[Updated January 2023]

Why defer college for a gap year?

There are many reasons to defer college to take a gap year. Students who decide to take a gap year may do so because they want to explore their interests before settling on a major in college, take some time to recover from burnout, take advantage of a time to learn about themselves, gain hands-on experience, or have an adventure! If you are considering a gap year and want to understand the college deferral process, check out the tips below.


Reach out to your university

Each year, gap years gain popularity in the United States. Already commonplace in other parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic caused interest in gap years to surge. Many universities have updated their deferral policies in response to the pandemic. Research your university’s policies or contact the admissions office to fully understand the guidelines. To start, the Gap Year Association has a directory of university deferral policies here.


Come up with a plan

Many colleges and universities require a plan for your gap year before approving a deferral. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about how you want to spend your gap year. There are plenty of options, even during the coronavirus pandemic!

You don’t need to have a plan for every hour of every day of your gap year. In fact, the Gap Year Association recommends building in free time for space to explore the unknown. But creating an outline for how you plan to spend your gap year will help you make the most of the year ahead.

Not sure where to start? Learn more about how to choose the right gap year program for you.

“Being in a virtual community is never like being face to face with someone, but since we turn on our cameras and have a lot of activities in which we get to have conversations with the people around, you still feel that warmth and get that feeling of belonging. It has been a kind and respectful sharing space.”

-Valentina, AMIGOS Community Impact Project participant from Colombia


Write a deferral letter

Typically, you will need to write a letter to your university as part of your request to defer admission. This letter should include your gap year plan as well as your motivation for taking a gap year.

The Gap Year Association shared helpful advice for writing your deferral letter here.


“What I am learning in this program will serve me for the rest of my life. Gaining the insight and skills to be a contributing member of society, develop projects to help those around me, and to grow in leadership will support me in helping others and making a change wherever I go in life.”

-Noura, AMIGOS Community Impact Project participant from California

Stay flexible

This year has been challenging for those who like to plan ahead, but one of the greatest skills you’ll gain during a gap year is adaptability! While not everyone may be ready to return to normal, many gap year organizations have innovated to provide domestic options or pod-based programming.

We are thrilled to offer our traditional homestay programs in Ecuador.


Interested in AMIGOS Gap Programs?

Explore Gap Programs!