How do colleges view a gap year?
When Princeton, Middlebury, or Northeastern University (Boston) speak, I listen! The Director of Admissions at Middlebury College studied the GPA and retention rates of Middlebury College students who took a GAP year between High School and College and was amazed to see that these students had higher GPAs, higher rates of persistence can maturity. Princeton runs a program that offers a gap year-like experience for incoming first year students. A small group from the application pool are offered the opportunity to spend their first semester with other PRinceton students on an international travel/study/service program. Northeastern offers a similar opportunity and actively recruits students who have international experience.
However - you need to be careful with this. If you are considering a GAP year, plan wisely. Ask the colleges you applied to or are thinking about applying to if if they woudl consider deferred admissions (would they let you accept their admissions offer, but wait a year/semester before you attended?). Also, if you do take a GAP year, HAVE A PLAN! Maybe you need to work to save money for college. Or maybe you are headed to the developing world on a service mission. Your time should be spent wisely and for a meaningful purpose.
Do not just roll the dice on this one. If you are considering a GAP year, check with the colleges that you have applied to and understand their requirements and policy.