First-Year Students

A Gap Year, also known as an enrollment deferral, allows an admitted student to postpone their enrollment one year later than they originally applied. Any scholarships awarded by the Admission Office will also be deferred to following year as long as funding remains available. A Gap Year is only available for admitted first-year students who have paid the non-refundable $300 enrollment confirmation fee. Western will evaluate Gap Year requests on a case-by-case basis.


The deadline for Gap Year requests for students admitted for fall quarter is June 1. The deadline for first-year students admitted for winter quarter is December 1 and March 1 for spring quarter. Students who are granted a Gap Year are guaranteed a seat in the first-year class the following year.

Should circumstances change, and the student wishes to begin sooner, they may contact the Admissions Office to determine space availability. Until a Gap Year request has been granted, it is the student’s responsibility to complete all admission and enrollment procedures for their initial application.  

How to Request a Gap Year

To request a Gap Year, please complete the Gap Year Request Form and mail, email or fax to the Admissions Office. 


Western Washington University
Office of Admissions
516 High Street
Bellingham, WA 98225-9009


Western will consider Gap Year requests for students who are looking to fulfill an opportunity outside of academics, such as working for professional experience or to save money, traveling abroad or volunteering in your community.  

Western will not consider Gap Year requests for the following reasons:

  • An opportunity to take college courses elsewhere - students who do pursue courses at another institution will need to reapply as a transfer student.  Learn more about transfer planning.
  • A path to gaining Washington State residency for out-of-state students. Gaining residency in the state of Washington for tuition purposes involves meeting multiple requirements. To learn more about residency, please contact the Registrar's Office.
  • A way to delay making a decision about what college or university you will attend.

Students will be notified in writing whether or not their request for a Gap Year has been approved.

Transfer and Post-baccalaureate Students

Transfer and post-baccalaureate students may request to defer their admission one time, for one quarter, on a case-by-case basis (deferring a fall quarter admission to winter quarter, e.g.). Students requesting deferral must submit a written request and explanation to You should include any grades earned since you submitted your application for admission as well as a list of courses you plan to take during the deferral period with your written explanation. 

Students who wish to defer fall enrollment to winter term should submit their request by the June 1 priority date; requests to defer winter and spring enrollments should be submitted by December 1 and March 1, respectively. Submission of an deferral request does not automatically grant you a deferral, as all requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. You will be notified in writing whether or not your request has been approved.

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