Taking time to explore the possibilities
Some teens don’t feel ready for college directly after high school. One option for them is a “gap year.” A common practice for many European students, a gap year is becoming more common among American students. Many colleges will now allow students to defer enrollment for a year, and often view students who take gap years as more focused and mature.
Many students spend their gap year exploring interests through internships, volunteer experiences, a job, travel or a combination of any of these pursuits. Sound interesting? Read on...
The Gap Year Experience:
A Life-Changing Opportunity
Article sponsored by Projects-Abroad.org
Excited about college but not quite ready to start? Each year, students across America are choosing to postpone their traditional academic plans and participate in a gap year experience.
What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is a year spent taking time off between life stages. An increasingly popular option, it provides time for traveling, volunteering, learning a new language, or experiencing any number of other activities for personal growth. Typically, students take a gap year after graduating from high school and before attending college.
Why Take a Gap Year?
While there are many compelling reasons to take a gap year, one of the most common is the opportunity for students to explore their interests and develop a purpose for their future. Students can take a break from intense coursework and focus on enriching life experiences.
Whether they spend the year traveling, volunteering, working, or all three, students who have completed a gap year are often revitalized for their return to the academic world the following year. According to David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, taking a gap year …could actually help students succeed in college, since participants may be more focused, mature, and motivated for their undergraduate experience.
Many students also find that their gap year allows them to help others. For students choosing to spend the year volunteering abroad, some of the benefits include:
Gap Year Options
There are no rules when it comes to taking a gap year, so the possibilities are truly endless. Luckily, there are organizations that specialize in helping students organize their adventures. For example, some companies assist with everything from finding a host family, to setting up the volunteer project, to taking care of meals and travel insurance.
Areas of focus students may choose from for their gap year activities include:
Things to Consider
As exciting as a year off before college may sound, there are several important issues to consider before embarking on a gap year.