Gap Year Students Tend to Be Wealthy

Yes, gap year students tend to be wealthy (photo credit: Namkota).

A parent recently asked us, “Because so many students admitted to the Class of 2024 opted for gap years and because students who tend to take gap years are wealthy, will elite universities compensate this year by admitting more low-income students and fewer privileged applicants?” The answer is an unequivocal yes. Admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities weren’t born yesterday. They know that, as a rule of thumb, students who can forego their schooling by a year during the height of the pandemic to finish Netflix or do who knows what tend to come from privileged backgrounds. Even the international students who couldn’t join the Class of 2024 due to the pandemic, well, think about it: if a family is sending their child to a foreign country for their undergraduate education, unless they’re receiving financial aid which is chiefly reserved for domestic applicants, you can bet their purse strings aren’t too tight.

We Anticipate Colleges Will Compensate by Admitting More Low-Income Students This Year

So because such a large chunk of the Class of 2025 at these universities — up to around 20% at certain Ivy League institutions — was already filled with gap year students before applicants even submitted their Early applications in November, it’s only natural that these schools are going to want to compensate to balance the class. After all, our nation’s elite universities covet low-income students. They covet admitting students from disadvantaged backgrounds — as they should. And, rumor has it, applications from low-income students are up this fall, which is not particularly surprising since word got out that in this uncertain year it’s an even bigger advantage to apply Early. In short, the math tells the story. By the time Regular Decision rolls around, such a huge chunk of each incoming class at these universities is going to be filled with gap year students and Early admits.

But Privileged Parents and Students Shouldn’t Worry Since There’s Nothing They Can Do

And what should upper-crust parents and students do with this information? Well, current seniors should have applied Early. Applying Early to the right school — to a reach school but not an impossible reach — is always the most important first move in highly selective college admissions. But if they didn’t do that and they’re instead relying on earning admission in the Regular Decision round, well, know that there’s nothing for you to do with this information other than submit the most outstanding applications possible. Worrying about it won’t help. We’re just reporting the facts. We believe that by reporting the facts about highly selective college admissions, by demystifying the process, we can make the whole process less stressful for all — even if the facts don’t necessarily benefit your interests.

 
 

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1 Comment

  • Erica Guzman says:

    I would never think to contact my daughters college admissions counselors. But, one emailed me! They said “ I know how hard you and (my daughter) worked hard to distill her high school experiences into her college application. Now it is our turn to begin the review process and get to know (daughter) better.

    It is my priority to keep you in the loop the entire application process.

    Ok, to me, it sounded like he was implying that I had anything to do with my daughter’s credentials needed for the application, essays, questions, etc. I never EVER had to help my daughter with anything! Seriously! She is so independent. I am so unsure of what to make of this email. Is this school a bit “cult like”?
    Any input would be so very helpful. I will not disclose which college I am talking about.

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