A gap year is a term that refers to a prolonged period between life stages. It is often, but not always, a year. The most popular gap years are taken after college or university and before beginning graduate school or a professional career. Many students take a gap year between high school and university. Some take their gap year after university, and some students successfully take a year in the middle of their course.
Students may choose to take a Gap Year for one or more of the following reasons:
- Broaden horizons and increase confidence in new situations
- The chance to meet new people (networking)
- The chance to volunteer or have a real job with pay; put money towards college tuition
- Confirm your interest in a possible course or career and improve your employment prospects
- Learn a language
- Re-energize after an intense academic high school experience
- Experiment with a taste of independence, making the transition to college easier
- To take some well-earned time to finalize decisions.
How do universities view gap years?
A gap year has been a common and popular rite of passage in Australia and Europe (especially the United Kingdom) for decades. The concept is now becoming more popular in America and other parts of the world. Universities and colleges accept requests for deferral, assuming a student demonstrates that he/she has an organized plan for their year off. They prefer a well-planned and structured experience that is linked to study or future work. There are many companies that offer their services in helping you structure a rewarding gap year, or you can plan it on your own.
Some Key Considerations
We strongly recommend that students apply to university at the end of high school and then defer. It is very difficult to try to organize references and paperwork after a student has been away from school for a year or more. Finances must be in place and students will need to invest a lot of time researching and planning a budget. It is very important that health insurance is in place. Plans for keeping in touch with your parents and family are also very important.
The key to a successful gap year is having some key goals and plans on how to achieve them. Here are two websites to help you get started with your planning: