Is a gap year worth it for me? All rejections

How many internships do you think you will get if you don’t enroll in college this year?

By the way…a JOB can be as relevant or more than an “internship”. Everyone seems to forget that.


I think figuring out what happened with your application and whether there were any fatal flaws would be a good step to take. If you don’t think you would be happy at a community college, then there’s no need to start down that route right now. If you decide to do it you could start in the spring, or next year. Right now there are a lot of people looking for employees, and having a job (of any kind) provides lots of experience, especially for people coming from families that can pay 100% of any college in the U.S. Alternatively, I would really take a look at Florida Tech to see if it’s something you may be interested in. Even if you choose not to apply for this school year, you may want to include it on your list of schools to apply to for fall 2023.


Your parents refusing to pay for safety colleges forced you to have a fatal flaw of not having any safety college.

But do they really prefer you not going to college over going to UC Merced or other less selective college?

If they are not opposed to starting at community college, do that. Otherwise, next year’s list may be constrained similarly, with the same results.


GREAT point!

I realized scrolling through that I’ve just assumed the OP is male. If that is indeed the case, internships at any company, let alone the desirable big ones, are difficult to land the first two years. They are essentially extended job interviews. Younger students don’t yet have useful skills to help in high level positions and they’re going back to school.

Women are the exception as there are some companies actively attempting to correct the gender imbalance in STEM. Google would be an example.

My son was able to land internships all three years, and job offers from the companies. He was just doing CAD his first two years though.

His senior project and MS thesis were very much in line with the work that the company that hired him did. It was his job while a student though that sealed the deal. He was the first new grad hired by a start up. Without that specific job on his resume, they would have passed over him.


A gap year doesn’t really make sense unless you have something more meaningful to do (than going to a college). There’s no guarantee that you will have better outcome next year. Picking a 4-year college (over a community college) just because it may still accept applicants may not make sense either, financially or academically. You can probably stand out in a community college which will make your later transfer to a top UC much more likely. For most students, meaningful internship opportunities don’t start until their junior year, and such opportunities are rare for freshmen, so you don’t really lose much (especially compared to taking a gap year and then having to wait another year or two to find meaningful internship opportunities).


Here are the acceptance rates for UCLA Samueli. Aerospace engineering for the 2021 HS graduates was between 5 and 6 percent acceptance rate. Computer Engineering was under 3 percent. I’m pretty sure the rest of the schools you applied to were very competitive in admissions to the majors that interest you. I think the fatal flaw in your application was two majors in high demand and no real safety schools. I’m sorry you find yourself in this position. Have you or your family thought about schools abroad? Canada and the UK come to mind. It might be a little more straightforward for you since you have great test scores. But for engineering you would need AP Physics Mech and E&M alongside your Calc BC and probably Chemistry. I’m not sure for Computer Science. Just a thought and I wish you all the best moving forward.

UC Merced will give you opportunities for internships. Edited to add. One of my neighbors is starting at UC Merced in the fall as a CompSci major. He is thrilled. It was one of his top choices. The whole neighborhood is so happy for him including his parents! Just saying…


Unless OP adds true safeties to the list - which seem to be missing from this year’s list.
But yes, OP will also need a good explanation for the gap year, I think. And a good use of that time.

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I second the idea of schools in Canada, as they tend to like high-stats students. My son applied to McGill and heard back very quickly with an acceptance. No essay or teacher recommendations required.


Wow, that’s nuts! My first thought was that the number hadn’t accounted for yield, but it does.

What stood out to me is that those majors are shockingly tiny for a big school like UCLA. They admitted 50 AEs and only 16 CompEs. Contrast that to Cal Poly, a smaller school overall, where their target for this year was 80 and 95 respectively.


If taking a gap year, perhaps try sending your CV-resume to, say, the aerospace engineering professors at selected universities and volunteer on a long term basis (every work day, for example); some might be receptive to free and useful labor, and you would gain relevant and useful experience in return. The professors might not respond initially and you would have to follow up (but not too ‘aggressively’). I am surprised that you did not get better admission results, considering your good academic stats.

