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

You can point it out, but it doesn’t answer the question I’m asking at all! 0% helpful with the specific situation! I’m very aware of how I feel and how this may be good/bad etc. Hearing the “grass is always greener” was not an “awakening” comment if that’s what you meant for it to be.

Then you pick up the phone and call. You do it now, not via email. I would be extremely surprised if the spot at CMC is still available though. Just being honest. I hope it is, for your sake.


I have been here my ENTIRE LIFE. CA is VERY different than the midwest which is diff than the east coast. So many people stay in California and never leave…I love it here, but it would be SMART to get out of the bubble

That’s concerning to me. Sounds like in a few days you’ll be back saying, “I want to switch back to WashU”

Just something to keep in mind…


IDK. My niece works at a spa in Claremont. She says she meets students from all over the US. You will be out of your comfort zone in that you will be working really hard and interacting with a lot of new people. So what if it’s in CA?

I’m sure there are ppl from all over, it’s just not the same as exploring a new place with a different kind of atmosphere. At the end of the day, it has the California mentality and laid-back vibe. I like the idea of trying something new, but I should only go into trying something new if I’m excited to do so.

If OP chooses a gap year, they are rolling the dice and will likely lose. I am a bit concerned about the delusions of grandeur they seem to have about what will happen in the next few months. They seem to have no solid interests and seem to think they can do something Nobel Prize worthy without having a clue of what they would even do to bump their application.

They seem to be a bit paralyzed in fear and anxiety about making this adult choice. This is not unusual. Hopefully in time they learn to self reflect and mature a bit.


I’m not paralyzed in fear. It’s about putting myself in the best position to thrive wherever I go. I understand your concern about a gap year - I still really need to explore new passions, that’s the big thing.

I mean, if you can cure cancer in the next 7 months I’m pretty sure you will thrive wherever you go.

Your brain and your abilities and drive is what will make you successful. Seems you are expecting the environment to do the work for you.

As they say, smart, successful people will grow where they are planted. There will be opportunities for new passions wherever you go.


So your feels changed for reasons you can’t understand, and because of that, you will change a big life decision.

How is that using your brain?

Hi OP! I will give you the same advice I gave my daughter when she was making her choice. Don’t have a dream school. Don’t apply to any school you would not be content (not happy, happiness is overrated) to attend. Once decisions are in, make a decision and don’t look back. Don’t second guess your choice. College is a time of great personal growth and this growth comes with A LOT of growing pains. A lot of high schoolers idealize college but it usually is a very difficult time for most (don’t believe the highly curated social media posts of your peers and the colleges themselves). Your life will be full of choices that will take you on wildly differing paths. You might end up lost for a while. The great thing about being lost is that it increases your alertness and you are more likely to learn and grow. I could give you my long personal story of paths taken like most older people. It gives us older folks wisdom and perspective, something that you don’t have due to your age. We can’t make the choices for you but we are trying to give you parenting advice based on this perspective. And I have saved my biggest piece of advise for last. Don’t undermine and sabotage yourself and your efforts. Good luck OP!


Oh dear, it seems I struck a nerve here. Hang in there, @sadgiraffe, and give yourself a break from the message boards. Can you go for a run or blast some music? This is why adults have bartenders they can unload their troubles on…but I bet a barber would be a good substitute?

I’m not sure how much of this comment was directed at me vs “the rest of you,” but I will say I was one of the first people on the other thread to see clearly how much you dislike WashU and advise you to pick anywhere else. When choosing among your available options, your personal preference matters most – it’s like Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat. Harry said “not Slytherin” so the hat put him in Gryffindor. You are screaming “Not WashU!” so based on that alone I agree that it’s not a good fit for you!

Truth be told I don’t understand what you mean when you say “I know several people who were ACCEPTED and REJECTION.” Probably not that important, but if there was a message for me in there, I missed it.

You offer a great reminder to all of us that people often respond better when asked a question than given direct advice.

My question is, who in your life is supporting you through this college decision process? And who else can you reach out to help you feel supported in the current moment, and maybe even make you laugh?


OP- sending you hugs. I know you didn’t expect to be feeling the way you do right now when you started looking at colleges and that must feel very alienating. I would bake you brownies if I knew you in real life…

If you were seeing a therapist, you might be asked to engage in a very adult (and sometimes painful) process of figuring out if you’ve ever been in this situation before (obviously not with college since this is first time out, but another decision) or if you’ve ever felt this way before. This is kind of unpleasant (trust me!) but it often results in a very powerful and helpful insight about yourself.

Some people don’t like making decisions- and so they second guess themselves until they drive themselves crazy. Some people have extreme FOMO, so that ANYTHING they’ve chosen becomes “Not That” once they look in the rear view mirror and see what might have been/could have been. Some people self-sabotage, by going in to new situations already planning on bailing early. Some people crave change and novelty and the adrenalin push of the unfamiliar- but they won’t do the hard work that’s required to make an unfamiliar situation work out.

It could be a sport you loved but dropped? An activity you started but grew to hate? A close friend who became annoying? A party you were looking forward to but made sure you had to leave early before the fun started? A part-time job that got boring really quickly and rather than stick with it until the work got interesting again (because your boss gave you new stuff to do) you bailed? Or just a competition you didn’t enter, a part in the school musical you didn’t try out for, a writing contest you missed the deadline on???

It might be worth writing down the reasons why you are not excited about Wash U (I think they are all legitimate btw, but the weather is no worse than at Yale or Princeton or Brown and arguably better) and then seeing if you can detect some patterns.

