by Mary Sue Youn, former admissions officer at Barnard College
As we talk to families, a version of the same question keeps popping up over and over again:
“What will the impact be on the class of 2021 if a high number of the class of 2020 takes a gap year?”
A “gap year” involves delaying enrollment at a college for one year, oftentimes for travel, volunteer, or employment experiences. Students must ask their enrolling college for permission to use this option, and generally students are not permitted to take courses at another college during their gap year. Annually, about 3% of American college students opt for a gap year, but recent articles have touted that the number of gap years will skyrocket in the age of coronavirus. If 30% of the incoming class didn’t enroll this fall and held off until next year, it would certainly mean that colleges would have 30% less spots for next year’s applicants, right?