Lately I've been seeing a lot of comments concerning taking a year off before applying for M.F.A. programs. I made this decision last year and I'm both regretful and thankful I did it. Originally I was going to mainly apply to Arabic programs, so that year off helped me to realize that I really, really wanted to write above everything else. I was also able to devote my full attention to my undergraduate thesis (which ended up being atrocious anyhow). A year off will give you the time needed to polish a portfolio and to fully understand what you want to do. It is also helpful if you have some email-phobic professors who may not respond quickly, and the other hiccups that come alone with struggling to meet deadlines while completing a senior year of college. On the downside, a year off can be incredibly boring, especially if you aren't enrolled in any classes. I'm currently stuck in the town I grew up in and working as a substitute teacher. The good thing about this is that I have nothing else to do with my time but write.
Yes, it's a lot like watching all of your friends go off to summer camp without you, but in the end I think a year off can do a lot of good. What do the rest of you think?