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Old 2018-06-15, 21:55   #26
The Carnivore
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Jun 2010

2·127 Posts

Originally Posted by jvang View Post
Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests?
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
The goal for a gap year is for it to be as non-detrimental as possible for your academics. If everything lines up perfectly it won't hurt you. I'm not recommending against it, mind you -- if there's something you want to do, do it, but don't do it with the idea that you will be better off for it academically. (Depending on what you do it might make you a better person or a better job prospect etc.)

Of course sometimes having a gap year isn't a choice -- you miss deadlines or get rejected. It's definitely not the end of the world, you have plenty of time to make the next cycle, whether you decide to enter next semester (sometimes possible to transfer in if you have community college credit) or next year.

If the extra year lets you retake classes you failed and you can get good grades this time around that would, I think, be very meaningful and relevant to admissions, certainly more than extracurriculars. ("Sure, I failed English, Economics, and Geography in my senior year, but I had xyz going on. I took a gap year where I did abc and also took those three classes at my local community college, getting an A, a B, and an A+. So you can see that not only can I handle the subjects but I have dedication and...")
This is probably different than your situation, but I got a decent job not long after starting my M.S. in Engineering. I took a gap year to take the job, with the intention of finishing up my masters later on.

Well, guess what. That was 5 years ago, and although I have a different job now, I never went back to college. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if most people who take gap years never return.

On another note, my only other advice would be to figure out a way to graduate during an economic boom. People with OK grades who graduated from a relatively unknown state college during a boom are often better off than those with good grades who graduated from an Ivy League college during a severe recession.
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