Preparing for College

Can My Son Defer College Applications to Gap Year?

Question: I've been told that before my son takes a gap year, he has to apply to--and be accepted by--a college, then talk to them about deferring admission for a year. I was under the impression that he could apply for college during his gap year. Which is correct?

Your son can certainly wait until his gap year to apply to colleges. However, this might be a little tricky if he plans to be far away from home or in any sort of situation where he won't have regular access to the Internet and e-mail. (Yes, it's still possible to go through the process without technology, but it sure isn't easy!) Also, before your son graduates, he might want to consider soliciting references from his teachers and guidance counselor, but that isn't an imperative either, as long as he'll be in a position to stay in touch with them during his year off.

So, don't worry, it looks like you got some bad info from the grapevine this time. Not only can your son wait until his gap year to make his college choices and complete his applications, but also this may be a sound approach because his gap-year experiences could significantly affect what he wants to do and where he wants to be. Waiting those extra months to apply to colleges should also add a bit of sanity to his senior year.