Enrollment Deferral Policy

What is a Gap Year Experience?

 
From the National Association of College Admissions Counseling:
 
Maybe you're tired of the academic grind. Maybe you're not sure why you're going to college or what you'll do when you get there. Maybe you yearn to explore far-away places or dig deeper into a career that interests you. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is the time to consider taking a gap year between high school and college.
 
"Taking time off before college gives you the gift of time to learn about two essential things: yourself and the world around you." Of course, if your time off consists of nothing but watching soap operas and eating potato chips, all you'll have at the end is a wasted year. But with research and planning, you can design a semester or year that is both a great learning experience and a lot of fun.
 
Cornell University broadly supports the notion of a gap year experience for students between high school and college. Successful gap year experiences start with a well-developed plan and include personal goals. We encourage students considering Cornell for their undergraduate education to apply and gain admission before requesting an enrollment deferral to participate in a gap year experience. We will ask students to submit their request in writing and will quite often want to discuss gap year plans before granting a request.
 

How do I Request a Deferred Enrollment?

Cornell University will consider enrollment deferral requests for the following reasons:

  • Military Service
  • Religious
  • International students in the process of gaining a green card (one year only)
  • Research, Work, and Internship Opportunities related to educational goals
  • Athletic Development (Recruited Athletes)

 

Cornell University rarely approves enrollment deferral requests for:

  • Financial reasons (e.g. international students denied aid; students wishing to work a year in order to pay for college) 
  • Educational reasons (studying elsewhere regardless of whether or not the program includes college credit)
  • Deferral plans that are not well-developed

 

Cornell University supports requests to defer enrollment for one or two years. Recent examples of admitted students successfully deferring enrollment include military service, religious study and travel, cultural experiences in the United States or abroad, and research and internship experiences related to educational goals.
 
Cornell University rarely grants enrollment deferrals for financial reasons. We recommend contacting the Undergraduate Admissions Office to discuss your reasons before submitting a formal request.
 
Students admitted from the waiting list for fall semester enrollment are expected to enroll for the fall semester. Cornell will not honor requests from students admitted from the waiting list to defer enrollment to the following fall. 
 
Admitted students wishing to defer enrollment for one or two years should submit a request in writing to the Cornell undergraduate college or school to which they have been admitted. The college or school may wish to discuss the request and the possibility of fulfilling enrollment deferral goals through a Cornell program.
 
Admitted students who are granted a deferral must submit a $400 enrollment deposit to reserve a place in the class ($800 for two years). 
 
Request for students admitted under the Early Decision program must submit requests by March 1. Students admitted under the Regular Decision program must submit requests by June 1.