The good news is that deferring your college admission for a year has never been easier or more acceptable. Universities and colleges are recognizing that gap years can result in a more mature, dedicated student body that brings with it a wealth of diverse experiences. That means that they are more open to granting deferrals to accepted students. In fact, the acceptance letter from Harvard University even suggests to its incoming freshmen that they might want to take some time off before starting college.
How to Defer College
· Apply to college before you take a gap year.
· Get accepted and confirm that you will attend.
· Send a letter or email to the college's director of admissions and outline what you plan to do on your gap year / gap semester.
· The admissions committee will evaluate the letter and grant / deny the deferral.
· Send deferral letters between April and mid-June.
"in most cases, admissions offices grant the deferral." And although it's best to request deferral between April and mid-June, "at the very latest, students should send their requests before their first fall tuition payments are due, which is usually July 1 or August 1.”
Things to Keep in Mind about Deferral
Keep in mind that each college and university is different. The Gap Year Association has collected informal information on the specific deferral process at hundreds of American colleges and universities to help you, but contact your specific college or university for the most updated policies and procedures.
It's also important to note that many schools will grant a year deferral but not a quarter or semester, so be sure to factor this into you plans and budget.
Check with your college or university to see if there is any potential for gaining college credit for your gap year activities. It is rare that this is the case, but it’s worth asking. If you enroll in another school for classes during your gap year, you might have to re-enroll in your college/university as a transfer student -- definitely ask your admissions office about their specific policies.
In terms of deferring financial aid or scholarships, be sure to check with your specific school. Just because you’ve been offered financial assistance with your initial acceptance doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed that same package when you return a year later. It might mean that you have to reapply for financial aid and scholarships before you start school, but the chances are if you were granted it the first time around, you'll be granted it again.
Again, the most important things to remember are that your college won’t think less of you as a student for applying for a deferral, and be sure to check on the specific policies of each school and follow their directions.