Deferring Your Freshman Year at Top Colleges

Life comes at you fast; sometimes, you must take a break before entering a significant life-changing event. One option schools offer is asking for deferment after you have been admitted. Usually, when you think of a deferral, the college is delaying its decision on your acceptance. However, most colleges allow students to take a gap year before college.

I was surprised to see how many schools were willing to allow students to defer their enrollment. It seems beneficial to both sides as the schools with a high number of applicants can let students off the waitlist, and then they also know they have spots filled for the following year.

Each school has its own policies, and most require you to fill out paperwork and have it approved. So before you commit to your college of choice, make sure you know what exactly is and isn’t an acceptable reason for deferring your enrollment.

Top English-Speaking Schools That Generally Do Not Allow Deferment

  • University of Oxford (4)
    • "The University does not normally accept requests for deferral of entry to a later term/year. You will normally be expected to start your course on the date and term indicated in your departmental offer."
  • University of California – Berkeley (15)
    • "The Office of Undergraduate Admission rarely approves requests to defer admission to a future term or academic year. However, students who would like to request a deferral of enrollment may submit the Request for Deferment form."
  • University of California – Los Angeles (22)
    • "Students who are admitted to UCLA are not usually permitted to defer their enrollment to a later term. However, if you’ve been accepted but have been called to active military duty, you will be allowed to defer your admission."
  • University of California – San Diego (30)
    • "UC San Diego admits only for the Fall term to which the student applied. Students who would like to enroll at a later date must reapply when they are ready to attend. Rare exceptions may be made for admitted students who have received military orders to report for active duty or if you require acute medical care for up to a maximum of one year only."
  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (36)
    • "You may only start your studies in the year in which you have been admitted. If you want to defer your admission to the following year, you will need to reapply."
  • University of California – Santa Barbara (84)
    • "Requests to defer are considered on a case by case basis. If granted a deferral, UCSB typically only defers admission for one quarter. Students who desire a full year deferral ("gap year") must reapply for admission for the term in which they wish to attend."
  • University of Florida (103)
    • I could not find anything specifically confirming or denying. Here is a Reddit post with comments suggesting you have to reapply.
  • Texas A&M University (142)
    • There was nothing specifically saying that undergraduates could or could not defer. Graduate school students cannot defer.
  • University of California – Irvine (144)
    • "In general, UCI does not defer undergraduate offers of admission. An offer of admission applies only to the specific term for which the applicant has applied. An offer of admission is not transferable to another academic term."

Some of these schools may make military exceptions or allow a brief postponement. But, in general, you should not plan on taking a gap year before joining these institutions.

Schools With Minimal Information

These schools accept deferral requests, but you should tread carefully before enrolling.


Remember, you are not guaranteed a gap year when you commit to a university. You need to have a sound reason for deferring enrollment and be ready to attend the university if your gap year is denied or to reapply to schools the following year.

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