5 answers

Is it better to take a year off or go straight into college after graduating high school?

Asked Denver, Colorado

5 answers

Lorie’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

This is a question that can only be answered by you. It’s different for different people and there are positives and negative’s to both. If you need time to figure out what you really want to do then take the year off if you know what you want to do when you’re ready to get your nose to the grind and you don’t want to stop any “academic momentum” do you have going on from being in high school then by all means go into college but that’s a question that nobody can answer for you but you because at the end of the day everyone is different and nobody’s experiences the same.

Christine’s Answer


Hi Anaka,

Carolyn Klineman presented a very good resource for you if you decide to take a year off prior to applying to college or a university and are interested in study abroad. This is a wonderful way to get firsthand experience if you are hoping to major in something which this study would benefit you. If on the other hand, you are not sure what you want to do with this year off, here is a good website which gives you a couple of alternatives:


Here are a couple of direct quotes from this website which may peak your interest:

"<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">There are many reasons to do so, including letting off steam, maturing, pursuing particular interests, and so on. There are two main ways to approach this."</span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">I am going to just hit the highlights of their 2 approaches to taking a "gap" year:</span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">(1) through a deferral year. In this instance, you would apply to college as if you are heading there after high school...………..the article goes into a thorough description of what this entails and how it works</span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">(2) "The second approach is to plan on a gap year" again, there is a detailed explanation of what they mean by this.</span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">Anaka, going to college is an individual decision, many things need to be considered, such as finances, you just need a break from studying and want to earn some money, you are thinking about taking some courses which may help you have a greater chance of being accepted to a college or university of your choice or, you may want to study abroad and see what the world is about. Whatever you decide, try to make sure in advance you know what you will need to do when you are ready for a college education. </span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">I think the best short answer to your question is follow your gut, do your due diligence as far as any repercussions that may arise and ask questions of the college or university for which you want to apply,</span>

<span style="color: rgb(117, 129, 137); background-color: transparent;">All the luck in the world to you Anaka, I hope everything works out how you are hoping they will. </span>

Kortnee’s Answer

Updated Pomona, California

Hi, Anaka Y.!

Consider applying for colleges/universities you are interested in attending, and you can always "defer" your admission. For example, you can apply to attend your college/university of for the fall 2019 semester and should you gain admission, you may defer your admission. In other words, you can push back your admission for the fall 2020 instead of accepting admission for fall 2019. Deferring your admission will allow you take a year off (if necessary).

Best of with your academic, future, and personal endeavors!


Kortnee B.

Kortnee recommends the following next steps:

  • Check into the universities/colleges of your choice to see whether you can defer your admission prior to submitting your applications for admissions (this way you can take a year off).
  • Follow this link on more information from the Princeton Review regarding taking a gap year and deferring admission: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/deferred-admissionhttps://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/deferred-admission

Giovanna’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Hi Anaka, I think it is a good question to be considering and you received well-rounded responses so far.

The only thing I’d like to add is this: whether you take a year off or go straight to college - there is no wrong answer. Both choices have great options and opportunity! Both choices give experience and knowledge! Both choices can lead you down the path that you are ultimately dreaming for your future. There is power in both choices.

The question is: What is right for you? What makes the most sense for your current life state? What do you want to do now? What is best for you?

As you consider both sides and discern your choice, just remember nothing is wrong if you’re choosing the best next step for you.

Best of luck!


Carolyn’s Answer

Updated Fairfax, Virginia

I think it depends on what you do with the year and why you want the gap year. I do not think college applications will look down on it but am not in admissions to speak anecdotally. If taking a year off will add value to your application, essay and overall experience that you will bring to a university as a student then it may be worth it.

Carolyn recommends the following next steps:

  • Explore gap year services such as https://www.goabroad.com/articles/gap-year/best-gap-year-programs