So I've spent the past two months working on my graduate school application essays, and I've recently started to study for the GRE, which I'll be taking on November 6th. In recent weeks I've been feeling as though my application is not a very strong one, especially when it comes to my resume. Because of this I've been thinking of delaying my application for a year so that I can boost my resume through another job or a study abroad type experience. Doing this would also give me ample time to study for the GRE. So instead of applying for the 2018-2019 cycle, I'm looking at 2019 to submit my application. Those are the bare details of it, but my problem is how I should let my recommenders know. I feel that it's wrong to ask them to wait a year, but then again they might appreciate having more time to write (I'm applying to two programs with deadlines in December and January). This isn't something that I've decided to do for sure; it's just something that I'm considering. I'd just rather let my recommenders know in the best way possible and without losing them somehow should I decide to do it.

I appreciate any advice.

1 Answer 1


Depending on your field, it's quite possible that delaying your application a year would significantly HARM your chances, not boost it as you seem to think. Rather than trying to guess whether your chances are good now, why not apply and see what happens? If you aren't offered any positions, you can always apply again next year, or decide that you prefer another career path.

  • I agree that there is no harm in applying now, but how is it that a delayed application could harm his/her chances?
    – user63725
    Oct 15, 2017 at 19:11
  • In the US students overwhelmingly apply in the fall of their last year of university. A student who graduates and applies the next year would arrive at the PhD after a full year out of school; they would therefore (in my field) need to demonstrate that their understanding and knowledge would not have atrophied during this time. (And this can be harder than students think, since only a few months of that year-long gap have passed when they submit their application -- so how to convincingly justify claims about the future?)
    – Tom Church
    Oct 15, 2017 at 22:13
  • Really depends what he does in the meantime... Gap year partying or working a solid job in the field?! Check also the admission rules, some Universities want reccomendation letters to be fresh! Oct 17, 2017 at 8:27

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