimistic?

And yes, I couldn’t agree with you more on your point on reaches. I completely overestimated myself last cycle and didn’t apply to enough matches and lower reaches.

also, I should add that there’s a substantial chance I become a U.S resident by the time I apply ED. I’m part of an immigration program that will give me a green card sometime this year.

Don’t take a gap year - unless you’re going to fail in school.

Assume you’re not getting into WUSTL. Why would they accept you - in other words, why are you a different candidate?

I would ask why did you apply to Michigan if the program wasn’t right for you? Looking at their history and rankings, even if for graduate, I find it hard to believe the school isn’t a winner.

U-M School of Public Health Rankings, Facts & Figures (

Reapplying to College After Rejection - College Raptor Blog

If rejected from my top choice, is it worth it to apply again after a year at a different school? (■■■■■■■■■)

I believe a gap year can beneficial and it sounds like you already have a project ready to go that ties in with your interests. However, I also second that you can’t rely on the gap year to completely remake your application because your stats will be exactly the same as this round of applications.

You might consider attending Michigan and applying as a transfer (unless FA is a concern since FA for transfers often isn’t quite as generous depending on the school). If you read some of the transfer threads for schools like WashU you’ll see that many of the kids who gained acceptance as rising sophomores were rejected or waitlisted when they applied as HS seniors but they gained new college grades, ECs and professor LORs that showed their growth and ability to succeed at the college level and that pushed them over the finish.

Since you have Michigan as your back up I don’t see a big downside to your plan but I would caution that you manage your expectations for the results of another round of the college acceptance lottery. You might be right back here this time next year. But you might also be in a refreshed and more eager mind set.