taking a year off

Trina Roberts troberts at husc7.harvard.edu
Fri Jan 3 13:34:54 EST 1997

A query...
When taking a year "off" between undergraduate and graduate study, is it
better to apply and defer, or not apply at all, or apply and then ask to
reactivate the application a year later, or something else?

I'm a college senior this year and, while graduate school (probably in
evolution and ecology) is in the future, I don't think I want to go
straight back to school this fall.  Perhaps it would be different from
undergraduate life, but right now I can't face more years of not sleeping
and not eating and not having any time when mountains of work don't loom
over me.  Anyway, I have gotten wildly different responses to this from my
academic advisor, the Office of Career Services, friends who are applying
to grad schools, and parents (who are in academics, but not in the

On the one hand, it might be easier to apply now, when I am in contact
with the faculty that I need recommendations from, when it's easier to get
transcripts, when I can ask people for advice and help.  On the other
hand, it may make more sense to wait and apply next year, so as not to
have to worry about deferring and when I might have more time to deal with
the whole process than I do right now, with final exams in a week and a

Any thoughts?  Has anyone else dealt with this question, or know how
graduate schools feel about it?

Thanks, and happy 1997 (o terrifying year of graduation!),

Trina E. Roberts * Biology '97
troberts at fas.harvard.edu * http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~troberts

"You're so crooked you could sleep in a French horn!"
			--Ring Lardner, "The Crook"

More information about the Womenbio mailing list