Gap Year

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After high school, taking a gap year is a choice that graduates make more frequently, and more universities are helping those students who take that option. According to some supporters, a year of national service or gap years should be required. More students are now considering taking time off from school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing universities nationwide to temporarily close and switch to online sessions, possibly stretching into the fall term. Despite the potential benefits of taking a gap year, many people are still unfamiliar with the idea and may think it entails aimless travel or wasting time. In this student guide, you will know about what exactly is a gap year, why you should consider it, what are the consequences and what might it entail in the event of a global pandemic?

What is a
Gap Year?

For many, taking a year off could be intriguing. However, what exactly is it, how do you do it, and what occurs next?

Each person’s gap year is unique. It is a whole year or semester of educational opportunities, which may include travel, volunteer work, paid jobs, an internship, or a combination of these. Before beginning college, it is often taken following high school graduation.

Whatever route students take, they will see that a successful gap year may make a big difference. Many students feel they have a better understanding of who they are. This is primarily because they could broaden their horizons and push themselves.

History of
Gap Year

Many experts and enthusiasts have written articles about gap years since the 1980s, when they became popular in the United States. However, the article titled “Time Out or Burn Out for The Next Generation,” primarily attributed to William Fitzsimmons, a former dean of admissions at Harvard, stands out. Since then, numerous books and articles have been written, most notably “The Gap Year Advantage” by Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson.

Why Should You Take
a Gap Year?

By taking a gap year, one can revitalize and reboot. The final year of high school is stressful academically. Many students discover that taking an extended break before college is an excellent way to recuperate from burnout after completing projects, taking tests, and completing college applications.

A process of discovery can lead to that kind of healing. You can learn about people or cultures different from your own by taking a gap year. It can educate you on how to interact with personalities that are different from yours. The best part is that it can help you learn more about who you are. One can discover one’s capabilities and priorities. Taking a year off could allow you to pursue your passions and determine what you want to study in college.

Remember that a gap year is not the same as taking a year off. It is about acting, moving, thinking, planning, and seizing the opportunity. Do not consider using a gap year as a substitute for beginning college. You may be able to become ready for college with this experience – you gain independence and self-awareness, two crucial traits for succeeding in any major. A gap year can make you stand out on your resume after graduation.

How to Plan a
Gap Year?

It is a good idea to consider what you want to learn when organizing your gap year. This will significantly affect how your experience is shaped. If learning about new cultures is your goal, visit a different nation or city. Find an internship if you want professional expertise. Want to combine the two? Start with a supervised employment opportunity, then go on to travel.

The secret to a successful gap year is careful planning. Everybody will have a different strategy. Speaking with your high school counselor is a great place to start because they may know of services that can assist you.

Cost of a
Gap Year

The sticker price for gap year programs can vary greatly and be ambiguous when it comes to expenditures, much like college tuition. While high-end programs may cost more than $50,000, students may pay less, thanks to scholarships and other forms of financial aid. Additionally, some programs might be funded for low-income students to make them more accessible.

The Pandemic & Gap
Year Considerations

Though the gap years should be seen as a valuable learning experience, delaying enrollment due to the uncertainty prompted by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is not ideal. Admissions officers caution against taking a gap year to avoid unfamiliar academic settings.

Fundamentally, it is not correct to think of a gap experience as an alternative to college but one that better prepares (certain) students for the university experience. The reason for a gap year shouldn’t be to hold out until normal college life resumes to what it was before the pandemic hit. This has now become the new normal.

Varied Gap
Year Experiences

Many options are available for high school students or recent graduates who are considering taking a gap year, including self-guided and structured programs. On its website, the Gap Year Association, which accredits several programs, provides a comprehensive list of possibilities, including those that concentrate on ecology, animal care & conservation, language learning, coding, cultural immersion, and several other subjects.

The best gap years tend to be the ones that push students to think about who they are and what their role is in the world. A gap year can aid a student’s inspiration and motivation while better preparing them for college. It is also important to note that the “natural break” between high school and college is an ideal time for students to “pause and reflect” and explore options before the rigors of studies begin.

Gap Year & College

High school students considering taking a gap year often wonder about the support universities might provide. Prospective students must be aware of a school’s policy on gap years in the highly competitive world of college admissions. Reaching out to each college that a student is considering applying to or has already been accepted to is a good idea to inquire about the policies that would apply should they decide to take a gap year. They should also consider the benefits and drawbacks of doing so before deciding whether to take the year off or not.

Challenges of a
Gap Year

The inherent difficulties and advantages of a successful gap year should be understood by prospective gap year students, who will benefit not only themselves but also their communities and families. Taking a gap year provides the ability to take more control of one’s life rather than simply following the routine. Anecdotally, taking a gap year has proven to be beneficial for both the student and their community by putting them in situations where their parents cannot help them and where they are better prepared to handle some of their issues by themselves.

Pros and Cons of
a Gap Year

Wrap up about
Gap Year

Contrary to what some believe, students can gain a lot by taking a gap year before college. They can benefit from opportunities to build new life skills, such as enhancing soft skills, discovering a secret passion, and learning a new language and culture. Additionally, experience and exposure may help students prepare for college by increasing their financial literacy and helping them avoid academic fatigue so that when they return to school, they are better than ever, ready to study and handle obligations. Finally, by pursuing their hobbies and improving job happiness, students can benefit from personal growth. Conclusively, kids may gain a lot from a gap year before college since they gain new life skills, get ready for college, and go through personal development.