The Gap Year
After considering all of the factors that go into your college readiness decision, you may decide that a gap year is what’s best for you after high school. What is a gap year, you ask?
Technically speaking, a gap year is time taken off between high school and college. For some, a gap year is a necessary next step after high school in order to work and save money for college. Others take a gap year because they don’t yet feel prepared for college, or because they feel like they need time to disengage from academics for a bit and gain more life experience first.
Besides finding employment, people who take a gap year can also travel, volunteer for a meaningful cause, intern in a field they’re interested in learning more about, or explore a trade that doesn’t require an advanced degree. Alternatively, a person can create a unique experience for themselves by combining one or more of these (or other) activities. A gap year can be a great opportunity to mature and develop life skills as well as a clearer sense of yourself, your goals, and your values. It can also help you prepare for the college application process if and when you’re ready.
A gap year can be a great alternative to starting college right after high school, but the decision to take this time off should not be made lightly. Talk about it with your family, close friends, a teacher, and/or a counselor. Consider all of your options before coming to a decision; it might even be a good idea to take some preliminary steps in the college application process (for example: researching schools, going on campus visits or beginning an application for a school if affordable and feasible) before deciding that college isn’t the best option for you right now. And lastly, if you do decide to take a gap year, make sure it is well thought out and planned – not much value can be found in lounging on the couch and watching TV every day!