Is Taking a Year off Before College Bad?

Is Taking a Year off Before College Bad?


Many students feel like taking a break from studies after high school ends and taking a break a year before college is a good idea. High school is very stressful, and students feel they deserve a long break after so many years of grinding and stressing over their studies.

Is Taking a Year off Before College Bad? 

The answer to the question is very tricky since it includes a student’s interest in future studies, the field they want to major in, whether or not they are capable of getting into their preferred college, and most of all, the potential of the students and their mental health. Many students feel taking a break would leave them behind their classmates and feel left behind, while some believe they need this break to focus on themselves and decide what they want to do in the future. Taking a year off can prove helpful in studying for entrance exams which would generally be very difficult since students would have no time for them due to continuous high school pressure. According to studies, it has been shown that students who took a year off have gotten higher scores than those who didn’t and gotten into colleges of their choice. There have also been cases where students have directly gone to college and still achieved the same results, but those have been rare.

Steps to take a year off:

  • Planning to still apply to colleges
  • Ask your preferred colleges about their policy on taking a year off
  • Applying in
  • Requesting a deferral
  • Actively research
  • Ask lots of questions to other peers and counselors
  • Prepare for your preferred program

Taking A Year Off Can Prove Useful:

Taking a year off can mentally and academically help the students a lot, not just that it helps the students to be more grounded and focused on what they want to pursue in their life. It also gives a head start compared to other students getting to college the following year. It has also helped low-income families who have to take student loans to get into colleges; they can work and pay off their debt faster. According to various opinions from different students, many favored waiting to go to college, which would later prove beneficial to the students who plan on taking a year off.

Being left behind among their peers:

Many students feel that if they take a year off, they might be left behind and won’t be able to catch up with their peers. Due to this, they don’t want to wait and directly apply for colleges. In such circumstances, they don’t get into their preferred college or don’t get their choice of significant, which will lead to students taking a drop in the later years or spiraling down into depression and stress, which isn’t worth it.

Taking a year off isn’t always the best option:

There have been times when students have taken a year off, and it hasn’t been the best decision. This happens for numerous reasons. First, students don’t take the year off seriously and enjoy it instead of focusing on what’s important. Sometimes they focus on the part-time jobs they have and would like to continue into it more, which leads them to get into average colleges or colleges which they would get even if they hadn’t taken a year off.

What taking a year off college can do for you?

  • It can shed light on new pathways for you:

Ever since students get into high school, they are taught to focus on studies that narrow their vision. Many students who want to pursue engineering go for it since they don’t know how many more options are there for them. Taking a year off will help them know about these paths more. Give you time to acquire more real-life experience, and you will get more time to figure out what you want.

  • It allows you to acquire real-life experience: 

Even if the students are sure about the major, they want to pursue, taking a year off can help them gain practical lessons which they won’t be able to acquire in normal circumstances.


Taking a year off heavily depends on the students themselves. It depends on how focused they are and how they utilize their time off. It can be a boon or a curse. It’s always to be better prepared beforehand.

Frequently asked questions-
  1. Do students still get financial aid and scholarships for college after taking a year off?

Students who have cleared the financial criteria but have taken a year off for college will have to re-apply the following year by filling out the Application for Federal Student Aid. If the student’s financial situation hasn’t changed or gotten better, this aid will be continued.

  1. What do college admissions officials think of gap years?

Colleges have been more acceptable for students who have taken a year off in the past several years. Some colleges have been very encouraging, so the applied students take a drop or a year off. For more than 30 years, Harvard’s acceptance letters have suggested that students take a year off before enrolling. After taking a year off, those who come to college are more experienced, have real-life practical knowledge, and are overall fit to be back in college. The feedback from students almost all the time has been that this experience was something everyone needed. The more you bring into your college life, the better off students are during the rest of their years.