Are you craving the in-class intimacy of a tiny liberal arts college but also find yourself drawn to the bright lights of a vibrant, sprawling campus, the big-time sports, and the chance to be part of a large and passionate student community? Not to sound like a middle-of-the-night infomercial but—now it’s finally possible to enjoy the best of both worlds—the honors college!
While honors programs have existed in one form or another since the GI bill first brought an influx of talented but cost-conscious students to public universities in the post-war era, the full-blown honors college is a more recent phenomenon. The majority of honors colleges were born in the 1990s, designed to lure Ivy-league caliber students to public institutions. Today, it is hard to find a large, public university that does not advertise some type of honors distinction. Yet, with new programs sprouting up faster than dandelions in spring, determining the quality and value of a university’s honors experience can prove quite challenging. Fortunately, we are here to help. What follows are the most important factors you should consider when exploring honors colleges/programs.
Will I get accepted to an honors college?
Acceptance into some honors colleges is relatively formulaic and simply involves meeting a defined set of criteria. The University of Pittsburgh automatically allows applicants to take honors classes if they have a minimum SAT score of 1450 and graduate in the top 5% of their high school class. Virginia Commonwealth will only consider applicants with a 1330 SAT and a 3.5 unweighted GPA. Clemson’s Calhoun Honors College will consider applicants with a 1380 SAT and above but warns that the average accepted applicant possesses a 1480 and also graduated in the top 3% of their high school class. Clark Honors College at The University of Oregon takes a very different approach, explicitly stating that there are no minimum academic requirements and that qualities such as creative potential and community contributions are given serious consideration in the admissions process.
These four examples illustrate that honors admissions runs the gamut from automatic acceptance with certain credentials to minimum scores/GPA required to even apply to more holistic approaches, as in the case of Oregon.
Class size and number of honors courses
Ideally, an honors college will offer a wide variety of honors-only courses with class sizes commensurate with those of elite liberal arts schools, typically in the 15-20 range. In reality, the numbers of courses offered and the numbers of students in the classroom vary widely across schools.
Despite its large size (over 1,000 honors students), The University of Mississippi boasts over 70 honors courses and class sizes of fewer than 15 students in its Barksdale Honors College. A perusal of Barksdale’s ample and diverse honors course selections reveals that they also offer a large number of sections per course—for example, there are 29 sections of the freshman honors seminar set to run in fall of 2017.
Arizona State, Indiana, Penn State, and Temple offer a similarly vast array of honors courses as well as class sizes under 20. Unfortunately, some programs may only a smattering of honors courses with 15-20 students, supplemented by a majority of classes in 300 seat lecture halls. As such, make sure to ask your prospective college for a complete list of honors courses (if this cannot easily be found online).
Does the “honors” experience extend outside the classroom?
As a fairly serious student, you may benefit by being surrounded by other academically-minded students outside of the lecture hall. Sharing a living space affords honors students the chance to easily study or complete group projects together and partake in unique intellectual experiences. Toward this end, it is important to find out if your prospective school offers special honors living arrangements and if so, what the offerings and policies look like, as they can take a variety of forms.
The University of South Carolina encourages freshman to live in their honors-only residence, which even includes three lecture halls that allow students to get to class without stepping foot outside. Boston University actually requires members of its Kilachand Honors College to live in a designated honors dorm as a freshman. Drexel University makes separate housing totally optional but offers an honors dorm that features special guest lecturers and faculty dinners on a regular basis. Pitt also makes honors housing optional and, interestingly, allows non-honors students to elect to live in the honors residence hall (though honors students get first dibs). Other schools such as Michigan State have honors floors in eight of their residence halls across campus, rather than all in one building.
How does the cost compare to private colleges?
It’s no secret that state schools (sans merit aid considerations) have a significantly lower sticker price than most private colleges. Since honors. Let’s say a Pennsylvania resident is choosing between Bucknell University, a well-regarded private school, and the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State. Here’s how the financials break down:
Bucknell (room/board/meals/fees): $64,616 x 4 years = $258,464
Penn State Honors (room/board/meals/fees): $35,068 x 4 years = $140,272
For those scoring at home, that’s a savings of more than $118,000.
It’s no secret that state schools (sans financial aid) have a significantly lower sticker price than most private colleges. However, given that many “honors” students also qualify for substantial merit aid from the larger university at which they enroll, honors programs can be an absolute bargain. For example, students admitted into the Schreyer Honors College automatically qualifiy for an Academic Excellence Scholarship valued at $4,500 per year, while students at Arizona State’s Barrett Honors College have exclusive access to scholarship ranging from $1,000 to as much as $20,000 per year.
CT’s quick take
Honors colleges can be a cost-effective and highly rewarding undergraduate experience for top-notch students. In the best-case scenario, you can enjoy all the benefits of a large university (research opportunities, athletics, and a diverse student body) while still benefiting from an intimate, rigorous, and individualized experience usually reserved for elite liberal arts colleges. It is critical, however, to do sufficient homework on any program you are considering as not all honors colleges are created equal.
Below, College Transitions has compiled a list of top honors programs (in alphabetical order):
Arizona State University (Barrett)
City University of New York (Macaulay)
Clemson University (Calhoun)
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Dorman)
Ohio University (Honors Tutorial College)
Penn State University (Schreyer)
University of California – Irvine (Campuswide Honors)
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Georgia
University of Illinois (Campus Honors)
University of Kansas
University of Maryland
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University of Oregon (Clark)
University of South Carolina
University of Texas at Austin (Plan II)
University of Virginia (Echols)
A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew’s experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans more than one decade. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.
University Deferral Policies for Gap Years
Please note that this was part of an informal survey that took place in the 2013/2014 academic year. All responses are quoted from the Admissions source. We are currently updating it for the 2018/19 academic year.
As well, keep your eyes peeled for the new Official Gap Year Colleges list that will be coming here in 2018. These are colleges that previous gap year graduates have succeeded at, and hold a commitment to experiential learning as well as strong programs for gap year graduates to maximize their time on campus. They also are supporters of gap year research, and unsurprisingly have a strong commitment to social justice issues - something any gap year graduate will have learned to appreciate through their exposure to different populations and likely some volunteering.
- University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Acceptance rate: 44% (2010). "As long as you do not receive any academic credit from another institution and meet the December 1 admission deadline for the year you are applying you will be considered. You must notify the Scholarships department in writing of your year off from school. As with any entering freshman, your GPA through your junior year in high school and your test scores from your senior year in high school will be considered. Don't forget that the October ACT and November SAT during your senior year will be the last test scores considered for scholarships."
- University of North Alabama, Florence. Acceptance rate: 88% (2010). "Here at UNA, we do not encounter many students that decide to take a Gap Year after they graduate from high school. We do not have any formal procedures for those students that decide to take a Gap Year. If a student applies to UNA and is accepted and then decides to take a Gap Year, when he or she return to UNA, he or she will only need to reapply. They will not have to pay the application fee again or resend transcripts unless they attended another college or university. A student will need to fill out the FAFSA form every year to be eligible for Financial Aid. If a student does receive a scholarship from UNA after graduating from high school and then decides not to attend UNA his or her freshman year, he or she will lose their scholarship. They can appeal through Student Financial Services if they decide to take a Gap Year to see if the scholarships can be awarded when he or she returns."
- Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff. "Unfortunately, NAU does not have a formal program to allow students to do a gap-year program. While students are able to possibly reinstate scholarships if they take time off to do a religious mission, have a medical emergency, or are in the military, they do not have that option if they take time off after high school for any other reason."
- Prescott College, Prescott. Acceptance rate: 83% (2010). "Students that are interested in taking a gap year simply need to notify us verbally or in writing. This can be done by calling our Admissions office at 928-350-2100 or by emailing us at email@example.com. This procedure can be used for students that have already submitted their application and have been accepted. Students can defer for up to one year without having to reapply. For students that plan on taking a gap year before they apply may do so without any notification to Prescott College. They can simply apply when they are ready to enter college. We like to see gap year experience information included in students' admissions essays. Students seeking need-based financial aid, would need to submit an updated FAFSA for the corresponding year they are planning on enrolling. Merit based scholarships are not guaranteed if students defer by taking a gap year. Admissions will re-evaluate students for merit scholarships for the term students plan on enrolling. Gap Years as we find this experience prepares them for our unique non-traditional educational model. We find our model of experiential learning within an interdisciplinary curriculum works very well with students that prefer to be self directed and prefer to apply what they've learned during gap years to their future studies. Our students are unique individuals seeking a personalized, hands on education that will make a positive difference in the world and it helps when they bring 'the world' to school with them."
