Requesting a Gap Year

Deferred Admission Requests

Incoming first-year students who wish to defer their enrollment to engage in out-of-classroom activities, for medical or family circumstances, or for other reasons must have approval from Washington and Lee University. We ask that students note these policies and guidelines:

  • Students requesting to defer their enrollment must first reserve a spot in our student body with the required reservation deposit.
  • Students should initiate a request to defer their enrollment by emailing W&L’s admissions staff will then engage with students to help them prepare a detailed proposal for how they will spend the upcoming academic year (September to June).
  • Proposals to defer enrollment must be submitted by June 14 and must account for the entirety of the upcoming academic year. Partial-year proposals will not be approved.
  • Full-time study at another college will not be approved, nor will a post-graduate year of full-time study at the high school level. Some exceptions might be granted, such as for language immersion or other academic or cultural programs abroad.
  • Deferring enrollment for up to two years might be possible in some circumstances, such as for required military service for non-US citizens or for religious missions.
  • If you have been offered a university grant or scholarship, you can be confident that your eligibility for this award will remain intact. W&L need-based grants are based on family income and if your income is consistent then you should expect a consistent need-based offer when you return. Merit scholarships, such as the Johnson and W&L Scholar, will reflect any increase in the W&L 2025-26 cost of attendance.


If a proposal is approved, the student and a parent or guardian must sign an agreement affirming their willingness to treat the deferral as a commitment to enroll at W&L the next fall. This precludes applying for admission to other colleges or reserving a spot in the class of any other college. To finalize the agreement, an additional $1,000 deposit is required. Note that recipients of W&L need-based financial aid who defer their enrollment must reapply for aid next year since each year's financial aid process requires updated family income information.

For questions about deferring your enrollment, contact us at

Office of Admissions

  • Gilliam House
    19 Letcher Avenue
    Lexington, Virginia 24450