Instead of heading to college this fall, some recently graduated seniors will take a gap year. Why? Some students simply need more than just a short summer vacation to recharge before heading off to college. Others choose to take a gap year because they have a strong non-academic interest, or want to delve deeply into a specific academic interest without the distractions of multiple courses, college clubs, and dorm life.
Either way, taking a gap year is a perfectly acceptable decision, so long as the time is used productively. The goal is to begin college the following year refreshed and with greater wisdom and maturity.
There are many paths you could take during a gap year. You can pursue intensive service work with organizations like AmeriCorps and City Year, or seek out a year-long internship or job in an area of interest. You may want to talk to your parents about living abroad and teaching English. Or perhaps you just want to focus on honing your athletic, artistic, musical, or theatrical talents for a year?
If you have already submitted an enrollment deposit, many colleges will be accommodating and allow you to defer your enrollment, so long as you can show them you have a solid plan. You can also decline your offers of admission, and reapply next year. Just make sure to really think it through and talk it over with your parents before making a final decision.