- Harding University, Searcy. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "We have a pretty relaxed policy. Typically, a student can apply for a semester and simply tell us they want to change to the following year and we can make that switch. Because dorm deposits are involved at Harding, we will often encourage those students to cancel their applications with us and reactivate them when they are ready so they can receive refundable deposits. To reactivate an application, a student only needs to contact their admissions counselor and we will change it. We have a rolling admissions deadline, so there's not a hard-and-fast priority date for enrollment. If a student takes a gap year, they just can't accumulate 14 hours or more at another school if they want to keep their institutional scholarships. At Harding, the application for admission acts as the application for our main academic scholarship, so the student doesn't need to apply if they are still enrolling as a "first time in college" student (FTIC). Federal aid would obviously require a new FAFSA for the new tax year. In short, a student taking a gap year would change their enrollment date and would keep their scholarships if they don't accumulate 14 or more hours at another school."
- California Baptist University, Riverside. Acceptance rate: 74% (2010). "They just need to notify their admissions counselor that they will be taking a GAP year and the counselor will defer their acceptance. Then they can notify the counselor via phone or e-mail when they are ready to return. No reapplication necessary [for scholarships]. They will keep or retain academic scholarship as long as they were originally eligible or in good standing academically to retain it."
- California Maritime Academy, Vallejo. "There is no Gap Year or deferral policy. Admission offers are only valid for the requested semester of entry. If a student is admitted and does not attend for their original semester, they must re-apply using a new admission application adhering to corresponding admission requirements and deadlines. Yes, students must reapply for all financial aid."
- California State University - Chico, Chico. Acceptance rate: 62% (2010). "We don't have a gap year policy as we don't allow students to defer their admission except in cases of personal or family medical issues and/or military service."
- California State University - Fresno, Fresno. Acceptance rate: 56% (2010). "No deferrals are allowed. Students must re-apply if they choose not to attend the semester for which they were accepted."
- California State University - San Bernardino, San Bernardino. Acceptance rate: 19% (2010). "In line with the rest of the California State University system, CSU San Bernardino does not offer a deferral policy. If a student is considering not attending the university for a year, they must re-apply to the university during the filing period of the quarter planned for attendance."
- Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo. Acceptance rate: 33% (2010). "Typically, we ask students who are considering doing a gap year to wait to apply to the university until they intend to enroll into the University. I would advise students to enter as a First Time Freshmen and not to take any college courses after they have completed high school. If they decide to take coursework during their gap year (60 credits or 90 quarter-credits), they would be considered a transfer student and need to complete certain course requirements based on their intended major."
- Chapman University, Orange, CA. Acceptance rate: 45% (2010). "We do not offer a formal deferral policy. If a student was granted admission and decides to take a gap year than they will be required to fill out a shortened re-application for admission. Most of the time these students will be granted admission once again but there are no guarantees here. We also have a lot of "talent-based" programs (Theatre, Dance, Music, Art, Film, etc.) where students will need to receive departmental approval once again. Talent programs are typically more competitive and the quality of the applicant pool can vary year to year. For this reason it is extremely important for students to work one-on-one with their appropriate Admission Counselor here if they are considering a gap year. Students always need to reapply for need based financial aid at Chapman, regardless of taking a gap year, coming in as a freshman or coming back as a returning student. We follow federal based methodology as far as financial aid goes and require students to fill out the FAFSA to be considered for need based financial aid. As far as scholarships go, we typically will honor our scholarships as long as the student does not matriculate to another University. Again, students really need to work one-on-one with their appropriate Admission Counselor when it comes to admission and scholarship following their gap year."
- Harvey Mudd College, Claremont. Acceptance rate: 21% (2010). "After admission, the student can fill out the commitment form to indicate plans to enroll in the immediate next term (fall) or to take a gap year. There are also students who indicate they will enter in the fall when they make the commitment to attend in May, but later in the summer determine that a gap year is in the plans. This is also acceptable. Typically the student must meet certain enrollment obligations, must pay the commitment deposit, and must write a short explanation of what is planned for the gap year. Students must reapply for any need-based aid awards, but any merit awards can be deferred for the year."
- Seaver-Pepperdine College, Malibu. Acceptance rate: 32% (2010). "We do not recognize gap years, nor do we allow students to defer their admission offers."
- Soka University, Alisa Viejo. Acceptance rate: 34% (2010). "Students may defer for one year following admission and must officially notify the Office of Admission in writing regarding a decision to defer. Deferrals are granted for one year once our Admission Office is in receipt of official notification. Students interested in Gap Year are also intrigued by Soka's curriculum as it provides more than ample opportunity to travel regionally, nationally and internationally. Two outstanding learning experiences here at Soka are:(1) Study Aboard: All students are required to study abroad in their junior year. (2) Learning Cluster: Examines a specific contemporary issue either locally or aboard. For example, In January 2102, students packed their bags and flew to Cambodia, South Korea and Dharamshala to conduct research aboard while others preferred the domestic experience, focusing their attention on a particular issue herein the states. This program lasts close to a month and allows students to grow, learn and transform themselves. Generally speaking, a Soka student does so much traveling in their four years a Gap Year is often not necessary."
- Colorado College, Colorado Springs. (24-40 of 500 take Gap Year each year). This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- University of Colorado Boulder. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- University of Colorado Denver. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- University of Denver. Acceptance rate: 68% (2010). "Our staff approves all gap-year requests in advance, and one restriction is that students are not allowed to enroll in a degree program at another institution. We mostly recommend that students refrain from taking any college courses, but on a case-by-case basis, we do approve an occasional course or two. Merit awards remain intact when a student defers to a future academic year. Students are required to apply for need-based funds each year, but if their family circumstances remain stable, they should expect an award similar to their original package. We typically have about 30 students defer enrollment for a future term, and approximately 15 to 20 enroll a year later. The students who enroll at DU following a gap experience generally perform very well on our campus, bringing a year of maturity and personal growth to our campus."
- Fairfield University, Fairfield. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "If students would like to defer their admission for one year, they must send a letter of deferral to Karen Pellegrino, Dean of Admission, or Gail McGrath, Administrative Assistant. In the letter students must explain why they wish to defer their acceptance. They are still expected to submit a $600 deposit by May 1st to secure their place for the Spring or Fall of the following year. Also, during the "gap" year, they are unable to take more than 9 credits."
- Wesleyan University, Middletown. Acceptance rate: 21% (2010). "Deferred enrollment requests must be submitted in writing (letter or email) and approved by June 1st. Upon approval, Wesleyan will grant deferred admission for one year. Typically, 20 to 25 students are granted deferred matriculation in each class. In order to obtain approval, applicants must submit a plan for their gap year. Students granted a deferral cannot make any further admission applications to other institutions or enroll full time in any other institution of higher education. Interested students must also submit their admission deposit by May 1st. Once the student's request for deferment is received and, if approved, a formal letter acknowledging their deferred status will be sent. An essay, briefly describing deferral activities and reaffirming intention to enroll at Wesleyan is required by March 1st of the deferral year."
- Yale University, New Haven. Acceptance rate: 6.8% (2012). "A student's take on Yale's admission opportunities: 'When prospective Yalies choose to matriculate, each is presented with the opportunity to take a Gap Year. Basically, all Yale students have the option of taking a full year off to take advantage of whatever their heart desires. There are plenty of programs and opportunities both in the United States and abroad." http://admissions.yale.edu/bulldogs-blogs/joshua/2011/01/19/what-s-gap-year
- Quinnipiac University, Hamden. Acceptance rate: 63% (2010). "To take a gap year, the student will just need to send us an email letting us know they want to defer and to keep their application on file. When the next fall comes, they will receive an email with a reactivation form. The application will need to then be re-evaluated for admission. If they take classes during their gap year, they will be considered a transfer student. Students will need to reapply every year for Financial Aid and scholarships are re-evaluated with their application."
