Gap Year

Our son has been admitted to several colleges; however, he wants to work and wait a year and earn money for college expenses before entering college. Is this a good idea? We're afraid that he'll decide to keep working and never go to college. -- Decision Time

Answer: A little over 1 percent of first-time college students choose to take a gap year before going to college. Studies show that most students who take a gap year will enroll in college after that year or even two years, especially if they have a solid reason such as working for college expenses, traveling abroad or participating in volunteer programs.

The gap year can help students regain an interest in education, grow up faster and may help them get better grades than those who do not take a gap year.

Since your son has been admitted to several colleges, he needs to find out if each school will allow him to defer his admission for a year or even two. Colleges, especially selective ones, are now supporting students deferring their enrollment in college for a gap year. Your son needs to be aware that some schools may not approve his deferred admission request, as their policy might not consider his reason appropriate. If none of the colleges he wishes to attend will let him take a gap year, he can reapply later on or apply to different colleges. After a gap year, students may find their interests have changed and wish to apply to different colleges. ** *