Gap Year Opinion

<p>Hello parents, I have come seeking your wisdom about whether or not I should take a gap year. My situation is like this:</p>

<p>I have had the good fortune of having been accepted to Brown University. I love Brown! It's a great school, though it was not my dream school (Harvard).</p>

<p>I have also had the good fortune of having been accepted to a gap year program in Jordan. The program sounds really cool--I spend a year working at a Jordanian boarding school and in turn will learn Arabic, which I really want to learn.</p>

<p>The thing is, I'm not sure if I should take a gap year and do the program or go straight to Brown. I feel like if I take the gap year, I might end up reapplying to Harvard and having my heart broken again, which I do not want to happen. However, the program kind of seems like a once-in-a-lifetime sort of opportunity, though I could also probably do study abroad with Brown in Jordan without ending up a year behind all of my classmates.</p>

<p>I suppose the logical thing to do would be to take the gap year and just not reapply, but maybe subconsciously, I am only taking this gap year so that I can reapply (although I do not think the program will help me next year--it doesn't have much to do with my current extracurriculars). At the same time, maybe I am doing this program because it is kind of awesome...I'm not really sure. I am just not that excited about college right now, and I think that's clouding my judgement.</p>

<p>Therefore, I would like to know what you think. Would you advise your child to take the gap year or not? My father thinks the program is great and that I have learned from my mistakes this year to make my applications better next year, but ehhh--I'm not as great at my father seems to think, and so I will probably get rejected next year too. My mother, on the other hand, thinks that a year off will be a huge waste and that I should just go straight to college, which I'm not sure if I'm ready for...opinions? I am also already a bit younger than my peers, so if I take a year off, I won't be older than the next class, I'll be the same age as them (1991!).</p>

<p>A procedural question: Have you informed Brown you may be taking a gap year? At most schools, the deadline for requesting permission to take a gap year was May 1, unless you specifically asked for an extension.</p>

<p>As for taking the gap year, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity, but if your real motivation for taking it is to create an "excuse" to re-apply to Harvard, then it is probably not a good idea. You know what a long shot Harvard is. Will you find yourself in Jordan focusing on Harvard rather than on your gap year experience?</p>

<p>Congrats on Brown, by the way. It's such a wonderful school.</p>

<p>I have until June 15th to notify Brown about the gap year, but they would prefer to know sooner as opposed to later since I'm sure there are a bunch of deserving kids on the waitlist with whom they'd like to fill my spot.</p>

<p>I think at Jordan I would be swept up by the experience, so I do not think I would think about Harvard all the time, but I am hesitant to accept the program because maybe, deep down, I just can't let go of Harvard and am only going in order to have another shot...but I don't want to be rejected again! D:</p>

<p>FYI: Harvard is not accepting transfers for the next two years.</p>

<p>Assuming the program is as great as you suggest, and that you will really accomplish what you set out to do with it, I'd say go for it. There's no need to feel you are losing a year by not going to college right away. I've never understood that type of thinking except in situations where there's the possibility one might get completely derailed. That doesn't seem to be your situatuation. It's not a race or competition, nor do you get any special credit for entering the workforce by a certain age. If money is not an issue take the exciting gap year, learn a very important language and culture that may pay future dividends depending on your professional interest. This is especially so if you are feeling less than enthusiastic or are unsettled with your current college prospects.</p>

<p>It sounds like you would love the gap year, and all the kids I've talked to about their time off have said they have no regrets. It can really help you be ready to experience college to the fullest. </p>

<p>But if Brown is commiting to hold a spot for you, don't you feel that you have to honor your commitment to actually attend Brown? I think it would be wrong to reapply to Harvard, unless you are willing to cut Brown loose.</p>

<p>sjones--yes, I am aware of this fact, I would reapply as a freshman.</p>

<p>Flvadad-I would actually make money through the program, though not much, but my mother thinks that since tuition costs go up, I would lose money that way, and since I would also enter the workforce a year later, I would also lose money, though I do not agree with her on that.</p>

<p>Your mom is right about the rising tuitions but wrong about the workforce entry, simply because your experience + arabic fluency is going to improve job prospects tremendously -- you will be considered and hired for better jobs as a result of that.</p>

<p>It sounds to me like the real problem is that you are conflicted about attending Brown. I think you should take the gap year opportunity because it will probably help you see things from a different perspective. As far as Harvard.... DON'T REAPPLY. You can't get hurt from a rejection if you don't apply, and when you are Jordon I have a feeling that you are going to realize that you are very, very lucky to have the opportunity to attend a school like Brown. And you will get so more from your Brown education if you take this fantastic opportunity right now -- so go for it.</p>

<p>If I have the opportunity to reapply though, shouldn't I take it? Because I want Harvard ridiculously badly, and I think in the future I'd regret not doing everything in my power to pursue my dream. Also, I have a feeling my dad would make me reapply anyway...</p>