I think taking a Gap year is fine if your parents are supportive, and if you can find something worthwhile to do. But I think the chance of you doing something compelling in a few short months is relatively slim-- so do the gap year and apply to Vanderbilt, Emory, Tulane (i.e schools not in California if you really want to get out of dodge); don’t do the gap year assuming that it’s your ticket to a college which has already rejected you. The ONLY time that works- and this is the year- is for Olympians. There’s a difference between being a Bronze Medalist and applying to college (assuming you’ve got the rest of the package) and being an “Olympic Hopeful”.

Otherwise? They’ve passed on you once. What could you possibly do next year (and with no plan in place- it’s practically June) that could make a difference???

Hugs. Wish I were baking you brownies.


@sadgiraffe You’ve received advice from the absolute best on this board. Let the last response from @blossom resonate and sink in for a while. You are in good hands if you listen to yourself and heed advice. Wishing you all the best. Decisions are hard, now and evermore.

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“There’s social unrest all over this country (Columbia, Harvard, Penn, and pretty much all the urban Ivies/equivalents must be out, then)”

Agree, there’s unrest in the bay area too, any major city (SF, Oak) will have that, not only protests but criticisms on how schools are handling Covid. However at the risk of speaking for the OP, Harvard, Stanford, Penn, Columbia, NU would be worth it, not WUSTL.

The OP is a kid at 18-ish, typically 18-25 is when the maturation kicks in. If you were an adult at that age, great, most aren’t though.

The OP is getting criticized harshly, unnecessarily, because OP changed minds too often for and the comments about St. Louis where he or she actually visited.

“Doesn’t hurt to be nice.”

True, but that also applies to the adults on this thread, which by and large oozes judgement.

“you’re hardheaded and unwilling to consider other viewpoints.”

lol, pot, meet kettle!

As you said, OP is immature. Multiple people were pointing out how their words and decisions seemed to contradict themselves which yes, is immature thinking. We understand choosing a college is a super stressful decision.

But OP has to realize that getting into an Ivy didn’t happen for them. They are allowed to be sad about that. But they now have to move on and take a different path.

I dont care that they don’t like WashU or St. Louis. It seems as a bit of time has passed, OP has come to more of an acceptance versus a visceral anger about their actual college choices.

OP is not going to an Ivy this year. OP is not going to cure cancer or save the whales or do anything so noteworthy in the next 6 months that would make them have even the slighest chance of being accepted to the Ivys after taking a gap year since they were flat out rejected this year, not waitlisted, but rejected. Its very hard to bounce back from that at those high level schools.

All OP wanted inititally was for people to agree that taking a gap year and reapplying to the Ivy and “Ivy safety” schools they selected was the right choice. Everyone disagreed with that. Some of the other options OP is now talking about dont make sense because they are totally out of the norm for college admissions. Its odd for a college to have space this late to re-accept a student who has already declined their admission offer. Any attempts to talk about reality seemed to be met with “you dont know me”, which is true, we don’t know OP but many of us do know a bit about the real world.

End of the day, the kid got into WashU which is not easy. I think we all want the best for them and I would say most think that taking a gap year to only apply to the Ivy type schools that rejected them would be academic suicide and doing the kid a real disservice to themselves. Going to a high ranked college like WashU and getting great grades and getting involved with professors and clubs, etc would look way better on a transfer application than taking a gap year and playing russian roulette with reapplying to Ivys that rejected him.


According to the other thread, OP was waitlisted at Brown and Pomona, two places the OP preferred much more to WashU.

"Going to a high ranked college like WashU and getting great grades and getting involved with professors and clubs, etc "

That’s easier said than done, especially if OP has a bias already built-in against WUSTL. Then the first time something goes wrong, the OP, as other students do in similar situations, will start second-guessing they made the wrong decision.

“I dont care that they don’t like WashU or St. Louis.”

Ok, but it’s the OP that could have four years of misery there, not you.

Im saying if OP has a choice between WashU and a gap year and only reapplying to those places they did not get accepted, WashU is the better choice.

Nobody is saying they have to stay all 4 years at WashU and be miserable. They are saying taking a gap year and only applying to places that rejected them is a horrible choice.

OPs original question was should they take a gap year and reapply to Ivies or transfer. The overwhelming advice was to go to a school that accepted them and try to transfer out if they can’t get into a school they like better this year. Seems like due to administrative issues at the colleges, the only college at this point that OP could attend in fall is WashU thus that is the one everyone keeps talking about.

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Yeah, could have. Nobody told OP that they have to go to WUSTL. The main feedback from this thread was

  1. Take a gap year, reapply to other colleges
  2. Try out WashU, transfer out you don’t like it
  3. Enjoy WashU
  4. Go to a community college, transfer out
  5. If accepted at CMC,go there (@sadgiraffe how did the phone call go? what did they say?)

Another thing to note, OP’s biggest complaint was that there wasn’t any excitement on campus, and that was because of COVID-19. OP was criticized harshly for being unrealistic, and at first OP wasn’t listening to the advice many people gave.


Realistically I think that the choice is to go to WUSTL (which is a great university in my experience), or take a gap year and apply to a new set of universities. This new set might include their favorites of the schools that they got into, a few of the schools they were rejected from (expecting the same result), but could also include other additional universities. I have wondered whether somewhere outside the US (McGill, Toronto, Melbourne, somewhere in Europe) might be a better fit.

We also should all remember that OP is a high school senior. They are still a teenager. When I was a teenager, I had not figured out any of this stuff either.

I do not think that there is a bad choice here. WUSTL is a great school. However, life is not a race and we are not all rushing to get to the end of it. Taking a year off is not a bad thing either so long as they can think of something productive to do during that year. In my experience the students who went to university after taking a year off tended to have a more mature and rather successful approach to university. They knew why there were there and took full advantage of the opportunities that are available at any good university.