Not in School?
Not in school right now or debating on taking a gap year? Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision on applying to college.
Consider the Pro's and Con's of Taking a Gap Year
Taking a gap year isn't a bad thing, but what is important is what you do during that time. Some Pros would be saving money, getting a break from school. Also having a productive gap year can look good on a resume. Some Cons to consider are the possibility of getting distracted over your gap year and having it turn into two or three years. It can also be harder to get back into the groove of studying when it is time to go back to school. Whatever you choose, try weighing out your options to see what is best for you.
Research the Program You are Interested In
If you are interested in a specific area or program, begin doing your research on that program, looking for requirements, faculty, and staff you can talk to and get more information. Visit the Choosing the Right College page for insight into the things you should be looking for.
Study for Standardized Tests
If you decide not to take any Standardized Tests before you graduate (which is not recommended), then you will have to start studying for the SAT/ACT. If you can, try taking these standardized tests before or right after you graduate while you are still in the swing of things in terms of knowledge and studying.
Get Recommendation Letters Before you Graduate
Trying to track down your teachers from high school can be difficult. If you wait until after you graduate, the letter they write for you may not be as powerful as it could be if you had asked while you were still in school. Try asking for the recommendation letter while you are still in school, so when it's time to apply it will still have the same vitality.
Highlight Your Gap Year
Do not sit around during your gap year do something productive!
Here is a list of things you could do:
- Work Experience
- Volunteer with an organization
- Part-time courses at Community College
- Internship or Job Shadowing careers you are interested in
Consider a Community College Pipeline Program
There are many community college pipeline programs in different states. How it works is you will take your first year or two at a community college and transfer into the 4-year university that is partnered with your program. Some programs let you transfer with automatic acceptance, meaning you don't have to apply, others you may need to still apply. Every program is different and has specific requirements, so begin with contacting the college of your choice to get more information on your options.
Contact Admissions Office
Every college is different, meaning they may have different requirements for you when it comes to applying to college. For example, if you apply and get accepted, but may not feel ready yet you can request to be deferred to next year. This will not grantee that they will accept your request but it does not hurt to ask. If you are applying after a gap year, contact them to see if there any specific instructions you must follow. Ask them their perspective on gap year students to gauge whether that may be something you want to do.