One important thing that you & your son should consider if you’re thinking about him taking a gap year is this…
Do a little research this weekend on the National Merit Finalist scholarships. I don’t think that you can ‘postpone’/defer the NMF scholarship UNLESS you’ve:
a. been admitted to a specific college
b. gotten permission from the college to defer your enrollment to the following fall
c. declared to the National Merit Foundation by 5/1 that you will be attending College X (whichever that one happens to be).
IF your son decides to take a gap year off and has NOT committed to attending a particular school (i.e., is going to start over fresh & try again at all of the Ivy League schools), then he MIGHT end up not realizing that he might NOT be eligible for the NMF full ride scholarships at various non-Top 20 universities.
The US is pretty much a meritocracy when it comes to higher education & the job market. for example, in certain other countries outside the US, if you majored in, let’s say, Biology and became a biologist and later wanted to change careers into computer science, nobody would hire you as a computer programmer even if you were self taught or took some night classes…you’d have to go and get a whole additional college degree in computer science.
Generally speaking, it doesn’t work that way in the US.
Also, generally speaking, US employers won’t care very much after your 1st job out of college WHERE you got your degree from. What employers will care about is what you know, what can you do, can you work well with other people, are you going to be a hard worker & reliable employee, etc.
For example, in the tech industry, MOST employers won’t care that your son got his Comp Sci BS from, let’s say, University of Arizona, Univ of New Mexico, Ole Miss, Univ of Alabama, or UAH instead of Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. What the employers WILL care about is stuff like “Does he know how to code?” and “Does he understand the material?”, etc. MOST employers won’t give a care that he didn’t go to Yale.
Your son DOES have a future!!