- University of Hartford, West Hartford. Acceptance rate: 71.1% (2011). "An admitted student who wishes to defer can do so for either a semester or a year. If they tuition deposit before deferring, all non-need based awards are held. Students interested in deferring should simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know in writing how long they would like to defer for and we update our database. We then contact the student as it gets closer to their new entry term to find out if they have earned any college credit in the meantime. We typically remind students to send us their final high school transcripts and, if necessary, college transcripts to finalize their deferral process. Please let us know if we can provide any further information!"
- Florida State University, Tallahassee. Acceptance rate: 53% (2014). "FSU is proud to be one of the few universities in the country (and the second public university) to offer financial assistance to students taking a gap year. Students applying for a gap year deferment will automatically be considered for a scholarship of up to $5,000 to support their gap year. FSU is committed to helping make the transformative opportunities afforded by a gap year accessible to students regardless of their family's income. ... Students admitted for Fall semester who are approved to take a gap year would defer until the following Fall; Summer semester admits would defer until the following Summer semester. High school seniors offered admission to start at FSU in the Spring semester are not eligible for a gap year deferment. Students undertaking a gap year will be invited to participate in structured group activities and reflection upon returning. Once matriculated at FSU, gap year students will be encouraged to build on their gap year experience and connect with the vast curricular and co-curricular programs of FSU, with assistance from offices such as the FSU Center for Leadership and Social Change and the Center for Undergraduate Research & Academic Engagement. Other requirements for students granted a deferment of matriculation can be found online."
- New College of Florida, Sarasota. Acceptance rate: 56% (2010). "Our admitted students must pay a $200 enrollment deposit by May 1 and are able to defer their admission for up to one year (to spring or fall). They need to indicate their desired defer term and provide a few sentences written to our Dean with their proposed plans and requesting a deferral. So long as they aren't taking classes in that time period she approves the defer. If they are taking classes they have to re-apply as a transfer student. Students are automatically eligible for all scholarships for the desired defer term. We don't typically award scholarships for students entering in spring as almost all of our students start in fall."
- Agnes Scott College, Decatur. Acceptance rate: 46% (2010). "A student should speak with her admission counselor before May 1st to let us know of her intentions to take a gap year. We have a gap year form for her to fill out to be approved to take a gap year. Our Director of Admission will determine if it's a positive reason: ie-volunteering abroad, working for city year, etc... If approved, a student must pay her admission deposit to guarantee her space and merit-based scholarships for the following year. It can all be done electronically with our form. Students will re-file the FAFSA for need-based aid the following year. A student's merit-based scholarship will remain the same as long as she follows all paperwork procedures."
- Berry College, Mount Berry. Acceptance rate: 62% (2010). "After a student deposits at Berry, they can apply to defer their deposit for up to one year by writing a letter to the chair of the Admissions Committee explaining the nature of the gap year and having the gap year approved. Merit based scholarships can be deferred for up to one year but of course students would need to complete the FAFSA again should their enrollment begin in another award year."
- Emory College, Atlanta. Acceptance rate: 26.7% (2011). "Some students opt for a gap year between high school and college. Students use this time to volunteer, travel, or work. We advise students considering the gap year option to apply to Emory during their senior year of high school. If accepted, the student would first need to submit his/her enrollment deposit by the established deadline (5/1 for Regular Decision; 3/1 for ED2; 1/15 for ED1). Students have until 6/1 to request a deferral of his/her admission. In order to defer admission, the accepted student would need approval from our Dean of Admission. Students may not enroll full-time at another college or university during their deferral period. We will accept only two courses taken for college credit during the gap year. We require a detailed explanation of the student's proposed plan for the gap year as well as acknowledgement of gap year guidelines regarding college coursework. The explanation should come in the form of a letter addressed to the Dean of Admission. In addition to the detailed letter, students must send an additional $1,000 deposit to hold his/her place in the freshmen class. Should the student enroll, this money will be credited to his/her account; if the student decides not to enroll, this money is non-refundable.Admission deferrals for gap years are granted for one year only. Students whose gap years are approved would enter Emory as freshmen the subsequent fall semester."
- Georgia Tech University, Atlanta. Acceptance rate: 52% (2010). "Freshman applicants who have been offered admission to Georgia Tech may request to defer their enrollment for up to one year. Students who are approved to defer their enrollment and who satisfy the requirements listed below do not have to file a new application and are guaranteed a spot in the following year's freshman class. Deferred students pay a tuition deposit for the original term of entry, which will be credited to the new term of entry. Requirements for the Deferred Enrollment Program are: (1) Only students who have paid their admission deposit by May 1st of their original entry year are eligible to request an enrollment deferral. (2) Students who wish to defer their enrollment must sign and return the Georgia Tech Deferred Enrollment Application and Agreement Form by August 1st. (3) Students may defer their enrollment to the following summer or fall term only. (4) Students may not defer their enrollment to attend other colleges and universities during their time away from Georgia Tech. Students who are found to have attended another colleges and universities during their deferral year will have their freshman admission revoked and must reapply as a transfer student. (5) Students who are granted approval to defer their enrollment should understand that their approval is contingent upon successful completion of all high school courses. Students reapply for need-based financial aid every year. Scholarships are handled on a case-by-case basis by the awarding department."
- Hawai'i Pacific University, Honolulu. Acceptance rate: 71% (2010). "We currently do not have a formal procedure for accepted students to indicate taking a gap year prior to starting at HPU. A student's acceptance to HPU is only valid for the term they anticipate enrolling, any changes to their start term would require re-review for admissions and academic merit scholarships as requirements can change from year to year. We do hold applications for up to two years, so a student would not need to submit a new application, they would just need to contact the admissions office to reactivate their application. Yes, students would need to complete a new FAFSA and be reconsidered for scholarships."
- Boise State University, Boise. Acceptance rate: 85% (2010). "Students need to submit the Deferred Admission Request Form, provide a brief explanation regarding the request for a deferral if it is outside the current academic year, and submit any outstanding application materials (such as a final high school transcript showing high school graduation and final senior year grades). Financial aid requires an aid year specific application (FAFSA). Any scholarship aid will be reviewed for deferral once the Deferred Admission Request Form is approved."
- Indiana University, Bloomington. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "If an incoming student is admitted and then decides they would like to take a year off, they can defer their admittance for 1 year. They would need to notify us before the classes of their admitted term starts by going to our deferral website. On this website it outlines the process. For example, students can take up to 11 hours of credit within the gap year, but if they take 12 they would have to reapply as a transfer student. You can contact our scholarship department for information about deferring the scholarships that a student may have been awarded. They can be reached at email@example.com, you can ask for Kathy Fisher. The Financial Aid Office can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can speak with Melissa Myers."
- Taylor University, Upland. Acceptance rate: 84% (2010). "Students can choose to "stop out". They can fill out a simple readmit form (on our website) when they are ready to re-enroll. If there are no red flags, they are readmitted without any problem. Merit based aid—carries over. But, FAFSA has to be filed again and some special scholarships might have been given away to other students so there is no guarantee. Also, we have an off-campus program for 1st semester freshmen."
- Cornell College, Mt. Vernon. Acceptance rate: 46% (2010). "The student needs to officially apply for admission. Depending upon where the student is from then they will be assigned an admission counselor who will work with them. Scholarships will not be lost if the student does not take college classes during their gap year. The need based aid (from FAFSA) will need to be filed again but we try to keep it the same unless something has changed in the family's income."
- Drake University, Des Moines. Acceptance rate: 63% (2010). "First, an admitted student simply needs to contact the Office of Admission by phone or email to defer admission. We will allow this for one academic year. The student does not need to reapply for admission. The student will only be considered a transfer student if academic credit is received during the gap year. The student must reapply for financial aid, but academic scholarships will carry over. Second, a student may receive academic credit for his or her gap year experience. The final decision will be made by the dean of the individual college or school the student attends with the university. Finally, our policy on gap years is quite loose and flexible. Therefore, we do not offer any student organizations or even state an official policy on our website. That said, please contact us if you have any additional questions."
