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Is a Gap Year Before College Right for Your Homeschooler?

By Charles Royce Subscribe to RSS | June 19th 2012 | Views:

Taking a gap year is becoming more and more common among high schoolers. Some colleges, notably Harvard and Princeton, even favor it. Taking a gap year between senior year and starting at a university can help a student become more mature, and many colleges are hoping that students will function better as a result when the arrive on campus. Usually when your student takes a gap year, they will still be considered a freshman for college admissions purposes. It is critical to make sure that they don’t take any college courses of any kind during the gap year, because if they do, even a one-credit P.E. course at community college, that can negate their status as a freshman and turn them into a transfer student, and they wouldn’t be eligible for freshman scholarships.

Some colleges will actually defer enrollment when you apply with the intention of taking a gap year. You become accepted into the college the usual way; but are allowed to wait for a year before attending. Again, they don’t want you to take one single, solitary college credit before you start as a freshman! You can also apply after your gap year, but often colleges will consider you a transfer student rather than a freshman student. College policies vary widely; so look into the college that your child wants to go to. Some will be very easy-going and happy to have you no matter what, and others will be so persnickety you won’t even know how to please them.

Of course, during a gap year your child needs to actually do something. Sometimes that means community service, missionary work, or Youth With a Mission. Other times it might be a meaningful work experience. I know a parent whose son was working in China during his gap year. He had learned about the earthquake that happened a while ago, and decided he wanted to be active in rebuilding and helping people recover. He got so engrossed in the culture that he actually started to translate the Chinese dialect while he was working. He started to develop a way to write down that language. Your student doesn’t have to do something huge or dramatic during their gap year, but it’s important that they find some meaningful work to engage them, and help foster that maturing process. Gap year is not a time to become a couch potato; it’s an opportunity to grow and develop and prepare for the next thing in life! It might just be a great thing for your homeschool graduate.

Charles Royce - About Author:
The Homescholar provides helpful information for the parents concerning homeschooling education. To know more you can visit

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