Dartmouth welcomes requests from students who wish to take a gap year or a service year before enrolling.


Thinking of taking a gap or service year between high school and college?

If you've been accepted to Dartmouth, this step-by-step guide (below) explains how to make it happen.

Curious about what you might do during a gap year? You can travel, work, take courses you weren't able to take in high school, engage in community service, and/or pursue other interests. The options are wide open.

Considering community service? A service year can be beneficial for the students that participate and can provide numerous benefits to the communities they serve. Dartmouth believes that getting more individuals involved in service programs will have a positive effect on the civic health of our society, and is committed to helping students who plan to enroll at the College learn about service year opportunities.

How to request a gap/service year

  1. Confirm your intent to enroll at Dartmouth by the May 1 reply deadline.
  2. Email the Assistant to the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid by June 1. Your email should outline your reasons for postponing your enrollment and plans for your gap/service year.
  3. The Director of Admissions will review your request. We will do our best to respond to requests by June 15. If we need further information, we will contact you via email.
  4. Go gap. Serve your world. Take a job or internship; pursue a dream; help the world be a better place; help your family or others in need. It's your gap/service year. Make the most of it.
  5. Re-apply for financial aid.
  6. While on your gap/service year, update us by emailing the Assistant to the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid as soon as possible after January 1 to tell us about your experiences and undertakings during your gap/service year, and to reaffirm your commitment to join Dartmouth's newest matriculating class.

Gap/service year facts and fine print

  • Gap year requests will be considered from students admitted in December and March. Students admitted from the wait list and transfer students are not eligible to take a gap year.
  • Approval of gap year requests is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  • Admitted students who postpone their enrollment may not apply to any other colleges or universities during their gap year.
  • Postponed enrollment for two years will be permitted for obligatory national/military service.
  • The Admissions Committee reserves the right to review the status of any admitted student, including those on a gap/service year, and to rescind its offer of admission if a student's academic or personal record does not remain satisfactory in all respects.
  • The American Gap Association defines a gap year as: "A structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, learn from different cultures, and experiment with possible careers. Typically these are achieved by a combination of traveling, volunteering, interning, or working." Visit the American Gap Association website for inspiration and advice on how to spend your gap year.
  • Any policy changes at the College will apply to you as a member of your matriculating class.