If you were my kid with those stats and given this situation, I’d be advising you to consider 2 options:

  1. Go to a local community college & then transfer in state. But don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket (UCLA, UCB) in terms of “I HAVE to go to 1 of these schools.”
  2. Take a gap year. Get a job + do some other sort of extra thing that goes along with your major interests (i.e., aerospace)…so, for example, volunteer at local VEX Robotics competitions. And then apply Univ of Alabama-Huntsville.

With your stats, you’d qualify for the freshman out of state merit scholarship which would get you $19,900/year towards OOS tuition. The school has a really solid aerospace engineering program and pretty much EVERY aerospace company is in town in Huntsville and they all heavily recruit from UAH. UAH also has a coop program with local employers where you can do a full semester internship (which is paid, by the way…you’d work full time for a semester for 1 of these companies, but you can still live in the dorms). NASA recruits people from UAH as well.

That $19,900/yr scholarship brings the total COA from $35,892 to $15,992.


It appears that the OP’s parents have pre-rejected anything (or at least any four year school) that could be a safety, as indicated by previous posts in this thread:

This suggests that reapplying as a frosh after a gap year will be to another list with no safeties, with the likelihood of a similar result. Note that most of the less selective four year schools suggested by others in this thread (Florida Tech, ERAU, UAH, etc.) are unlikely to meet the OP’s parents’ prestige standards.

It appears that starting at community college has not been pre-rejected by the OP’s parents, and would be a way for the OP to move forward. However, a concern would be that, two years later, the parents may still effectively pre-reject any safeties, so that transfer applications then could result in a similar result.


@ucbalumnus, if the OP’s parents agree to the list, I would consider Drexel and RIT pretty safe with the OP’s stats.

That said, I would certainly consider Alabama-Huntsville money. I think there will be better opportunities and it will be far cheaper. The parents might not like the bumper sticker though.

Utah State also has a guaranteed scholarship program and a great AE department with ancillary labs to get tons of experience. With the OPs stats, they could go tuition free, including fees, for 4 years. That would give the folks something to brag about.

I agree 100% though that if the OP goes into next cycle with the same list as last year, there a non-zero possibility that they get locked out again. They need to make this crystal clear to their parents.


I think it’s been mentioned before on CC but the engineering school at UCLA is very small with great resources. Another one of these things that students need to know when applying. They think, well 40000 undergrads (or whatever that is), surely I’ll get a spot. Not necessarily. Anyway, I feel for the OP. Back to the original programming.

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This list looks like the engineering graduate rankings on USNWR. Since that seems to be the criteria imposed by the parents, the OP should just add Wisconsin and Ohio State.


Be careful with Wisconsin, which has weed out (search for “Wisconsin engineering progression requirements”), and Ohio State, which has secondary admission and does not seem to be very transparent about how competitive each engineering major is.

Texas A&M has secondary admission, with automatic admission at 3.75 college GPA. But aerospace, mechanical, and computer engineering are highly competitive for those not meeting the 3.75.

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Ohio state entities tend to be as transparent as possible. There is a process for additional inquiry, but usually aggregated data is public and published online as much as possible.

Anecdotally, spring major admissions to first choice engineering majors seemed to follow the previously published gpa guarantee minimums for majors that had them.

Students need to manage their gpa, not just for major placement but also to be competitive for internships, to maintain eligibility for scholarship funds and to avoid academic probation.

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@Wumbofet Please take the time to read this whole linked thread. It’s old, but it’s well worth the read…and especially since you are considering taking a gap year. Read the WHOLE thread. You may find some of it helpful.


Although it looks like that student did not apply to any safeties the second time either (but did not get shut out the second time).

To @Wumbofet , regarding a gap year, what is the plan for the gap year? It may be more worth considering if you intend to do something productive in some way. But if you just put your life on hold for a year, that may be a waste of a year of your life. In the latter case, it is likely to be better to move on and start your college education at a community college.

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Debating is not allowed, but for this very strong student, there WERE safety and less competitive schools on his list after his gap year. This was 15 years ago…so schools that would not be safety or very likely schools now…WERE at that time. And he got accepted to all but his repeat application schools…which tells me his list was more spot on than the first application list.

And I still recommend reading the thread.

Anyway…my point is…this @Wumbofet needs a plan for a good gap year, and a good list of colleges to apply to. That second part will happen so soon if this student does take a gap year.