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Requests to Defer Admission

We understand that some students may be concerned about lingering uncertainty due to COVID-19, and might want to explore the option of deferring their enrollment for a semester or year. While we are supportive of gap years that allow students to travel, grow, explore, and learn in new and different ways during an extended period of time before college, you may find that those options are limited at this time.

As you consider your options, we want to reassure you that – thanks to a rigorous testing protocol, a strong emergency response team, a committed faculty, and a student body that cared deeply about our protecting our community – the Hamilton community demonstrated great resiliency and success in managing the pandemic challenges of the past year. You should expect no less in the upcoming year, and know we are planning to return to relatively normal operations this fall.

Hamilton’s normal gap year policy is in place for the current year.

Hamilton’s Gap Year Policy

We are generally supportive of gap year requests and feel strongly that students who are seeking them should be encouraged to explore opportunities that are important to them before pursuing their Hamilton career. However, this option is not intended for students to further their admission options one year later. We are willing to hold a spot for a student in a subsequent year/class, but reserve this opportunity only for those who truly intend to enroll at Hamilton.

To apply for a deferral, you first need to be enrolled at Hamilton by having submitted your enrollment deposit by May 1. (If knowing whether your deferral request is likely to be approved is a factor in your decision to choose Hamilton, you are welcome to contact us in advance of submitting your deposit to discuss your potential options.)

Once enrolled (or concurrent with submitting your deposit), you should email the Admission Office at, with your reasons for requesting to defer your admission and your proposed plans for the gap year. All requests must be submitted by June 1.  The admission committee will consider requests on a rolling basis and get back to you no later than mid-June.

If approved, the conditions of your deferral are that you:

  • may not enroll in a degree program at another institution during the interim. (It’s okay to take college classes on a part-time basis, but the Admission Committee will, of course, review your grades in any college courses and revisit your candidacy based on your performance.)

  • will provide us (by January 1 of your gap year) an official final high school transcript

  • will send us (by January 1 of your gap year) a personal essay describing your gap-year experiences to date
  • will submit (by January 1 of your gap year) an additional deposit to hold your place in the following year’s class.

If you are applying for financial aid, you must also file the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the requested deadline during your gap year.

Should you have questions about our gap year policy, we encourage you to reach out to us if we can be helpful in talking through your options.

Please note that gap year requests are not available to transfer students or first-years admitted from Hamilton’s wait list.


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