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.

Quiz

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?

Monica

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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.

Charles Flaticon Icon

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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This Byte has been authored by

SM

Sandi McKinney

Instructional Designer/eLearning Developer