Taking a year off to work and clarify what they want to do or to do mission work can be a good thing, though students don't need to take a year off if they are unclear about their career aspirations, Edmundson says. College can help with that.
Spending the year doing something adventurous, going out of their comfort zone, volunteering or traveling - these demonstrate qualities likely to make the person more successful in college, she says.
Tip: Have a plan
Heidi Lucas, 25, says she didn't have any problems applying to Shippensburg University after taking off the 1999-2000 school year.
The Chambersburg Area Senior High School graduate did mission work in Honduras during that "first semester." It was easier to do that before starting college than to take a break in the midst, she says.