gap year: mediocre fin aid results or start over?

<p>What if you reject your offers, take a gap year (with a meaningful plan related to future work goals) and apply again to the SAME schools that you applied to before???? Any thoughts?</p>

<p>Here's the background: DD has always planned to take a gap year, which we fully support. But she applied her senior year and planned to request deferal because she will be in Cambodia with dicey internet connections during fall "application season." </p>

<p>DD applied to only 4 schools and was accepted to 2: American & UVA (both of which she considered "safety schools"). She got what I consider a mediocre aid award from American -- $20,000 in grants/yr but it is still a HUGE stretch for us financially since the total bill is around $50,000 per year. Weeks after her admission (and more importantly, weeks after falling in love with American) she got her UVA award, which is close to a full ride. No financial burden at all. (If we had only gotten the awards at the same time, she's have fallen in love with UVA!!! oh well)</p>

<p>Now DD wishes she'd applied to a wider range of schools. She still thinks American is her top choice in the universe of potential schools, but maybe not at the price of so much debt. And while she is willing to visit UVA, at the moment it would definitely feel like a defeat -- too close to home, too big, even though she has heard over and over that it is plenty prestigious (significantly more than American). </p>

<p>So she's thinking of rejecting both American & UVA, taking her gap year, applying (from Cambodia -- it should certainly make her application stand out!) to a wider range of schools but INCLUDING American & UVA. She'd be hoping for a better aid package from American having proved her interest in international affairs & global service, and still think of UVA as a safety. But I wonder what the admissions departments would think of a a reapplication from someone who rejected them the year before.</p>

<p>And we haven't yet asked American to reconsider the aid package -- but neither have we raised the gap year issue with the financial aid dept. (Advisors & professors she's talked to their have been very encouraging about gap years, but she didn't ask about the effect on her aid package.)</p>

<p>Anybody have any experience with this or anything remotely related??? I don't know what to tell her. Seems to me like she's taking a HUGE gamble. But I don't want to force her to go to UVA either -- not the best way to start your college education!</p>

<p>I can't imagine turning down a near full ride to UVA. Nothing more to say.</p>

<p>I agree with mom2collegekids!</p>

<p>UVA is a fantastic school -- better than American in all respects. the financial aspect just makes it that much better,</p>

<p>Are you comfortable that UVA and American would readmit her when you already indicated that they are not her choice by turning them down this year? </p>

<p>Has she been to the UVA admitted students day? If not -- have her attend! Spend some time looking at the special programs offered by UVA and get her to fall in love with it.</p>

<p>After her gap year, I suspect she won't mind being close to home. I won't say I can't imagine turning down an almost full ride to UVA as my D is doing that at UNC. The deal for her was that if she went to UNC, she would take a gap year.</p>

<p>I would not count on American giving more next year because of a year in Cambodia.</p>

<p>Given the horrendous economy, odds are that her financial aid award next year from AU probably would be lower.</p>

<p>Accepting UVA --an excellent school that's rated higher than AU -- sounds like the best choice. </p>

<p>And how can your D afford a gap year in Cambodia if finances are a concern?</p>

<p>Cambodia is cheap! Well, not getting there, but food & housing. She'll be volunteering in an orphanage, "living local," doing some traveling -- way less expensive than college. She's not going on a pre-arranged program, those are outrageously expensive. She's arranging it all on her own, through church & personal connections.</p>

<p>Is the UVA award merit based or need based?</p>

<p>if it's merit based (and competitive), then she might not get awarded that the following year.</p>

<p>I would be very concerned about doing a gap year in Cambodia. What if after a few months she wants to come home?</p>

<p>Can she just defer UVa? And if you defer are you still entitled to the aid </p>

<p>Do you live in Va; which might explain the FA package?</p>

<p>What is the better package that your D is expecting for the following year?</p>

<p>Even though, my knowledge is meager;I see no reason in your doing. A bird in hand is worth two in bush. And University of Virginia, what to say?....I wish I were there....</p>

<p>I had kids apply to both these schools. I can see how someone would prefer AU to UVA because AU is more urban, diverse and has more co-op and internship opportunities, especially for someone interested in intl affairs. </p>

<p>American is not need-blind and doesn't meet full need. They have a sizeable international population and they are best-known for their intl relations programs-- so I doubt her one year abroad would garner more $. </p>

<p>UVA is definitely more generous than AU. If that $ is need-based, she may be in a good position to get it again next year but if it's merit-based, it may be a one-time deal. </p>

<p>My first move would be to go to AU financial aid and ask for more $. If that doesn't work (and I think they are unlikely to come up with $20K+), I would encourage her to start at UVA and apply to AU in two years as a tranfer student. I don't think AU is particularly hard to get into as a transfer. </p>

<p>Oh, and I do know of someone who applied to a school, was admitted, turned them down and was re-admitted the following year. That school was a top LAC and the student was a bright, unhooked student.</p>