- Columbia College, Chicago. Deferral for 1 academic year) Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL (No deferral program for the 4 schools in the EIU system. You can put your application on hold for a semester by emailing admissions and saying you'd like to update the semester for which you've applied. However, if you've already been accepted, the decision does not necessarily carry over to the next semester.
- Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Acceptance rate: 64% (2010). "Students have up to two semesters to defer an offer of admission. There are some specific requirements the student has to follow for the deferral. Here is the link to our forms page which includes deferment forms for the fall and spring semester: http://www.iit.edu/undergrad-admission/apply/forms.shtml. Students are asked not to attend other universities for academic program (language or cultural enrichment classes are not included), they are asked to submit an enrollment deposit, and an explanation of what they plan to do in their gap year. Scholarships offered to the student are not lost, however financial aid may be re-evaluated."
- Illinois State University, Normal. You must first be accepted by the university, then the individual school. No deferral program for the 6 schools in the ISU system. You can place your application on hold for a semester but if you've been accepted, the decision will not necessarily carry over you are more likely to be accepted again if you've already been accepted the previous semester.
- Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington. Prior to gap year, each school requires your decision to attend, a $250 deposit, and a written description of your plan for your gap experience which is sent to the Dean of Admissions for approval.) The process is fairly formal. The school may contact you around December of the gap year to confirm that you are still interested in attending the school upon your return.
- College of Liberal Arts (Yes, deferral for academic year)
- College of Fine Arts (Yes, deferral for academic year)
- School of Nursing (Yes, deferral for academic year)
- Knox College, Galesburg. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "The student must submit a request for approval from our Dean of Admission and also attach a $300 enrollment deposit and if their request is approved they would join our institution the following year. We will basically permit students to do community service work, travel or any other activity as long as they are not earning credits at another school."
- Berea College, Berea. Acceptance rate: 12% (2010). "Thank you for contacting us. At this time, Berea College does not allow students to defer their offer of admission. If students are accepted to Berea and do not enroll for which the term they applied, they must submit an entire application again the term in which they can successfully enroll."
- Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans. Acceptance rate: 65% (2010). "We do not offer deferral options. Our offers of admission and scholarship are term specific."
- Allegany College, Cumberland. Open door admissions for anyone over 16 years. No specific Gap Year but students are not penalized for taking a gap year, then applying the following year.
- Capitol College, Laurel. 1 year deferral unless they attended another college.
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. One year deferral at all JHU colleges. Just complete form, no other requirements.
- McDaniel College, Westminster. Acceptance rate: 75% (2010). "After a student deposits to McDaniel and chooses to defer a year for a gap experience, they must let us know (in writing) of their intention. Need-based financial aid must be re-filed (not any different for students going from their first to sophomore year in college) and scholarships will NOT be lost as long as they do NOT take ANY courses for college credit."
- St John's College, Annapolis. St. John's College allows students to take a gap year; students may apply one year ahead and be deferred for a year. Financial aid is reviewed annually so a student would need to complete financial aid paperwork again for need-based aid. Generous need-based and merit scholarships are offered by the college.
- Towson University, Towson. 1 semester deferral only but scholarship not deferred.
- University of Maryland, College Park. Acceptance rate: 45% (2010). "The process for an admitted freshman to defer an admission offer requires two steps: (1) Confirm enrollment by submitting the confirmation form and $400 deposit through their Admissions portal. (2) Complete and return the Deferral Request form. Both steps must be completed by their enrollment deadline in order to consider their deferral. We do not consider deferral requests until the confirmation deposit has been paid. The request form does include information regarding what types of activities are typically approved. In addition, freshmen deferrals are only granted for one year terms. If a student has been offered a scholarship award or admission into one of our special programs, such as the Honors College, those offers will be automatically deferred along with their admission if the deferral is approved.
- Washington College, Chestertown. Acceptance rate: 57% (2010). "All we need is a letter or email requesting deferral; we should be notified before May 1. We defer all merit-based awards. All recipients of need-based aid are required to apply on an annual basis."
- Amherst College, Amherst. Acceptance rate: 14% (2013). "Students admitted to Amherst College may, with permission from the Dean of Admission, defer matriculation for a year without reapplying. The admitted student must confirm his/her intent to enroll at Amherst by submitting the enrollment form and required deposit, along with a written request for the deferral by May 1. The letter of deferral request must include a description of the intended plans for the gap year. Deferred students wishing to receive credit for academic work completed during the year between high school and their enrollment at Amherst would need to reapply for admission to. All financial aid at Amherst College is awarded on the basis of a family's current financial need (there are no athletic or academic/merit scholarships). Because all our financial aid in need-based, the simple act of deferring enrollment for a year does not affect a student's eligibility for financial aid, but the student would have to submit an updated financial aid application in order for a current award to be determined."
- Boston University, Boston. Acceptance rate: 45.5% (2012). "Deferred admission may only be granted to admitted freshman students who have paid the required non-refundable $650 enrollment deposit. Deferred admission may be requested for one or two semesters. Financial aid offers cannot be deferred. Students must reapply for financial aid by the deadlines listed below. Merit scholarship award deferrals may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College deferrals may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students planning to complete a post-graduate year of high school are not eligible for deferred admission. Students admitted to the College of General Studies; the School of Theatre in the College of Fine Arts; or the School of Management may only request deferred admission to begin in September. Students admitted to one of the accelerated programs in the College of Arts and Sciences may, in some cases, be granted deferred admission status. However, all requests will be forwarded to and decided on by the Accelerated Programs Joint Admissions Committee. Students planning to matriculate at another institution are not eligible for deferral. Any deferred student who matriculates at another institution will lose deferred admission status at Boston University and will forfeit the enrollment deposit. Students who wish to take courses with non-degree status during the period of deferment are limited to two courses per semester. Credit earned at other institutions will be evaluated for transfer credit in accordance with established Boston University policies. Admitted transfer students are not eligible for deferred admission." For Fall sessions, the deadline for deferral is August 1. Spring session's deferral is January 1."
- College of the Holy Cross, Worcester. Acceptance rate: 33% (2011). "We have very few students who end up deferring admission to do a gap year at Holy Cross. After a student is admitted, if the student would like to do a gap year, he or she can needs to write a formal letter to our Director of Admissions outlining the reasons for the deferral and what the plans are for the gap year. We do not have any formal university programs or organizations that provide students the opportunity to do a gap year. Students do need to re-apply for financial aid for the following year. Students do not typically receive any type of academic credit if they take courses during a gap year."
- Harvard University, Cambridge. Acceptance rate: 5.9% (2012). "Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way. Perhaps the best way of all to get the full benefit of a "time-off" is to postpone entrance to college for a year. For nearly forty years, Harvard has recommended this option, indeed proposing it in the letter of admission. Normally a total of about fifty to seventy students defer college until the next year. The results have been uniformly positive. Harvard's daily student newspaper, The Crimson, reported (5/19/2000) that students who had taken a year off found the experience "so valuable that they would advise all Harvard students to consider it." Harvard's overall graduation rate of 98% is among the highest in the nation, perhaps in part because so many students take time off. Harvard also has a website devoted to the gap year (http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/visitors/gapyear.htm) as well as a Harvard gap year student group (http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/gap-year/index.html) . These sites can provide useful information and connections about what to do with your gap year."
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. Acceptance rate: 8.9% (2012). "From my years in admissions, the overwhelming sentiment from students who have taken a gap year has been:No one ever regrets having taken a gap year, but plenty of people regret not having taken one. The bottom line here is that it is okay to slow down. Life, college, career -- it's not a race." "On your online reply form on your MyMIT portal, just choose: 'I will enroll at MIT and I request to defer my enrollment until the term beginning:' And then choose one of the options for length of deferral. We will then ask you to write us and tell us what you plan to do. We will grant a deferral for almost any reason. Come up with somewhat of a plan, and you'll probably be fine. Some members of the Class of 2011 deferred to spend a year in Israel, others to do intensive music study. What you do is up to you. I should also note that if your gap year plans are not certain by May 1, you can instead select the "Enrolling" option on the reply form, and then you can request a deferral any time right up until Registration Day in September (though I strongly suggest you do so well before that). No worries. And if you already have submitted your reply form telling us you're enrolling, again, no worries: you, too, can request a deferral any time right up until Registration Day in September (though, again, I strongly suggest you do so well before that)."
