The Ivy Coach Daily

December 6, 2023

Should You Take a Gap Year After Being Deferred?

The Class of 1929 bronze gate is featured at Columbia University.

After receiving word of a deferral, some forlorn students who still wish to earn admission to the school that kicked the can down the road on their decision begin to consider their options. Among these deferred students, in our experience at Ivy Coach, there are three types.

The Three Types of Deferred Applicants

1. Deferred Applicants Who Remain Fixated on their Early School

The first type of deferred student remains fixated on earning admission to their Early school. The student will — correctly, we might add — begin preparing a Letter of Continued Interest to the college that deferred their admission to give themselves the best chance of earning admission to their dream school in the Regular Decision round.

But what sets these students apart is they remain fixated on earning admission to their Early school at the expense of focusing on the mistakes made on their Early application that they can still correct for their other Regular Decision schools. And if you’re wondering which school, in our experience, most students in this first category of deferred applicants applied to in the Early round? That would be Harvard University.

2. Deferred Applicants Who Pragmatically Focus on All Their Schools

The second type of deferred student, naturally, still wishes to be admitted to their Early school. The student will — correctly — begin preparing a Letter of Continued Interest to the college that deferred their admission to give themselves the best chance of earning admission to their dream school in the Regular Decision round.

But what sets these students apart is that after submitting their Letter of Continued Interest soon after their deferral, they shift their attention to their Regular Decision schools. Over the two weeks before RD applications will be due in the New Year, these pragmatic students begin correcting many of the mistakes they made in the Early round so they avoid similar results in the Regular round.

3. Deferred Applicants Who Wish to Pursue Gap Years

The third type of deferred student has long bewildered us. This student will remain so dead set on earning admission to the school that deferred their admission that they will all but give up and wish to reapply next year after taking a gap year. If it makes little sense to you, we’re with you!

First, why would this student all but give up on their chances of earning admission this year? Deferred students — particularly students who come to Ivy Coach for assistance after their deferral — still very much have a chance of earning admission to their dream school in Regular Decision, not to mention the fact that they can get into some other top schools in just a few short months as well. So why on earth would they consider taking a gap year? Do they really believe taking a gap year will improve their odds of admission? If so, they’ve been sniffing too much paint.

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Pursue a Gap Year After a Deferral

Below are five reasons why taking a gap year after a deferral makes zero sense:

  1. If you play your cards right, you’ve still got a shot of earning admission this year. Brag in your Letter of Continued Interest or update the school on all you’ve been doing in the six weeks or so since you first applied, and you’ll have spoiled your chances. But if you submit a compelling Letter of Continued Interest to your dream school, you just might be surprised that you’re very much still in the running.
  2. You still have a fresh dance card of Regular Decision schools, to which you should be applying in about two weeks’ time. The race hasn’t even started yet, and you’re already giving up after all of your hard work throughout high school?
  3. Taking a gap year should be a last resort, as admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities are often scared away by students who take gap years. These students, after all, are a year removed from their high school curriculums. No matter how a student spends a gap year — whether it’s pursuing an impressive internship or reading books on the beach — it’s still highly likely to give pause to admissions officers.
  4. Gap years, by nature, often reek of privilege. Not every student can take off after high school and travel the world or pursue fancy internships. When the game in highly selective college admissions should be to make yourself likable to admissions officers, taking a gap year can be self-defeatist.
  5. It’s not like your chances will be better the following year. In fact, your chances will be worse. Besides, admissions officers can still review your previous application if they so wish. Just about every college supplement features a question asking if a student has previously applied to the institution.

The Final Verdict on Taking a Gap Year After a Deferral

Suppose you’re still considering taking a gap year post-deferral after reading why pursuing such a plan defies all logic. In that case, we encourage you to find the nearest body of water, strip off your clothes, and go for an icy winter swim to clear your head. Or perhaps you should go skydiving. But no matter how you attempt to clear your head, we encourage you to change your thinking — quickly.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance for Deferred Applicants

If you’re interested in optimizing your chances of admission to the school that deferred your admission, fill out Ivy Coach‘s complimentary consultation form, indicate your deferral, and we’ll be in touch to outline our college counseling services for deferred candidates. And if you need someone to tell you that you’re nuts for considering taking a gap year after receiving a deferral, we’ll say as much in unequivocal terms.

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