Blog: Our stories
Are you a Harvard student or alumni who has taken a gap year? Want to share your story with us? Find our email on the contact page and send us an article to share.
A few days after graduation, and literally minutes after submitting my housing forms to Amherst College, a phone call from Harvard Admissions managed to throw a wrench in my perfectly laid plan. I had gotten so excited about going to Amherst, that I completely forgot that I was still on the wait-list at Harvard. The admissions office had just called to tell me that I had been admitted off the wait-list! Only, I was admitted to the class of 2020. If I wanted to accept their offer, I would have to take a gap year. Oh, and I only had one week to think about it.
Ask most anyone else what I should do and they would tell you that the choice was obvious and simple. But for me, that next week was one of the most stressful, heart wrenching, and difficult periods of the college process. (A process that I had thought was long over).
A gap year wasn't in my plan. I hadn't even considered taking one as an option. I was ready to go to college right away, and I had absolutely fallen in love with Amherst College. It was small, beautiful, and had programs that catered to all my interests. But I had to give Harvard a fair shot.
During the next week, I had to rethink everything that Harvard had to offer, and everything I thought I wanted in a college experience. I visited the campus and spoke with my financial aid officer. I took the virtual tour online and read up on the website about all the courses and extracurricular activities I could partake in. In the end, I finally realized that the benefits of Harvard simply won out. Among the list of benefits is Harvard’s absolutely unbeatable financial aid program. Besides, taking a gap year and attending Harvard was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Then came the daunting task of figuring out what to do with myself for the next year.
Author: Rhea Bennett, Class of 2020