A gap year can be a great thing -- allowing you time to learn about yourself, explore, give back, and gain experiences. You can also consider applying to a college and requesting a "deferment" for a year once you get in -- that way they'll "hold your spot." A gap year can be especially rewarding if you use the time volunteering in a service role, like the Peace Corps (peacecorpsconnect.org) or the Service Year Alliance (https://serviceyear.org/).
Too often I have seen students take a gap year and then not be able to get back to school for one reason or another. If a person is focused on a career/education journey (as I will show you how to become so focused) pursuit of that career should be of the most importance.
Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
Ken recommends the following next steps:
I took a gap year between my first and second years of college. I was not really motivated to work hard in college, and it showed in my grades. So I talked with my counselor at the university, and took a year off. It was the best thing I could have done. When I came back I was ready to put in the work to do well in school.
As Barbara said earlier, it is also important to establish your spot in your university of choice. If possible, don't put that off. Work with the school to see what options you have to take time off before digging in.