Interested in taking a gap year before college?

Lewis & Clark College fully supports the choice of many admitted students to take a year off between high school and college. An increasingly popular option, gap or bridge years allow students to pursue an array of activities and experiences during their time off. These options may include travel opportunities, work experiences, volunteering within your community, assisting family members, conducting research, or engaging in specialized training.   

Taking a gap year gave me the time and space I needed in order to engage my brain in new ways and grow as a person. I was incredibly fortunate to take a year off in Germany, where I worked different internships, met people from all over the world, and improved my language skills. I was also able to discover my passion for immersing myself in foreign cultures that has led me to consider career paths that genuinely excite me. My gap year could not have better prepared me for life at L&C and beyond.”

Juan Carlos Archila ’21

Many students entering Lewis & Clark following a gap or bridge year often find their time off has been beneficial for self-development and renewal of academic fervor:

“I am taking a gap year both to earn money for college and to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Over the course of the summer, I will continue to work at my local retirement home and as a lifeguard. During the fall I will participate in a program with Outward Bound. Then, around March, I will begin a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I hope that this time will allow me to learn more about myself and reinvigorate my ambition to learn.” Elias Abbott ’26

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has prepared some helpful information to assist you in considering a gap or bridge year.

The gap year process at L&C is simple:

1. Please review our Gap Year Policy Statement and call our office if you have questions regarding your gap or bridge year.

2. Requests for deferral must be approved by the Office of Admissions and should be submitted for approval before June 1.  

3. Submit your Admitted Student Reply Form (indicating your request to defer your enrollment) and your initial non-refundable deposit, postmarked by:

  • January 15 for Early Decision students
  • May 1 for Early Action and Regular Decision applicants
  • June 1 for transfer students

4. Review and submit the Gap Year Policy Statement on your L&C Portal. (Already committed to Lewis & Clark, and can’t see this form? Email to get it added to your portal.)

5. Keep us apprised of your activities and preferred contact information. We’ll keep in touch with you and/or your family during your year off so you don’t miss any information for incoming students.

A few things to keep in mind:

A second non-refundable deposit will be due by January 15th of the year you plan to enroll. Both tuition deposits will be applied to your account toward the fall bill.

If you have applied for need-based financial aid, you will need to submit a new FAFSA by November 1 of the following fall.

A student deferring their enrollment to the next academic year remains eligible for most merit-based scholarships:

  • Sequoia and Oregon Maple Scholarship recipients will receive their same awards the following year.
  • We do not guarantee receipt of the Neely Scholarship after a gap year. Neely Scholarship recipients should consult with their admissions counselor before making this decision.
  • Music, Speech & Debate, and Entrepreneurship Scholarship recipients must also reapply for their talent-based awards and compete with candidates for the new academic year.

Please contact the Admissions Office at 503-768-7040 for information about deferring your enrollment.