Taking a gap year before college is something every high school student should at least consider. Even if it’s quickly dismissed as not the right path for you, it makes sense to have a discussion with your Campus Bound counselor about what it is as well as the pros and cons. We have explained more previously in this blog post. In this blog, we will go over the different types of gap year programs, and if you are considering it, how to decide which might be best for you.
An opportunity to see the world
Travel gap year programs are a popular option. If you are a student who didn’t have an opportunity to travel much when you were younger, now is a great time! Some travel programs revolve around learning or teaching languages, but not all of them. Just being immersed in a different culture can be a rewarding experience. For an independent student, or a student who needs to gain confidence and independence before going to college, a travel program is a great option.
Career exploration for clearer goals
Some gap year programs involve internships or other career exploration opportunities to help students decide the path their academic and career future will take. Why head off to college if you have no idea what you want to study or the profession you aspire to enter? An internship gap year is perfect for the student who thrives on hands-on experiences and wants a taste of the real world before diving into the academic program that will get them there.
Use your time to save the world
Well, maybe not the whole world, but using a gap year as a way to give back is an excellent opportunity. Whether you’re building houses for people in poverty stricken cities in America, planting trees in Haiti, or working on conservation water projects in South Africa, it will be a learning, travel and rewarding experience all in one. Giving back to the world in a meaningful way is a great option for a student who wants to spend a year between high school and college helping others.
Prepare for college
An academic gap year allows students to take some time between high school and college to learn something new, or even just learn how to learn. College requires deeper thinking, independent study and analysis that some high school students may be unprepared for. Why not take a year to learn something new and ease the transition to college, and possibly even earn college credit? Sending a student to college before they are ready can be a waste of time and money. An academic gap year might be the perfect bridge to ensure success.
Explore Music and Art
Students who love music and/or art might want to spend a gap year pursuing that interest. There are several reasons for this. First, some students may not want to pursue art in college, or may not have that option at the college they chose. By attending an art program during a gap year, they get to learn techniques and achieve their artistic goals before going to college. Additionally, if a student does want to pursue art in college, but perhaps didn’t have the time or opportunity to create a portfolio in high school, a gap year program can offer that. And music students can spend the year preparing for conservatory placement or auditions.
Gap years are a growing trend for good reason. Remember that you don’t have to pick either college applications or gap year program applications… you can apply to both and decide later. We like this handy guide our friends at Teen Life have created, filled with advice and specific programs that might be right for you. Your Campus Bound counselor can also help point you in the right direction. Contact your counselor, or call Campus Bound to be paired with a counselor who is the best match for your needs.