Caleb is at a fork in the road. He isn't sure whether he's ready for college just yet.

A person standing in a wooded area. In front of the person is a fork in the sidewalk. The person has to decide which was to g Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Many people aren't sure that going directly to college after high school is the right choice for them.

A gap year can be a great option for people who may not be ready to jump right into college after graduating high school.

What is a Gap Year?

Typically taken between the end of high school and the start of college, a gap year is a break from formal education. Students who take a gap year often choose to travel, complete volunteer work or find a job/internship in an area that interests them.

Pros of a Gap Year

Learn Vital Life Skills!

  • learn a new language

  • increase leadership skills through service learning

  • gain hands-on experience in areas of interest through a job or internship

A large craft pencil up on a wall that reads Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Find Your Passion!

  • study abroad and experience another culture

  • pick up a new hobby

  • volunteer for an organization related to your interests

A red heart carved into a tree Photo by Chandan Chaurasia on Unsplash

Set Some Goals!

  • explore your passions and interests and use those to create personal and career goals for yourself

  • determine short and long-term goals

  • use your goals to help you decide your path after your gap year

Cons of a Gap Year

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Falling "Behind"

It can be hard to watch your friends leave for college and go through similar experiences without you.

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Back to School

If you don't have a plan and stick to it during your gap year, it could be a challenge to motivate yourself to go back to school.

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The Cost

Depending upon how you spent your time during your gap year, it can become very expensive.


What steps can you take to ensure that your gap year is a success? Select all that apply.

Who Do You Relate To?

Read about Monica and Charles. Which situation do you find most relatable?


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Went straight to college because...

  • She has known that she wants to become a doctor ever since she can remember.

  • She was accepted to Johns Hopkins University, her #1 choice.

  • She completed 2 years of volunteer work at a local hospital during high school.

  • She plans to participate in a semester abroad program.

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Took a gap year because...

  • He isn't sure what he wants to do for a career, but he does have several areas of interest.

  • He's interested in several different colleges but there isn't one that sticks out as "the one" at the moment.

  • He would love to explore the world, since he's never traveled abroad before.

Take Action

There's no right or wrong answer when considering a gap year!

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Make the best decision for YOU:


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