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I have been out of high school for a year. Will that hurt me?



QUESTION: I have been out of school for a year trying to get things in my life back on track. I really want to go to college, but it just keeps getting harder and harder. I would like to know if not immediately going to school will hurt my chances. Signed, Returning

Dear Returning: Whether it's to work or to find themselves, more students are taking time off between high school and college. What's important when returning to college is not how much time you spent away from school but what you did during your time away. So a break of 1 year or even 15 years will not affect your chances of getting into college as long as you can show how those years have contributed to your growth.

So, what have you done during the past year? Have you worked? Have you pursued an artistic passion? In your application, explain what you have accomplished during your time off and what you have learned. How has the time you spent outside of school helped you decide what you would like to study? What insights have you gained from this time? By describing how you have further developed your goals for going to college during your year off, you will show the colleges that you are ready to make the transition back into school.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.