Posted April 27th, 2010
By Jared Hakimi, Gap Year Recruitment Coordinator
An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering second-semester acceptances to some of their applicants, a result of record-breaking numbers of applicants and shrinking budgets. Spring acceptances allow schools to balance the number of new admittees with those students that graduate early or transfer out mid-year.
There aren’t official statistics about how many second-semester acceptances universities issued this application season, but the trend seems to be spreading through a number of colleges and universities.
Even the University of Southern California in Los Angeles admitted 700 incoming freshman for the Spring semester. If you were accepted to college for spring semester, you may still be wondering how you will fill the next few months before you head off to school.
Though at first this may not seem like an ideal situation, a Spring acceptance brings an opportunity not available to most recent high school grads. When else in your life are you given five months to do whatever you want, with set plans in place for when you get back?
If sitting at home while your friends go off to college doesn’t sound like an appealing option for you, here are a few things you can do during the fall semester that your friends will wish they could be doing:
Take a gap semester through organizations like Masa Israel Journey.
Top-tier universities like Princeton and Harvard encourage their accepted students to take a gap year before matriculating to the university, and a gap year doesn’t have to mean a gap year. A Spring acceptance is actually an opportunity – to explore something new, mature, and meet friends from all over the world before you even set foot on your college campus. Plus, you don’t even have to go through a process of deferring your admission to take a gap semester, since the university took care of it for you.
Organizations like Masa Israel, which offers a variety of different gap years and semesters ranging from academic study to volunteering and internships, provide you with a structured experience that you can often apply toward credits at your home university.
Get a job.
Free up some time once you start school by saving up some money before you even start. You’ll thank yourself when you want to go to all of the campus events and other people have to miss them while they work their part-time jobs. You can even save up to study abroad (Masa Israel has programs for that, too).
Work on a project or get a head start on your classes.
If you are planning to apply to a specialty program or honors track once you matriculate, why not get a head start? Take some classes at a community college or through your school’s extension to get out of easy requirements, or work on your portfolio for the program you want to apply for. Some of the gap programs in Israel will even let you earn credit that you can transfer to your university.
Any of these are good options to fill your semester, and with a five month chunk of time that you wouldn’t otherwise have, this is a perfect time to get some international experience under your belt. Use the summer to get a job or take a class (or both), and check out some of the many options to go abroad from August to December with organizations like Masa Israel Journey.
Spend a few months learning Hebrew, volunteer on an ecological farm, work on historical conservation projects, train in modern dance, or even get a head start on your academic work by studying abroad for part of your freshman year at one of the Israeli universities.
Alumni of gap programs in Israel have an easier time transitioning to campus life, feel more secure in their choice of major, and have a global perspective in their studies–not to mention friends from all over the world.
A second semester acceptance may feel like a backhanded rejection, but really, it is an opportunity not to be missed. Don’t settle for your second choice school just because your top choice is giving you a five month pass. Its not to late to learn about gap semesters starting in the fall, so take advantage of your time and do something different.
Your friends will wish they were in your shoes.