Is it OK to take some time off before going to graduate school?
Yes, this is very common, and is a good idea for many people. Taking a year or more off may allow you to gain life and work experience, give you more time to prepare your application and, if relevant, work to enhance your credentials (such as GRE scores or foreign language skills), and give you a chance to reflect on what you want to do. You should not worry that you will lose your “study momentum,” or lose interest in further study. This rarely happens unless your motives for going to graduate school are not very strong to begin with. Graduate schools do not “look down on” applicants who have taken time off, and may even consider them better candidates at times.
I’ve been admitted to a good program. Can I defer for a year?
That depends on the program. Policies on deferment differ. Some school will honor every request to defer, others may ask for your reasons to do so. Some may let you keep your financial aid offer, others will defer your admission and ask that you reapply for funding in the following year. If, in your senior year, you are certain that you want to take a year off after graduation, consider deferring your application by a year instead.
I’m not sure what I want to do, so I’m going to apply to graduate school. Is that a good idea?
Not really. Graduate school should not be a default solution for you, but a carefully considered choice. Graduate school is not a destination, but a journey toward a goal. If you cannot identify your specific goal, you need to do some more thinking.
Will I make more money with a master’s degree than with a Ph.D.?
Not necessarily. Depending on your career choice you could earn less. You should investigate the career paths you have been thinking about and compare earning potential and life style issues.