Now that you've graduated from high school, it's time to go to college, right?

Taking pictures in a canoe

Not necessarily. If you want to spend time traveling the world, finishing an internship, or working to save money for school, you can defer your enrollment. Talk to your college counselor, talk to your college, and see if they'll let you start a semester or year later than you had originally planned. Just make sure you leave your options open!

To defer or not to defer college admission?

If you're still in high school, you don't have to decide about deferred admission right now. Just focus on applying —and getting accepted—at the college you'd like to attend. Then, if you do want to take some time for yourself after graduating, you'll already have a spot saved for you at your school of choice.

Play by their rules.

Find out what your college needs from you in order to consider your deferment request. Most schools require a formal letter including a description of what you plan to do with your time away from school, and, occasionally, a deposit to save your spot. And as with most college-related activities, there will be a deadline. Find out what it is before you try to delay your enrollment.

Getting back to school.

Be mindful of what you need to enroll after your deferment period is over. Your college may ask you to register for classes in advance or sign up for first-year orientation programs. You may need to reapply for housing or fill out more paperwork. Just double check so that when you do arrive on campus, you'll be ready to hit the books.

What about financial aid?

Even if you’ve already applied for financial aid your senior year, you will need to re-apply by completing the FAFSA before you return to school. Be sure to ask your college about its financial aid policies for deferred admission students.

Use your time wisely.

The gap year can be a a great way to consider your academic and career goals and clarify what you want out of your college experience. You could spend your time starting your own business, backpacking through Asia, or volunteering your skills for a cause or organization you believe in. Just don’t think of deferred admission as “time off.”

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