- Olin College of Engineering, Needham. Acceptance rate: 12% (2014). "In addition to accepted students being allowed/encouraged to take a Gap Year, any student on our waiting list for whom we do not have openings and are not accepted is eligible to take a gap year. This past year, we have 20 gap years, 14 of whom were on our waiting list last year; six were outright admitted. Prospective students can announce their intentions at any time. If students know they will defer, we prefer they tell us as soon as they know of their plans so that we can plan for the incoming class. As a matter of policy, we do not accept external credit from any college or university. There are exceptions to that rule, but they are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Other than that, there are no restrictions. All students are offered the half tuition merit scholarship and that is deferrable based on the fact that it applies to all students. Need-Based Financial Aid is not transferable on deferment because it is contingent upon the FAFSA applicable to the year of enrollment. Deferred students must reapply for need-based aid by the prior Feb 15th for the year in which they plan to enroll."
- Tufts University, Medford. Tufts just recently made their announcement to offer a FULLY FUNDED "1+4" program. WAY TO GO TUFTS!
- School of Arts & Science
- School of Engineering
- University of Massachusetts Boston. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- University of MA Medical School, Worchester. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Wellesley, Wellesley. Acceptance rate: 31% (2010). "Students need to deposit to secure their place in the class by May 1 and write a formal letter to the dean stating their plans during their gap year. The dean will then respond to each student on a case by case basis. All of our students have to reapply for financial aid every year, regardless of gap year, as all of our aid is need based. We do not give any scholarships."
- Wheaton College, Wheaton. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Alma College, Alma. Acceptance rate: 73% (2010). "Students can apply to Alma at anytime during the year through rolling admissions. We would recommend applying during their senior year. Once accepted they can submit their commitment deposit and defer their enrollment for the following year. If students have any questions about the admissions process they should call 1(800)321-ALMA or email email@example.com. Students will not need to reapply for their Alma College Scholarships but will need to file the FAFSA again for the academic year they will be attending. Scholarships will not be lost however, financial assistance is subject to change based on the students FAFSA."
- Aquinas College, Grand Rapids. Acceptance rate: 65% (2014). "Please let the admissions office know of your decision to defer prior to May 1. Students should re-file their FAFSA for the current school year. Scholarships will be held for one year for gap year students, granted they have not earned credit at another educational institution."
- Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Charter Township. Acceptance rate: 63% (2010). "Cornerstone University offers rolling admission. If a student wishes to defer admission for a semester or year, the student's Admission Counselor can schedule to have the file reactivated for the appropriate semester. Application materials will be held for up to two years and not need to be resubmitted."
- Hillsdale College, Hillsdale. Acceptance rate: 41.9% (2012). "We do not defer applications, no matter the reason. But a student can reactivate their application without resubmitting all their materials. Usually students haven't submitted their final transcript, but otherwise we just need a description of what they've been up to since their application. Financial Aid and Scholarships are reconsidered for both merit-based scholarships and need-based aid."
- Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo. Acceptance rate: 69% (2010). "[Deferring students] pay our deposit fee and request deferral with a letter indicating what they will be doing during their Gap year. They will need to fill out a current year FAFSA to be reevaluated for Financial Aid, however their Merit scholarships stay in place."
- Michigan Tech, Houghton. Acceptance rate: 74% (2010). "The student will need to contact the Admissions Office and indicate that they would like to defer their acceptance to a specific date (normally we can defer up to a year). Students should contact the admissions office at 888-688-1885 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of their plans. Students should notify us as soon as possible so other offices--such as housing and residential life--can be informed of the change. As long as the student is not taking any college classes during that time they will stay accepted.Any merit-based scholarships through our Presidential Scholars Program, National Scholars Program will be awarded following a gap year provided students are not taking courses for college credit following their high school graduation. Students must contact the financial aid office at 888-688-1885 or by email to email@example.com to explain the change in enrollment and request to have their scholarship rolled to the future semester. If students are taking college courses during the gap year, they will be considered a transfer student for the future semester they plan to enroll and will need to reapply for admission and reconsideration of scholarships. If students wish to be considered for need-based aid for the future semester of enrollment, they must reapply with the FAFSA form for the time of enrollment. Any other aid awarded prior to the student taking a gap year will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students can contact the financial aid office for more details."
- Oakland University, Rochester. Acceptance rate: 68% (2010). "Admission is good for one calendar year. A student may enroll up to one year after their initial term of admission. Students may also choose to call our Office of Undergraduate Admissions and ask to update their application to a later term. Students must re-file their FAFSA for the current school year. Scholarships may be awarded to a gap year student, granted they have not earned credit at another educational institution, and funds are still available."
- Augsburg College, Minneapolis, (Deferral is 1 academic year, scholarships and financial aid are held over)
- Bemidji State University, Bemidji. Acceptance rate: 90% (2010). "To my knowledge, BSU does not have a formal Gap Deferral Policy. However, we handle gap students' situations on a case-by-case basis. A student must provide written notification that they intend to take a year off. In line with this, if a student happens to earn any college credit during the Gap Year, they must reapply as a new student. Financial Aid: Yes [deferral students do need to reapply for financial aid]. Scholarships: Some. (BSU has Freshmen Merit-Based Scholarships that are guaranteed to true freshmen at any point within two years of their high school graduation, as long as no outside college credits have been earned during their Gap Year. However, a student would need to reapply to any of our Foundation Scholarships."
- Carleton College, Northfield, MN (Deferral is 1-2 years but only on a case by case basis. Financial aid based on need on re-entry)
- The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth. Acceptance rate: 81%. "Once a student applies for a given year, they simply need to request to be deferred for a year. We will roll their application and acceptance into the following year and communicate with them as appropriate for the subsequent deadlines. Yes, the FAFSA will need to be completed for the upcoming year, but scholarships will roll with the application."
- Macalaster College, Saint Paul, MN (Deferral is 1 academic year, scholarships/financial aid hold over)
- St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN (Deferral for 1 academic year encouraged/preferred, scholarships hold over, reapply for financial aid on re-entry)
- University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN (Deferral on a case by case basis)
- University of Minnesota, Crookston, MN (1 semester deferral, scholarships hold over on case by case basis)
- Mississippi College, Clinton. Acceptance rate: 44% (2010). "We don't "defer" admissions. We require the student to re-apply. As long as they reapply without any major changes over that year (course credit with poor grades, conviction, etc.) they will be admitted without any problems and receive a comparable scholarship package. Our application can be found online at www.mc.edu, and there is a rolling admissions deadline for us. When they reapply for admission, we'll need any new transcripts they may have during that gap year. Other than these, a scholarship will typically be based upon the student's first application."
- Missouri State University, Springfield. Acceptance rate: 83% (2010). "A student would just need to update their application to indicate the term they wish to start. If we have not yet received their final high school transcript, they would need to submit that prior to their intended start term. Yes, they would need to submit a new FAFSA, as it is based on the previous calendar year's information. They would lose their scholarship. However, they may appeal to the Director of Scholarships in advance and may be allowed to retain their scholarship."
- Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla. Acceptance rate: 90% (2010). "If a student does not enroll for a semester and then would like to return to S&T they must complete the Former Missouri S&T Student Undergraduate Application for Admission. If they have attended any colleges or universities since last attending S&T they would need to submit official transcripts along with the application. The application is submitted to the Registrar's Office and then forwarded to the appropriate academic department for approval. The form can be found on the Registrar's Office webpage."
- Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville. Acceptance rate: 70% (2010). "We do not currently have any “gap year” policies in effect at Northwest Missouri State University."
- University of Missouri, Columbia. Acceptance rate: 81% (2010). "Gap year deferral requests are handled on an individual basis upon written request from the student. In general we would normally approve gap year requests for community service, mission work, military service, language immersion, etc. Sport opportunities, working, maturation, and other such requests would not generally be granted. If the student intends to earn college credit during their gap year the deferral would typically not be granted and they would have to reapply as a transfer student and meet those requirements. Automatic scholarship deferral would need to be appealed (through financial aid) but most other financial aid would require another FAFSA, etc."
