Gap Year

Gap years and other deferral experiences

This process is only meant for incoming freshman students (first time in college) originally admitted to start in the fall. Students can request to defer their admission for up to one year. Any period longer than one year will require a student to reapply for admission with the new applicant pool.

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.

Planning ahead

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.

Want some great, general advice on planning a Gap Year? Check out this great article from NACAC, and also learn more about the Gap Year Association.

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 deferral, or earn any college credits otherwise, even if on a part-time basis, you will no longer be considered a gap-approved student, but a transfer applicant instead (even if your high school grades are still in consideration).

Please note that deferrals are only extended to students we are confident we would admit again; deferrals are not intended for students who have yet to show a solid readiness to be successful at Oregon. If you do not meet our freshman requirements, were admitted from our waitlist, or have seen a drop in grade point average later in high school, you are not likely to be eligible for our gap program. That does not mean that you would not be admitted to the university if you were to reapply in the future, but the gap program may not be right for you.

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. In order to defer your admission and merit-based scholarship, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Review our policies and requirements on this page, and contact our office if you have questions regarding your deferral.
  2. Submit your Intent to Register (ITR) and deposit by May 1, 2021.
  3. Prepare a statement about your plans for the gap experience and what you hope to gain from them. Submit your deferral agreement and proposal of plans via our online form no later than May 31. Don’t forget to make a copy of the deferral agreement for your records!
  4. If admitted to the Clark Honors College (CHC) or Business Direct Entry, the request for deferral into the program must be approved by admissions when the gap year agreement and proposal are submitted. The honors college supplement must be resubmitted with the new application for the following year.
  5. If admitted to an architecture or music program, you will need to reach out to them, decline your spot in next year’s incoming class, and reapply to the program the following year. A general UO deferment does not guarantee your spot in the program.
  6. We will notify you as soon as possible whether you have received a 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 that we see you maintain at least the GPA you had at the time of admission. CHC deferrals will be granted separately.
  7. 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 by the deadline 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.
  8. In order to apply for financial aid for the next academic year, be sure to submit a new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or ORSAA (Oregon Student Aid Application) any time after October 1 and before our priority deadline (March 1) of the year you will enroll.
  9. 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, Summit, and UO Excellence 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 Diversity Excellence Scholarship award) should contact the appropriate office to determine what is possible for the deferred start—these scholarships may be re-awarded, but must be reviewed case-by-case.
  • PathwayOregon is based on federal Pell Grant eligibility and is reassessed each year, based on your FAFSA.


If you have questions about a deferral request you have submitted, please contact Emily Carmichael at 541-346-1207 or