Exploring a College Gap Year

When I’m giving a college talk, I’m always amazed at how many parents ask me about college gap year opportunities.

I’m surprised because I happen to be focused on getting my teenagers out of college in four years. It never occurred to me to delay the inevitable.

That said,  there legitimate reasons why teenagers and their parents might be interested in a gap year between high school graduation and the start of college.

College admission officers have told me that boys have the most compelling reason to delay entering college. That’s because the typical teenage boy isn’t as mature as their female classmates. I had a admission dean at an elite liberal arts school recently tell me that ideally boys should start college when they are 20, but girls could enroll at age 18.

If you are exploring college gap possibilities, you’ll find lots to mull over in this article from The Daily Beast. But here is one word of caution: sometimes families jeopardize their chances for merit aid from a college if they opt for an admission delay. Some colleges treat gap kids as transfer students, who typically don’t enjoy the best aid packages. So before you take the plunge, ask questions.

To learn more about college admission and financial strategies, read my book, The College Solution, and visit my blog’s archives. Lynn O’Shaughnessy

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  1. Interesting post – a lot of students that I work with that pursue medical school deal with this on a regular basis. The gap year, that is common for students that apply to med school later in their academic years. Managing time, and being active is so important – if these students continue to pursue their interests and take advantage of the gap year (and don’t get accepted the first tim they apply), they will have already enhanced their applications for next year. Those that don’t usually are stuck submitting a failed application for a second time.

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