Students walk on campus with colorful fall leaves

Requesting a Gap Year

A gap year can be a wonderful way to expand your educational horizons through opportunities that cannot be found in a traditional classroom environment. Whether it be through travel abroad, community service, paid work, or research and internships, a well-planned and thoughtful gap year can enrich your education, aid in your personal growth and allow you to start college with a greater sense of direction and purpose. While gap years are approved on a case-by-case basis, we welcome the opportunity to consider your request.


If you are admitted to Grinnell and would like to request a gap year, you must submit a formal, written request to the Director of Admission. The request should be approximately one or two paragraphs in length and it should contain the following information:

  • Why you would like to request a gap year
  • Description of your gap year plan
  • Timeline of completion for your gap year plan

Your written request is due on or before July 15.

Please note that if you complete 12 or more transferrable college-level credits during your gap year, you will lose your standing as a first year student and must re-apply as a transfer applicant. Your admission would then be based in part on the quality of your college work.


The Director of Admission will inform you whether or not your request for a gap year is approved. If approved, you will receive the First Year Deferral Agreement Form, which must be signed and returned to the Office of Admission. You must also submit your $200 tuition deposit by the required deadline.

In February of your gap year, you will receive the Deferral Re-Enrollment Form. This will confirm your desire to enroll in next year's incoming class.

Financial Aid

Students approved for a gap year and awarded need-based financial aid must reapply for financial assistance by submitting the required forms by their published deadlines. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Board's CSS PROFILE. Students will receive more information regarding this process in January of their gap year.

In most cases, if you received a merit-based scholarship, you will receive this same award amount when you re-enroll at the College. We recommend having a conversation with the Office of Admission if you have further questions about this process.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide a better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and to opt-out of cookies at any time, please refer to our website Privacy Policy.