Should Students Take a Gap Year?

When high school is done and it’s time for the next step, there are a lot of options for students to choose from. One of those options is taking a gap year. A gap year, as defined by the Gap Year Association, is a “semester or year of experiential learning, typically taken after high school and prior to career or post-secondary education, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness.”

Taking a gap year helps students get to know themselves and what they want to do in the future. There are numerous activities students can do while taking a gap year, like traveling, getting a job, exploring potential careers, volunteering, and getting internships.

With traveling, you could explore the world while learning about different cultures and seeing new places.It can also help you learn something new and also learn something about yourself. But, traveling is expensive and can set you back a couple of thousands of dollars if you don’t have a plan. Researching and finding coupons can help pay for the travel.

Getting a paid job will help students earn money (possibly for tuition or other expenses) and help them gain new skills. It will help you get work experience that will improve your chances of getting a job after college. These are a few sites you can use to find jobs: indeed.com and monster.com.

Choosing a career can be quite difficult and stressful. Taking a gap year will give you extra time to think about and also try some career options you are interested in. Doing this will guide you to the career you want and the path you will need to follow.

Volunteering is one way to earn experience and support a cause you are passionate about. Volunteering will also help your resume when applying for a job in the future and it will also look good on your college applications. gapforce.org, volunteerhq.org, unitedplanet.org, and other websites can help make volunteering easy. 

Internships also boost resumes and make you stand out when applying for a job in the future. You learn new skills that will help you and your future employer. You can find internships at projects-abroad.org, gooverseas.com, efgapyear.com, and many more websites.

There isn’t a specific time frame for a gap year, but it’s usually a semester, a few months, or an academic year. A gap year can last as long as you want, but you have to make productive decisions about the things you do during that time.  

Senior Skylar Mansfield is a student interested in taking a gap year. She said, “One reason why I’m taking a gap year is to see the world a little bit before I decide to continue my education; as well as saving up money for college.” Students applying to college after a gap year is a good idea because they would have acquired more skills and knowledge that will help them improve their college application and set them apart from the other students applying.

The decision of taking a gap year should be done by the spring of senior year. Transitioning from a gap year back to college can be hard for students, but it all depends on the plan the student has. Having a plan makes the gap year process a lot easier for the student. 

On a final note, taking a gap year can be an advantageous process that teaches you new skills and experience that will help when you are ready to take your next step in life. Having a plan and doing things you love will guide you to having a very productive gap year.