- Rocky Mountain College, Billings. Acceptance rate: 55% (2010). "RMC offers rolling admissions. For students who have been admitted and are considering or have decided to pursue a gap year they may defer their acceptance and academic scholarship for up to one academic year. In order to defer, a student need only convey that they wish to defer to the Office of Admissions either in person, phone, or writing. The deferment is cancelled should a student successfully enroll at another institution during that time. Students may defer their academic scholarship for up to one academic year. It is strongly encouraged that all students file a FAFSA every year."
- Montana State University, Bozeman. Acceptance rate: 61% (2010). "If a student knows they will be taking a year off between high school graduation and college, they can simply apply for the term they plan to attend and if we have the necessary information (gpa, test scores, etc), we will admit them. If they have already applied and now their plans have changed and want to attend one year later, we can update their application (no need to re-apply or pay another application fee) up to one year from their original intended entry term. They need only to notify their admissions evaluator of their request - can be done via email or phone or in writing. Financial aid must be applied for each year so if they will be attending one year later, then yes, they would need to re-apply for financial aid. Scholarships will be rescinded and the student will automatically be considered for a scholarship based on the new academic year's parameters."
- University of Nevada, Reno, Reno. Acceptance rate: 88% (2010). "We do not have a policy for deferring admissions. If you do not attend the semester in which you applied for, you need to apply again. However, once you have attended at least one semester we do have a formal Leave of Absence policy that allows students to take one to two semesters off with no penalties. Details about this policy can be found in our academic catalog."
- Princeton University, Princeton, (Bridge Year available to 10% incoming freshmen). Acceptance rate: 8.5% (2012). "The Bridge Year Program allows a select number of Princeton students to delay the start of their freshman year in order to engage in nine months of University-sponsored service at one of four international locations. In addition to supporting community-based initiatives at each program site, Bridge Year aims to provide participants with greater international perspective and intercultural skills, an opportunity for personal growth and reflection, and a deeper appreciation of service in both a local and international context.
Bridge Year is a structured nine-month program with a focus on community service and cultural immersion for Princeton students prior to the start of their freshman year. The volunteer placement. Bridge Year students are placed in volunteer assignments that serve local communities while enriching their understanding of the world. Bridge Year volunteers might teach in an elementary school or serve patients in a health clinic. Other placements might include promoting economic development or organizing environmental initiatives. Regardless of the assignment, participants work closely with the host community, collaborating earnestly and gaining a deep understanding of the lives and experiences of local people. The living experience. Bridge Year volunteers live with local families within the community where they serve, providing them the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships, develop and master language skills, and become a part of the local society. Language training. Program participants receive intensive language training upon arrival on site. Conversational competence is stressed so that participants are able to apply learning to their service assignment early on and communicate effectively with others within the community. Peer support. Students are placed in small groups at each program location, providing access to the support and comfort of peers throughout their year abroad. Destinations. Volunteers spend the duration of the Bridge Year in a country other than their own. Princeton currently sends Bridge Year participants to program sites in China, India, Peru and Senegal.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org."
- Rutgers University, Newark. Acceptance rate: 61% (2010). "Deferrals of admission may be granted to first-year students for a full academic year, from one fall semester to the very next fall semester, unless the reason for deferral is for US military service. A deferral is official only when you are notified that the Office of University Undergraduate Admissions has granted your request. Your Rutgers Status will be updated to show when the deferral request has been granted. The following are the conditions under which deferrals are usually granted: (1) You must be a fall, first-year admitted student, or an admitted transfer who will be pursuing U.S. military service. (2) Your acceptance fee of $150.00 must be included with your request for deferral. If your deferral is not granted, your fee will be returned. (3) Scholarships, admission to honors programs, and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) awards are specific to each academic year and may not be deferred. Students who have deferred admission are considered for any scholarships, honors programs and awards when they reapply. (4) No new application fee is required if you meet all of the deferral requirements. (5) You may resubmit your previous essay or compose a new one."
- Saint Anselm College, Manchester. Acceptance rate: 71% (2011). "Admitted students who would like to postpone enrollment at Saint Anselm College for a semester or a year can request to defer their admission. Please note the following action items if you plan to defer: Requests for deferrals must be put in writing from the student to the Director of Admission and sent via e-mail to email@example.com or postal mail to the Saint Anselm Admission Office (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03012). Please include your name and date of birth in your letter. The request should include a short description of your intended plans during the deferral period (either semester or year). Deferrals are granted for personal reasons—ie; time off to work/travel, medical reasons, among others. Saint Anselm College will not approve deferral requests in which the student will be taking college coursework as a matriculated student elsewhere, or completing a post-graduate year. It is permissible to take courses as a non-degree student. If that is your intention, please let us know in your letter requesting the deferral. If you know you will be deferring your admission you do need to send in an enrollment deposit by the May 1 deadline to guarantee a space in the class (for fall semester admits). Deferral requests made after May 1 (for fall semester admits) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.If a deferral is approved, a form to reinstate admission for the future semester will be sent with the approval letter. Please follow the instructions provided on that form. Students who defer for a year must remember to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS PROFILE by March 15 of the year they will be enrolling to be considered for need-based financial aid. Students who defer for only one semester will have their Financial Aid package modified to indicate only one semester of need. If you received a merit award it will automatically be posted to your account for the following academic year."
- Dartmouth, North Dartmouth. Acceptance rate: 9.8% (2012). "Admitted students who would like to request a gap year can make this request by emailing the Admissions Office by June 1 in the year that they have been admitted. Admitted students who defer their enrollment may not apply to any other colleges or universities during their gap year. The Admissions Office asks students who have deferred enrollment to write to the Admissions Office as soon as possible after January 1 of their gap year to provide an update of experiences, activities, and course work, if applicable. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to review the status of any admitted student, including those on a gap year, and to rescind the offer of admission if a student's record does not remain satisfactory in all respects. While on your gap year, we require that you write to our office as soon as possible after January 1 to reaffirm your commitment to join the newest Dartmouth class. This email should also describe your experiences and undertakings during your gap year."
- Barnard College. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY. Acceptance rate: 40% (2010). No official deferral policy, but there are a list of resources.
- Colgate University, Hamilton. Acceptance rate: 29% (2010). "While most students apply for admission with the intention of entering college the fall after graduation, some accepted students may wish to postpone entrance to Colgate for a year. Accepted students who do not matriculate at another institution may request to postpone their enrollment for one year. Students must pay a non-refundable $500 deposit and submit a signed enrollment certificate by May 1. A request to postpone enrollment should be made in writing to the Office of Admission by June 1 of the year admission was offered. Upon approval to postpone enrollment, an additional $500 deposit and a signed deferred enrollment contract are required within ten days to hold the student's place in the class. Students applying for financial assistance must file the Financial Aid PROFILE with the College Scholarship Service (CSS) and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the federal processor by Feb. 1 of the year of intended fall enrollment. Candidates may expect notification of financial aid awards by early April of the spring before entrance."
- Columbia University, New York City, (Deferral is 2 semesters or 1 academic year)
- Columbia College
- Fu Foundation School of Engineering. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Hamilton College, Clinton. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Houghton College, Houghton. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "The student needs to inform the school of his/her desire to delay enrollment either in-person via email or a phone call with their admission counselor or via writing. In that notification, the student needs to inform the school which term they wish to defer enrollment for. The student will then need to submit a "re-application" form either online or via mail that will "re-active" their application for the next year's cycle. The student's application is very likely to be re-accepted provided that nothing substantial has changed in their record (e.g. hasn't taken courses and done poorly, etc.). While there is no set deadline to re-apply by, we encourage the application in the fall. It depends on the scholarship. As a rule of thumb, financial aid will stay the same as their original financial aid package unless the student was admitted into a special program (honors, etc.) that had a unique scholarship attached do it. If so, the student would need to re-interview/apply for these special programs. Any need-based or general academic scholarships would persist, however, in the majority of cases provided that the student's financial reality hasn't substantially changed. We have a relationship with a Spanish-language gap year program. This is not widely made known, however, as it is for unique students/situations."
- New York University (NYU), New York City. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Rochester Institute of Technology, Acceptance rate: 58.5% (2013). Accepted students may defer up to 2 years (one year at a time). Merit scholarships transfer on deferment. Need-based financial aid offers will remain similar if FAFSA information is similar the following year. If a student takes college courses during their deferred year, they will be reconsidered for admission and scholarship as a transfer student.
