Every year at this time, students looking to delay the start of college need to notify their school that they would like to request a Gap Year deferral. While this process is relatively straightforward and has similarities across colleges, every institution has slightly different policies, processes, forms and deadlines. This information will benefit any of your students planning a Gap Year (our full blog post on this topic is here).
Step 1: Make sure the school permits Gap Year requests. This is pretty easy, since nearly every school now allows Gap Years. (Note: the University of California schools do not accept Gap Years – students will need to reapply if they want to defer admission.)
Step 2: Understand the school’s deferral process. Typically the school’s website will outline the process, but when the website lacks information, it will be necessary to reach out to the admissions office. Schools will require a free-form letter or specific application that usually asks for the reason for the deferral and Gap Year objectives, and rough outline of the student’s plan.
Step 3: Understand the school’s deferral deadline. Usually by Decision Day on May 1. Even if schools have a slightly later deadline, we recommend that the deferral application / letter should be prepared by the same deadline as the enrollment deposit.
Step 4: Write the deferral letter. Our advice is for students to prepare a draft of their Gap Year request, and then have the student’s parents, a friend, school counselor, college counselor, or Gap Year advisor offer some final edits. Our blog post includes sample deferral letters.
Step 5: Submit the deferral request. As long as students follow the school’s instructions, submit by the deadline and have a rough plan, we haven’t seen a Gap Year request being turned down.