Should I take a Gap year and reapply or transfer later on?

I think you had some assumptions before you posted this thread, and you want people to echo your feelings. To tell you what you think is correct, that Ivies purely didn’t accept you because it was this year. But a lot of people here told you the truth, from their experiences and others and I guess you didn’t want to hear it.

Don’t reapply to the same colleges. Take a gap year if you’d like, but plan out what you’re going to do. Continue at WashU, work your butt off and get a transfer. Or go to WashU, and realize that they may be the one for you. Whatever you choose, it’s up to you. Just don’t take out your anger and frustration on the kind people here who’s giving you advice.


I’m not taking out anger and frustration - there was none of that in my original question. A lot of people have not told me the “truth” because there is no hard, cold truth with the college process. RE 2nd paragraph, thank you for your POV, this is helpful.

It’s hard to be helpful when you can’t explicate (beyond some fuzzy terms like “work hard, play hard”; trust me, if you used that as a reason for transferring, your app would get thrown out immediately) why the schools you want are better for you than WashU. More importantly, if you’d can’t explicate why any of the schools you desire would want you. If you can’t explain that to us, what makes you think adcoms would find you more convincing?

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There’s a lot of thinly veiled sarcasm and contempt in your comments.

ex 1:

ex 2:

ex 3:

Doesn’t hurt to be nice.


No one is asking for this is info! You’re the first to ask these questions.

Why I do NOT like WashU:
I went to visit, and while it was during COVID-19, I just didn’t feel the fit. After talking with many students it seems for “vanilla”, less exciting and energetic. There are LOTS of pre-meds there, I am NOT crazy about st.louis or the weather that comes with it. I’ve heard WashU has a WEAKER math department, and I may end up in a STEM major (that isn’t premed/hard sciences)

What I like: academic flexibility - incredibly easy to switch between many schools
OUT of state - I want to get out of California and meet new people from all over…

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I never said I was a college advisor. I said that a friend and a neighbor were in admissions at tough schools.

I’m sorry that you’re upset with the answers but that’s the truth. Admissions will look at an application, and unless you’ve done something fantastic in your gap year, (like saving whales with Greenpeace, winning in Tokyo, front page of NY Times, etc.) they don’t change their initial decisions.

My son was a National Merit winner (URM and athlete) and he did get into a top 10. He was a legacy and full pay. I met his classmates who were mostly from East Coast prep schools.
There were several international winners in all categories of athletics and academics.
The Ivies are very picky; they know immediately who they want.
Reapply if that’s what you need to do. Transfer, if that’s what you need to do. We’re giving you a heads up, and nobody’s keeping you from doing what you feel that you need to do. We’re just telling you what the odds are for your targets.


Your choices.

  1. Go to WashU. Give it a try and if you don’t like it, apply for a transfer closer back home.
  2. Review the NACAC colleges still accepting applications so see if there is one there that may be a better fit for you.
  3. Take a gap year and reapply to schools you were accepted to this year and ask if they would accept you again next year.
  4. Take a gap year and reapply to your “Ivy type schools” that rejected you knowing you have only a 0.001% chance of them accepting you. With this option you would need a solid back up plan so you don’t end up taking 2 gap years which would then severely limit your options.

Nobody can tell you which of those choices is best for you. People seem to be mostly on board with choice 1 or 3. You are unhappy with either of those choices it appears.

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Seems like you found the reason why already.

Exactly! I’m TALKING about doing something fantastic with my gap year (like saving whales, etc.). I’m sorry to hear about your son, it’s very difficult getting recruited.

I’m sorry you’re frustrated with your college choice. This year has been very difficult for so many college bound seniors. WashU is a great school and it may have more in common with Penn and Northwestern than you realize. However, I completely understand your feelings about fit.

My D is in the process of transferring after her freshman year (she took a gap year due to Covid). I’ve been following many of the transfer threads on CC and I have friends whose children transferred after freshman and sophomore year. And my observations for what they are worth are as follows:

  1. It seems less likely that you’ll have success reapplying to Ivies you were rejected from this year if you take a gap year. I think much of this is because even if you accomplish some interesting or unusual things during your gap year, your overall application won’t really change much. It will be application 1.5 with your gap year activit(ies). Plus you’re really talking about 6 months max to accomplish anything because all your apps are due by Jan 1 or sooner.

  2. There do seem to be quite a few kids both on CC and those I know personally who did have success transferring to Ivies after freshman or sophomore year at college. They show what they’re capable of in a college setting both academically and within the college community as far as clubs, research and impact etc… This enables you to provide an updated application where you can showcase your skills, impact and personal growth.

  3. Go into transferring with realistic expectations. Transferring to T20 schools is still a reach in the transfer sphere. Yes this year was particularly difficult but the factors that made it so aren’t going to magically disappear 4 months from now at the beginning of the next admissions cycle. And if you look at the common data sets for these schools they still reject a huge percentage of transfer applicants…and similar to the freshman round it seems very common that a few applicants are admitted everywhere they apply and the rest are left with maybe one or two acceptances.

My best advice to you is go to WashU and do everything you can to prepare the best transfer application you can and apply to your dreams schools along with a couple of others that you’d be happier to attend than WashU. Try to go in with an open mind as WashU may surprise you. Your freshman year will fly by. You’re only in school for roughly 28 weeks/7 months out of the year. And by May 2022 you might have some great transfer choices to consider.

Good luck!

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He did get in.

This is clear, thank you.

Thank you so much! This is helpful advice!! FYI, the CMC door might still be open…they said they would get back to me.

CMC Pros - in better location that WashU, in my personal opinion. Great advising. May be easier to transfer (obv not a reason to choose this school) from here than WUSTL?
Cons - socially, I am not entirely confident its the best fit…just not sure. It’s full of CA kids. 50%+ major in Econ (i’m looking for academic diversity). May be harder to do CS/Applied Math/etc. if I choose to.

So you say fit is most important yet you committed to a school that you don’t feel is a good fit even though you had a peer school (that is closer to SV, where you say you want to end up) and a school you deem to be more prestigious as options?

I can’t say I understand your decision-making.

You could always study abroad (or take a gap year to travel around the US) if you wanted to get out of CA.

Anyway, the past is past. If you knock the cover off the ball at WashU, you have a decent chance at transferring to USC.

You don’t like the fit at either CMC or WashU? Are you switching purely because it’s easier to transfer at CMC?

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No, not at all. Originally I thought CMC was the best fit out of the 3 but that took a complete 180 for some reason. Now I see it as more of a party school and am not sure how much I like it.

Yeah, from what it looks like, OP is always thinking “the grass is greener on the other side”.


this is NOT a helpful comment

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You’re not sure any school is a good fit. If you want to escape CA, take a gap year to travel the US.

If I were you, I would have gone to USC or CMC and figured out how to alleviate the cons some other way.

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Is it not true, though?