- Rochester Institute of Technology, Acceptance rate: 58.5% (2013). Accepted students may defer up to 2 years (one year at a time). Merit scholarships transfer on deferment. Need-based financial aid offers will remain similar if FAFSA information is similar the following year. If a student takes college courses during their deferred year, they will be reconsidered for admission and scholarship as a transfer student.
- Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs. This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Siena College, Loudonville. Acceptance rate: 48% (2010). "To maintain acceptance to Siena after a gap year, students would have to deposit ($350) at Siena and inform us that they will be taking a gap year. We will then send them the necessary form to fill out looking for more information on their plans during the gap year. Students will not need to re-apply for financial aid or scholarships. Everything will remain the same. We do not have a system for tracking academic performance of a gap year. We would hope the students keep us posted on their progress throughout the year."
- State University of New York (SUNY) - Purchase, Purchase. Acceptance rate: 34% (2010). "The student follows the same deferral process as any other student. The student needs to notify us that they will be taking a gap year and would like to defer their admission. We notate it in the system and then send them a deferral contract. In that contract they need to state if they have taken or will be taking any coursework during the time period of the deferral. If they answer yes, they are required to submit official transcripts. If not, the deferral will be processed and they will receive all appropriate follow up information for the following semester. Yes, they [students] must reapply for aid but the award would stand for 1 year (if academic)."
- Syracuse University, Acceptance rate: 49.4% (2011). Syracuse has their own Gap Year program in London and another in Madrid.
- University of Rochester, Rochester. Acceptance rate: 36% (2010). "A student needs to e-mail myself or Chris Antal and describe in as much detail as possible what the students plans are for a gap year. It cannot be done on-line, or through the website. It has to be done directly with either Chris or myself. Once we grant a deferral for the year the student is taking a gap year, we ask the student to complete a form that Chris or I send directly to the student. The form is only sent after the deferral is granted. We must receive this form before the deferral is final. We make this very clear to students. Students do need to re-apply for financial aid. In almost all cases their scholarship is retained."
- Vassar College, Poughkeepsie. Acceptance rate: 23% (2010). "Vassar College welcomes students who wish to do a gap year between high school and college. Here is the wording from our FAQ for prospective students on this topic: Admitted freshman students may, with the permission of the Office of Admission, defer entry to Vassar for one year. Students must first confirm their intent to enroll at Vassar by submitting the Candidate's Reply Form and the required enrollment deposit by May 1. A written request outlining specific plans for the gap year should also be submitted, preferably along with the enrollment deposit, but by no later than June 1. If deferred status is approved, a formal letter stating the conditions under which the deferral has been granted will be sent to the student. However, students who may be offered admission to Vassar from the waiting list after May 1 are not eligible to request a deferral of admission. In virtually every case, the gap year is approved and the students are told that (1) they may not enroll at another institution as a full-time student during the year, and (2) they must write to us by the end of February of the gap year to re-confirm their intention to enroll the following fall. About 10-12 students defer their admission and do a gap year each year."
- Duke University, Durham. Acceptance rate: 11% (2012). "Students wishing to take a gap year at Duke are allowed to do so on a case-by-case basis. The Dean of Admissions, Christoph Guttentag, considers all gap year requests. Ultimately, students who receive approval will apply for financial aid for the academic year in which they will enroll. We do not have a formally run program that gives students the opportunity to do a gap year before starting school, nor are there any type of student run organizations that are primarily involved with these students as only a handful of students choose this option each year. Additionally, we do not have a formal website discussing our gap year policy. Academic credit is rarely awarded to students who take a gap year prior to enrolling, in fact one of the criteria for approval is that students not enroll in any credit-bearing programs." Note: Duke has an innovative Duke Engage program that is similar to a Gap Year although taken during a student's sophomore year."
- Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs. Acceptance rate: 59% (2010). "The student would need to inform his/her admissions counselor, who could delay the student's application. After the gap year, the student would need to send us any transcripts of classes taken during that year, if applicable. Students would automatically be awarded merit scholarships for the year they would actually attend; if the scholarship awarding matrix changed, the matrix that is valid for that particular school year of attendance would be used to award the students. Naturally, a current year FAFSA would be needed."
- North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Acceptance rate: 50% (2012). "NC State allows admitted undergraduate students to request to request a gap term for up to 2 semesters maximum. Gap term students will not be able to enroll in a for-credit or degree program at another institution (part-time or full-time) during their gap period. Scholarships and financial aid will not be deferred. Gap term students must reapply for financial aid and scholarships. The student must contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and request the gap term form. Students will be notified if their request has been approved."
- Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa. They have a Gap Year focused scholarship available for incoming freshmen. "Community Engagement & Leadership Scholarships - Awarded to students who have shown leadership capacity in any of a number of ways, including involvement in some form of volunteer activity (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, Food Not Bombs, social justice activism, etc.). Students may also be considered who have excelled in opportunities such as student governance, gap-year programs, semester schools, Outward Bound and NOLS trips, etc. A minimum GPA of 2.75 or higher is required for consideration by the committee. Renewal is automatic if the student maintains full-time continuous enrollment with a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and a cumulative 2.75 GPA."
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte. Acceptance rate: 71% (2010). Thank you for reaching out with your question, I am happy to help. As a policy, we do not defer admissions for any reason. We ask student to complete a new application for their desired term. An application can only be used for the term they originally apply and are admitted for. The one exception is for students who are admitted for the fall or summer session and want to change between those two (fall start or summer start are interchangeable, and the only ones that are). I hope this helps answer your questions.
- University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington. Acceptance rate: 57% (2010). "UNCW does have a policy and a procedure in place for those students who wish to defer their enrollment, whether it’s because they are taking a gap year or they simply need more time before enrolling for various other reasons, i.e., financially, emotionally, etc. Yes [students do need to reapply for financial aid]. Students are not permitted to enroll in any other degree seeking course of study at another institution during this time. Students who take more than 8 collegiate credit hours after graduation, regardless of whether or not they are transferable credits, will lose their deferred status as well as their status as a freshman student, and must then reapply to UNCW as a transfer student under a different set of credentials. UNCW will ONLY give credit for up to 8 hours earned post high school graduation."
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (Global Gap Year Fellowship Program). This college has otherwise been known to be favorable to Gap Year students deferring.
- Ashland University, Ashland. Acceptance rate: 72% (2010). "[Deferrals are] handled simply via the request from a student to update their enrollment start term. We don't have any special forms to fill out for this request. No scholarships will be lost if a student takes a gap year. A student will have to file the FAFSA again the following year, but they would have to do that anyway, even if they had enrolled right after HS, since it is a new calendar year."
- Kent State University, Kent. Acceptance rate: 89% (2010). "Student can request a deferral for one year – must submit in writing to the Admissions Office no later than May 1. Students do not need to reapply for scholarships but should submit the FAFSA for the next year."
- John Carroll University, University Heights. Acceptance rate: 84% (2010). "We don't have a policy but we do see some students who wait a year before enrolling or look at transferring to JCU. If a student applied to our school for the fall and then wanted to defer their enrollment to another term, we do allow them to do so. We would treat that student as a freshman if they didn't take any college level courses or as a transfer student if they did for when they enroll again. Becky Dinnen is our Director of Transfer students and works with all transfer students who are interested in enrolling at JCU. In regards to financial aid or scholarships, if they are a transfer student they need to apply as such and all the information can be found on our website at: www.jcu.edu/transfer. If they are an incoming student but did not take college level classes, we would review them for scholarships and financial aid as an incoming freshman. This information is on our admission website at: www.jcu.edu/admission."
- Miami University, Oxford. Acceptance rate: 74% (2010). The steps followed are: "Forward request to director of admission for approval. If approved the student is forwarded to processing. The admission counselor working with the student should inform the student that the confirmation deposit MUST be submitted in order to defer enrollment. Letter is generated and "Deferred Admission Application" is enclosed with the letter. If necessary, we notify financial aid/SEP/Honor/Academic Division/Athletics. We add activity to data base: Communication, Deferral Letter Sent. We will submit a "Request to Change of Deposit Status" to the Bursar. Student financial aid awards typically continue to their enrollment. Families should refile the FAFSA each year however."
