Alejandro Maldonado '22

"From working in the Conservation Corps in Utah, to operating a ski lift in Montana, and returning home to manage farms at NYC public housing residences (through Green City Force), my gap year provided a great opportunity to appreciate the importance of learning through hands-on experiences and to learn how to live independently before coming to college." Alejandro Maldonado '22

Students admitted as first-years to Pomona may apply to take a gap year (also called term of service or year of service opportunities) before matriculating. Students approved for gap years engage in a wide variety of activities that expand their understanding and perspective. While there are many compelling reasons to take a gap year, one of the most common is the opportunity for students to explore their interests and develop a purpose for their future. Students can take a break from intense coursework and focus on enriching life experiences.

Isabel Callahan '21

"Over the course of my gap year, I was able to teach at schools in Ghana and Chicago. Taking a gap year gave me a new appreciation for life captured in 'small' things like cooking food with and for others or washing clothing by hand, an appreciation that has only grown during my time at Pomona." Isabel Callahan '21 

Whether they spend the year traveling, volunteering, working, or all three, students who have completed a gap year are often revitalized for their return to the academic world the following year.

Students interested in taking a gap year should contact the Admissions Office to discuss their options, and for help deciding if applying for admission before or after a gap year makes more sense.

Deferring Enrollment

Students admitted to the Class of 2024 under Regular or Early Decision may request to defer their entry to the College by one year. Students offered admission from the wait list may not defer entry. Requests to defer are reviewed and approved individually by the Dean of Admissions and must be received by May 1 with their enrollment forms. You may email your request to Executive Assistant Gina Green at or mail your request to: Pomona College – Office of Admissions, 333 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711. Students who request their gap year by May 1, but need more time to develop their year-long plan, will have until June 1 to formalize and submit their written plan to the Dean of Admissions. If a student changes their mind about taking a gap year before June 1, they may request to rejoin the Class of 2024, and that request will be granted. After June 1, students will only be permitted to rejoin the Class of 2024 on a space available basis

Deferral of admission involves several requirements:

  1. Enrollment in any individual college course must be discussed with an admissions dean at Pomona College. Students may not enroll in a degree program.
  2. In accepting the non-refundable $500 deposit, Pomona College will guarantee the student’s place for the following academic year as a full-time freshman with the commitment that the student will enroll at Pomona and will initiate no new applications to other colleges or universities.
  3. The student must write to admissions before March 1 the following year, reconfirming intention to enroll for the fall semester. In this letter, the student will include how he or she has spent the year and plans for the remainder of the year. Upon receipt of that information, the Dean of Admissions will confirm membership in the entering class.
  4. If the student intends to apply for financial aid from Pomona College for the academic year of enrollment, he or she must contact the Office of Financial Aid by Jan. 1 the following year, regarding required financial aid forms.