Gap years and other deferral experiences
It has become increasingly popular to take a year between high school and college to refresh, reset, or redirect yourself in a positive way before transitioning into university study. A gap year might include travel, an internship, volunteering or working within your community or elsewhere, engaging in specialized training, or conducting research. It is important not to approach it as time off, but as time on. You should come out of your gap experience with stories to share and ways to articulate what it has meant to you.
Chances are if you’re reading this page you might already know about gap year programs, and have some advice and options from your school, from family, or from friends. Still, we encourage you to make use of these helpful links that talk about how to plan well, and to make sure you choose a reputable program. Not all schools will allow you to defer your admission while you do a gap program and will instead tell you that you will have to apply for that later term. A growing number of schools, including Oregon, will allow you to be admitted at the usual time as you complete high school and hold your space for you while you pursue your gap experience.
How do I defer UO admission for a gap year?
As you look for possible gap programs, note that a gap experience is looked at differently from starting college elsewhere. If you are enrolled full-time at another college during the gap, or earn many college credits otherwise, even if on a part-time basis, you will no longer be considered a gap-approved student, but a transfer applicant (even if your high school grades are still in consideration). Exceptions might be made to this restriction, but only on a case-by-case basis.
As you become a senior, it is important that you apply to Oregon in the usual way, by the standard deadlines. Once you are an admitted senior, you can tell us you want the chance to do a gap year experience. You will need to take the following steps:
- Review our policies and requirements on this page, and contact our office if you have questions regarding your deferral.
- Submit your Intent to Register (ITR) and deposit by May 1, or whatever alternate date you were given as a deadline.
- Prepare a statement about your plans for the gap experience and what you hope to gain from them; then, send this statement, and a signed copy of the deferral agreement to the Office of Admissions. Don’t forget to make a copy for your records!
- If admitted to the Clark Honors College, contact CHC Admissions and email a copy of the request form and your prepared statement to email@example.com.
- We will notify you as soon as possible whether we can grant your deferral of admission, and scholarship if applicable. Details will be provided in your approval, but it will typically be a condition of keeping your admission and scholarship if we see you maintain at least the GPA you had at the time of admission. CHC deferrals will be granted separately.
- Throughout the following year, we will periodically remind you of coming deadlines, and ask you to keep us apprised of your activities and preferred contact information. We’ll keep in touch with you and/or your family during your year off so you don’t miss any information for incoming students. While it is a formality, we will require you to submit a new application and fee for the term to which you have deferred; this helps with our recordkeeping, and also is the way you will formally confirm that your plans have not changed.
- If you have applied for financial aid, you can submit a new FAFSA any time after October 1 and before our FAFSA priority deadline (March 1) of the year you will enroll. To confirm your finalized plan, be sure to pay or defer your deposit, apply for housing, and register for IntroDUCKtion with your new incoming class, regardless of whether you might have done some of these things the previous year.
A student deferring their enrollment to the next academic year generally remains eligible for merit-based scholarships, with these important details to consider:
- Apex and Summit Award winners will still receive these awards the following year provided their final high school transcript still shows them meeting the minimum GPA requirement.
- Students who received other scholarships with a competitive process (such as Stamps, Presidential, or the DES award) should contact the appropriate office to determine what is possible for the deferred start—these scholarships may or may not be re-awarded.
If you have questions about a deferral request you have submitted, please contact Emily Wright at 657-900-7793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.