Maybe you found out that you just got rejected from your dream college. Maybe you want more job experience, or just want to take a break from school. If so, taking a gap year between the end of your high school career and going to college may be the right option for you. With graduation looming around the corner, many seniors will have to make a decision that will affect the next few years of their lives. What is the best way to make the most of your gap year?
Gap years can be greatly beneficial in that they allow students to prepare themselves for college, work, or any other pursuits. However, if not properly planned, the gap year can be a waste of your time. According to Gap Year Association, “Planning a successful gap year should be done with a decent amount of purpose and intent — it doesn’t have to be super-structured, in fact most students taking a gap year are doing the majority of it independently.”
Taking a gap year should ultimately lead to either further education or a full time career. To prepare for the future, you can invest your time into multiple pursuits. This includes anything from getting a job and volunteering to studying languages and traveling. This can be done on your own or in a group. If you begin to live on your own during this time, it allows you the opportunity to learn how to manage your time and your money, and teaches you how to survive on your own income.
There are programs offered for students participating in gap years, such as the National Society of High School Scholars, or NSHSS, EF Gap Year program. Programs such as this feature the opportunity to travel, learn skills, and gain college credits. However, this program might not be for everyone. According to the Gap Year Association, “finding the right fit for your gap year is a challenge, and one that truly should be taken with perhaps more care than at university. The stakes, in many senses, are higher with a gap year given its intention.” There are different programs that adhere to different students in regards to budget, intention, and duration.
If acting independently, the most straightforward option for students is to get a job or an internship. Taking these would prepare you for entering the workforce in the future, and help you pay for college or living costs.
There are many options and paths that students can take. The most important thing to know when planning your gap year is to plan it.