- University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati. Acceptance rate: 65% (2010). "For information on our Deferral Policy, please visit http://admissions.uc.edu/apply/faq/deferral.html."
- Lewis & Clark College, Portland. Acceptance rate: 66% (2010). "A non-refundable tuition deposit of $300 is required from all students who intend to enroll at Lewis & Clark College. The postmark deadline for the deposit and the Admitted Student Reply Form is May 1, 2013. Students offered admission off of the wait list are not allowed to defer their enrollment. The deferral option is not intended to allow students to begin or continue their college career elsewhere. A student may not attend another institution on a full-time basis during the time of deferral. Full-time status is considered to be enrollment in 12 or more credits per term. It is assumed that any academic work pursued during the time of deferral will be at a level consistent with or above the student's record with which she/he gained acceptance to Lewis & Clark College. The College reserves the right to reverse a prior admissions decision based on poor results of academic work completed during the time of deferral. Any student deferring enrollment to the fall semester of the next academic year, who has applied for need-based financial aid, will need to file the necessary forms for the new academic year sometime after January 1 and before our priority filing deadline of February 15. Any student deferring enrollment to the next academic year remains eligible for merit-based scholarships, assuming satisfactory performance in any subsequent academic work. Neely Scholarship recipients must compete with candidates for the new academic year and are guaranteed at least a Trustee Scholarship. Music and Forensics scholarships cannot be deferred;recipients of those talent-based awards must compete with candidates for the new academic year, as well."
- Oregon State University, Corvallis. Acceptance rate: 67.7% (2013). "If the student decides to take a gap year, then they will need to just wait to apply to the year that they wish to attend. If the student has already applied, then they will have to reapply for the term that they want to attend and anything offered (scholarships, financial aid) will not be deferred. The student will have to reapply for financial aid and scholarships. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us."
- Portland State University, Portland. Acceptance rate: 70.1% (2011). "Thank you for your inquiry. Portland State University does not have any policies regarding a gap year. At PSU, an application (and acceptance) is valid for three terms past the original term of application. So if a student applies for the fall 2013 term, the application is valid through summer term 2014. If a student wanted to start in a term within that time frame, he would just need to submit a Change of Admission Term form. If, however, the student didn't want to start until fall term 2014, he would need to reapply for admission. Neither Financial Aid nor Scholarships are deferrable, so the student would need to reapply for those as well."
- University of Oregon, Eugene. Acceptance rate: 74% (2015). "Gap year deferrals are only available to first-time freshmen admitted for fall terms. To be considered for an approved deferral, an admitted student should deposit by our May 1 deadline, then initiate a request with us no later than June 15 by completing the Deferral/Gap Year Request form available at https://admissions.uoregon.edu/freshmen/apply/gapyear. The page includes all needed details on the process, including how to reach our primary contact for gap year students, Emily Wright. All federal financial aid is determined via the FAFSA, and the student must submit a new one each year to determine updated eligibility. Apex and Summit Award winners will still receive these awards the following year provided their final high school transcript still shows them meeting the minimum GPA requirement. Students who received other scholarships with a competitive process (such as Stamps, Presidential, or the DES award) should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine what is possible for the deferred start—these scholarships may or may not be re-awarded. We do not offer any such credit at this time [for Gap Year]. However, we might award credit if available through the Gap Year program itself. Earning too many college credits risks deferral or scholarship eligibility though, so be sure to contact UO Admissions before making specific plans for credit-earning programs."
- Seton Hill University, Greensburg. (There is no formal gap deferral but admissions director is a strong supporter and recommends that students write their intention of a Gap Year in the essay on the application form. Scholarships would be awarded case by case.)
- Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Acceptance rate: 30% (2012). "Students must first and foremost submit a deposit after being admitted and send us a letter requesting to defer for a year. Students will have to reapply for financial aid. We do not offer merit based scholarships. Students who are deferring for a year are not allowed to enroll in a degree granting program at another institution."
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Acceptance rate: 12.3% (2012). "You can apply to Penn after a gap year. You would apply as a freshman with all the same requirements, including test results, transcripts, etc. In addition, you would need to submit a supplemental essay to your application explaining why you needed to take a gap year and what you did during that year."
- Washington & Jefferson College, Washington. Acceptance rate: 43% (2010). "All accepted students are mailed an Admission Reply Form to submit with their $200 deposit. On the form, they have the choice to enroll in the next school year or to defer their enrollment for a half year or full year. If the student was award a merit scholarship, it will not be lost. The student will need to submit the FAFSA again since we require them to do this yearly."
- Wilson College, Chambersburg. Acceptance rate: 52% (2010). "Wilson College permits admitted students to defer their enrollment for a semester or a year. Our applicants work with an assigned admissions counselor and lots of interaction takes place between the student and his/her admissions counselor. If a student indicates that they wish to defer their enrollment all they have to do is tell the counselor; there is no official form to complete. On our ERP system, we mark the student as deferred with the future start term they indicate. The actual hard copy applicant folder is also marked and the folder is moved to the appropriate location. Financial aid eligibility is based on the results of the FAFSA filed for that academic year and what the formula in effect indicates is the estimated family contribution. Wilson College has no control over this. We can’t carry over our financial aid offer from one year to the next for any student who did not enroll in the year for which they originally applied. Students who defer enrollment to the next academic year must, of course, file the FAFSA with the Department of Education. When we have access to their information, they are packaged for financial aid. If a student who defers enrollment has been awarded a competitive scholarship, that scholarship is not held for them because it will have been awarded to another incoming student. They would have to compete for the scholarship with the next group of incoming students. Merit scholarship amounts and eligibility requirements may change; if they do, the student who defers must meet the requirements in force for the year they will be entering. If they earn nine or more academic credits at another regionally accredited college or university, they are no longer considered first-year students. They are now classified as transfer students and must meet requirements in force for all transfer applicants."
- York College of Pennsylvania, York. Acceptance rate: 73% (2010). "We do not have any formal procedures in place at York College with regards to a gap year. If a student is accepted and decides they want to participate in a gap year they can defer their acceptance for one year. Scholarships may be lost in that the criteria may change and financial aid cannot be locked in. This would require the parents to refile a FAFSA for the appropriate year."
- Belmont University, Nashville. Acceptance rate: 80% (2010). "Students must submit a non-refundable enrollment deposit of $350 and must request, in writing, a year deferral. There is not a formal form. We will maintain the student's scholarship and talent based awards while they are on their gap year experience. Need-based aid will need to be reassessed based on updated FAFSA information."
- Belmont University, Nashville. Acceptance rate: 82% (2010). "Student contacts his admission counselor and requests a deferment form. There is a deadline to request a deferment (May 1 for those entering freshman approved for fall admission). Student must pay enrollment deposit for desired term of entry (after gap period). Student agrees NOT to enroll in any college-level courses during the period of deferment. Yes [students need to reapply] for financial aid, but not for scholarships."
- Bryan College, Dayton. Acceptance rate: 57% (2010). "The short answer to all of your questions is that we do not have any formal procedures or policies specific to students taking a gap year, nor have we made any special effort to track their application completion or academic success rate. We do make an effort to identify and maintain contact with those who have indicated they plan to attend Bryan College after their gap year, and generally speaking, if they have already been accepted and awarded they can usually pre-arrange to have their institutional financial aid rolled to their new expected entrance term. They make their intentions and requests known to their admissions counselor, who is responsible for follow up. Federal and state aid is year specific and the student would have to reapply for those using the FAFSA."
- Lee University, Cleveland. Acceptance rate: 61% (2010). "Students would need to submit a new application if applying for a different academic school year. We keep student records for a couple year after they apply but after that amount of time they would need to resubmit transcripts and test scores as well. They could notify Admissions and let them know they want to change their entering semester and that could be done. We have rolling admissions so we don't have an application deadline but we do have a deadline for merit based scholarships, which is March 15th. Yes, they would need to reapply [for Scholarships & Financial Aid]. If the student receives academic credit, then they would be in jeopardy of losing their automatic academic scholarships. They would want to make sure before entering a gap year that they have spoken to the Director of Admissions and cleared up questions about specific scholarships."
- Maryville College