I'm taking a gap year. Should I tell colleges that I'm enrolled in college in another country?

I have done 8th grade through 12th grade in US and technically am in a gap year according to Harvard Yale and Princeton for class of 2025, the only need blind schools full financial aid for international students (I’m technically one because I’m not a citizen and am here on a visa). But I am also enrolled online in a college in the country I moved from for the class of 2024 which started late because of COVID. I have done multiple projects so far and submitted things about them in my college app to stand out, but it’s hard to do more of them now because of the course load from college I’m attending. Should I tell Harvard, Yale, and Princeton that I am enrolled or not?

Edit: I’m enrolled in the other country as a backup, US schools are hard to afford unless they give me large financial aid

Why would you lie? You aren’t technically on a gap year, you ARE on a gap year.

I enrolled in the college in the other country in December, and it started at the end of December just as I finished my college apps, and they are technically graduating in 2024 but I am in a gap year in US so yes I am in a gap year but am also studying for tests in the college in another country online at this moment

Also I forgot to mention, I have applied to Harvard EA and got deferred and applied to Yale and Princeton RD

None of the three colleges mentioned make it obvious on their web sites whether or how much college attendance after leaving high school disqualifies you from frosh admission.

But it is likely that they will not be pleased to find out about hidden college attendance if you try to hide it.

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How can you be on a gap year if you’re enrolled in college? Wouldn’t you need to provide a transcript and recommendations and such. My understanding is that if you take college courses or in your case enroll in college before freshman year you are then considered a transfer student not a first time applicant. This may not apply to international students or colleges outside the US but it doesn’t seem like there would be a reason for differential treatment of students.


@jiffyben. Yes you should. A lie by omission is still a lie and technically you need to make sure that you are eligible to apply as a first year student rather than a transfer student.

You are not in a Gap year, you are enrolled in College. Better check on Harvard, Yale, Princeton websites how many credits can you take until be a transfer student, probably you need to stop studying right know in your Country, you are cheating.

Not sure that will matter. The enrollment and beginning to take classes is enough.

@GlobalFencingMom @ucbalumnus Just to clarify again, I enrolled after applying, and did not know I would do so until after the fact. So the question I’m really asking is whether I should update my application to reflect that I’m enrolled in a college?

You aren’t on a gap year.

Why would you enroll in college after applying to college? Are these classes for credit, or just for fun? I am not 100% certain, but if these classes are for credit, you are a transfer student, unless you drop all your classes and get withdrawal. You are now applying as a transfer student and that is a totally separate application.

You really need to ask these colleges about your situation. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but you might have ruined your chances.


Princeton’s website states the following regarding students with college education: Students who will have completed one full-time semester or more of college education by the time of their enrollment should apply through the transfer program. Students with less than a full-time semester should apply as first-year students.

According to Yale’s website Applicants who will have fewer than 8 transferable credits upon entering Yale should apply for first-year admission.

Harvard doesn’t say much just that transfer students must have completed at least one year of college.

So you would need to withdraw from your current school in the near future to keep your first year applicant status I think. Might be worth confirming with admissions.

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I would think that you need to contact each admissions department and tell them you are changing your application status from first year to transfer student.

Be aware that transfer acceptance rates at HYP (that ones you listed) are much lower than their already microscopic acceptance rates for freshman.

These are unusual times. Bravo for you for figuring out a way to do SOMETHING productive while on your gap year, that’s been screwed up by covid. But you do not want to hide anything. I suggest that you send something to the admissions offices at all your colleges that you’re applying to, just a note saying that due to the constraints of the pandemic, in an attempt to continue learning while remaining isolated, you are taking some online classes at College of My Country. I would not worry that they would say, “Aha! He’s no longer a Freshman applicant, now he’s a transfer! Denied!” They understand that people are making the best of a bad situation. They will be flexible. That being said, don’t count on getting into any of these three, anyway. The acceptance rates are very low. Make sure you have colleges that you can get into and can afford, too. I assume that going back home to college in your country is the backup plan?

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If you’re taking classes for fun but will not get college credit, then you can list them as “Community Education, no credit”. This applies even if the class is taught in a college or the college offers both non credit/HS credit and college credit (eg., a British “college”) but you’re taking the non credit or high school level classes.
If you’re taking post-high school, university-level classes that result in college credit leading to a degree and have more than the equivalent of 8 US credit (16 ECTS, 32 Scottish credits I think) by the time you’d attend in the US, then you’re no longer a freshman applicant and you won’t be considered anymore for freshman admissions.
Another issue is that apparently you’re taking a few classes that started in December, so you wouldn’t have any credit yet, no recommendations, no transcript, meaning you wouldn’t be qualified to apply as a transfer either.

Note that this limitation depends on the college. Some consider any college attendance after leaving high school as disqualifying from frosh admission. Better check each college to be sure.

I don’t believe any US college considers post-high school, non credit courses as disqualifying from frosh admission.
I know that UCs consider any registration in a college “counts”, but it implies registering for credit. A foreign, online college may not carry credit in the US sense, just like when students enroll in “college” in the UK, in Foundation Year, in Cegep, etc. not to mention the many “college level online courses” that rarely “count”. AFAIK, for instance, getting the certificate for a MOOC doesn’t “count” even if offered by a university.