<p>In response to FauxNom, yes, it probably is unethical to apply to Harvard when I have already committed at Brown, but there is nothing in the rules that says I cannot reapply, and Harvard is such a long shot...</p>

<p>There was a girl at my school last year who did not get into her dream school, and so she took a gap year, reapplied, and was rejected again. This is probably going to happen to me. However, that same girl is now content with the idea of attending the school she deferred at--right now, I am totally fine with going to Brown next year; it's just that it's so hard to give up something I've spent over a decade working towards.</p>

<p>Vfrizz, realistically, the chances of your being accepted only 1 year after being rejected at Harvard are minimal at best. You need to let go of the dream, and accept a terrific reality! Brown and a sensational gap year opportunity! You will seriously risk cancellation of your acceptance at Brown if they find out they have held your spot, and you have reapplied to Harvard. Harvard WON'T accept you if they find out you have committed yourself to another Ivy. The Ivys DO "talk" to one another, and they are well aware of students who try this. So if you are dying to reapply to harvard, do so after your gap year and 1 year at Brown. Hopefully by then Harvard will accept transfer students once again.</p>

<p>Take the gap year if you want to go to Jordan, but NOT because you want to go to Harvard. Save Harvard for grad school and get your UG degree from Brown, if they will hold your spot. I feel like a year away may put things in perspective for you and attending a school two or three notches below Harvard will be fine by the time you get back. Good luck.</p>

<p>I agree. Let Harvard go and give it serious consideration for grad school. Accept Brown's offer to defer and go enjoy the gap year. You will be changed by the whole experience. Brown is a great school. And you will not want to be applying to college while in Jordan--because you should be fully there and immersed in that experience.....You will feel very differently about many things by this time next year. Just enjoy being in at Brown as something you will do after you have done a wonderful gap year.</p>

<p>Maybe I just shouldn't do the program at all then...I could probably do a study abroad program at Brown that would offer a very similar experience. The only difference would be that the gap year is longer and I have the possibility of reapplying. What do you think?</p>

<p>I am familiar with the Jordan program. It really is an extraordinary opportunity with the potential to have major impact on your life, far more than a study abroad year. If you really want to apply to Harvard, I see no reason why you cannot defer Brown and apply to Harvard. There are no guarentees in a year's deferral, and Brown knows that those who defer may have various life experiences/ choices that obviate their appearing the following year. It's not as if you contracted under ED or otherwise obligated yourself.</p>



<p>Really? I'm not doubting you, I'm just surprised. I thought it was fairly common for kids to defer School A and reapply to School B. I don't condone this strategy as I think it just prolongs the agony, but I've never heard of anyone falling afoul with School A because of it.</p>

<p>I've also only heard one case of a student getting an acceptance the second time around. I'm sure it happens, but it's extremely rare.</p>

<p>VFrizz, Go to Jordan! It's a great life-altering opportunity. </p>

<p>Personally, I'd say forget Harvard, but my guess is that you won't let it go. Note what Menloparkmom warns, however. You don't want to damage your relationship with Brown.</p>

<p>Check Brown's policy. As menlopark mom says, many schools (like the one my daughter will be attending next year after the gap year she's now on) expressly require as a condition of holding your place for a year that you neither attend nor apply to another college during that year. That's because the point of holding the place is to give you a chance to enrich your experience at that school by taking a gap year, not to give a free extra roll of the dice at Harvard.</p>

study abroad program at Brown that would offer a very similar experience.


If you do that, you'd be paying Brown tuition for that experience, and missing a year of Brown education.
As for Harvard - I can't think of a good reason to reapply... What is it that you are looking for at H that you think you cannot find at Brown?</p>

<p>BTW, it used to be that as a Brown student you could spend a semester at Harvard (I have a friend who did it - she was extremely happy to return to Brown after that semester...)</p>

<p>You will not be able to accept/defer Brown and reapply to Harvard. No school allows this. Furthermore, you would need transcripts sent from your high school to Harvard next fall. Your high school will not send out any new application materials after having sent in your final transcript to Brown, unless you give them some proof that you have withdrawn from Brown.</p>

<p>Perhaps important goals for the next year might be to gain additional perspective, independence and maturity; to treasure what one has; to release what was not necessary and not meant to be; and to realize that one's education and one's future depend on oneself, not on a particular school. </p>

<p>Where can you best reach these goals, at Brown or in Jordan?</p>

<p>Vfrizz: From your posts, my sense is that the real reason you want to take the gap year in Jordan is to take another shot at Harvard. As others have told you, you probably can’t re-apply to Harvard without breaching your agreement with Brown. But even if it were legal to re-apply to Harvard during a gap year, the effort would almost certainly not succeed. Don’t spend a year in Jordan focusing on a fantasy. Go to Brown. It’s virtually certain that there your preoccupation with Harvard will end almost immediately. In Jordan, your preoccupation with Harvard will last the year, and for nothing.</p>