Pros and Cons of a Gap Year

November 29, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Pros and Cons of a Gap Year

Whether it is to take a break from studies, to spend some time volunteering, to gain real-world work experience, or to travel the world before diving into the throws of university life – taking a gap year for whatever reason has the potential to be tremendously beneficial to your personal growth and to better prepare you for life at university. We’ll learn more about the pros and cons of a gap year.

Alas, there are pros and cons to consider with everything, and gap years are certainly no exception. To shed some light on the situation, we will be outlining some of the most significant pros and cons of a gap year and everything that come with taking a gap year, with the goal of assisting you in making a more educated decision regarding whether or not taking some time off from your studies is really the best option for you.

After considering all of these positives and negatives in the context of Covid 19, you may come to the conclusion that spending your gap year in the United States is the best way to fulfill your goals. Continue reading the pros and cons of a gap year to learn about some helpful ideas and direct resources that you can use to get inspiration for your gap year journey in the United States or elsewhere in the world and to get additional guidance.

What is a Gap Year?

So what is a gap year? A gap year is a focused period of time that is typically taken by young adults. During this time, you take a vacation from your regular employment or academic pursuits and instead focus on personal development through the accumulation of experiences. During gap years, students frequently take part in activities such as traveling abroad, working holidays, volunteering, or internships. In much the same way that a gap year does not actually need to be a year, they are also not characterized by partaking in any particular activity. This is because gap years do not need to be years.

Students walking with their teacher on the hallway.

Actually, virtual gap years are becoming more and more prevalent, and an increasing number of people are discovering that they can reap the benefits of a gap year even though they do not have to leave their country or local region. Before embarking on your journey, you should familiarize yourself with both we will be outlining some of the most significant pros and cons of a gap year and everything that come with taking a gap year before making any decisions regarding how you will spend your time.

What are the Pros of taking a gap year after high school?

Since we already have an idea of what a gap year is, after spending so many years in school, so what are the pros of taking a gap year after high school? You are undoubtedly looking forward to some time off from your studies. But if you take a gap year, be familiar with the pros and cons of a gap year so you get to shake up your habits and maybe even move to a new place. This allows you to transform the downtime that you might crave into an experience with a goal.

You get to take jobs for a trial run

The best way to figure out what approaches are successful for you is to get out there and gather some real-world experience. Volunteering or interning during your gap year gives you the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a variety of fields, giving you a better idea of how those fields function in the real world.

Spending a few weeks on an island in Seychelles helping to carry out research for marine conservation, for example, makes for a wonderful change of pace from studying and is a lot more informative than attending any careers fair. This could be an option for you if you are looking for a way to break away from the traditional classroom setting.

You will be mentored by professionals in the industry while also gaining practical experience, and you should take advantage of this opportunity to ask them about the realities of working in the industry that they have chosen.

Be sure to pick an organization that supports a cause that piques your interest. By doing so, you will determine whether or not it is possible for you to make a living doing what you love.

A gap year is good for your resume

The experiences you have throughout your gap year will help shape who you are as a person and prepare you for the future. That translates to the fact that they will seem really good on your resume.

When it comes time to submit an application for college or a job, experiences such as volunteering, learning additional languages, gaining actual work experience, and even traveling internationally will all be taken into consideration.

Taking the effort to break out from conventional educational settings and demonstrating your practical skills by traveling or volunteering in another country demonstrates that you are self-motivated.

View of a student smiling at the camera.

In addition, developing an understanding of other nations and cultures helps people become more empathetic, tolerant, and independent. These are all skills that will serve you well no matter what industry you find yourself working in.

You’ll have a chance to think about what you really want to study

After graduating from high school, it might be challenging to zero in on a certain career path that you want to pursue. According to a survey that was carried out by Gallup and Strada Education Network, up to 36 percent of people who have graduated from college express regret that they did not choose a different field of study.

You will have the opportunity to find new passions, pursue personal interests, and allow yourself the space and time to reflect on what it is you want to get out of life when you take a gap year.

a female student writing on her notes

You could find that taking an additional year of classes is the best way to ensure that you enter a degree program that is tailored specifically to your needs and goals for the future.

You can work and save for college

You can combine having fun with earning money during a gap year; it doesn’t have to be all about recreation. You will have the opportunity to take responsibility for your own financial situation and save money for college if you find a job for at least part of the year.

This will assist in reducing the financial strain caused by student loans, and it is also an excellent time to get a head start on learning how to create a budget and save money. You might even put money away for trips in order to make this year even more memorable.

A gap year will prepare you for college

The decision to enroll in college is a significant one, particularly if it will be your first time living away from home or if you will be attending a school where you won’t know anyone else. You can gain skills that will help you adjust to these changes by taking a gap year between schools.

View of students answering in their desks.

The only way to truly acquire “soft skills” like independence and self-awareness is through actual life experience. You will have the opportunity to gently cultivate these attributes and increase your confidence if you participate in a gap year program. It is possible that you will be required to navigate all types of social settings, meet new people, learn to overcome language hurdles and find your way around unfamiliar places.

You can make the most of your freedom

It’s possible that once you graduate and start your work, you’ll never have the opportunity to take a break for an entire year again.

The National Alumni Survey from 2015 found that the majority of students who took a gap year did so in order to improve themselves individually and open themselves up to new experiences; both of these goals are excellent justifications for delaying the start of college.

You are able to satiate your desire to travel

The opportunity to travel will sate any lingering yearning for adventure that you may be experiencing. When your gap year is over, you’ll be able to put all of your attention on your academics rather than daydreaming about going on adventures throughout the globe.

Participating in a gap year volunteer program is an excellent way to experience travel and adventure in a setting that is both safe and well-organized. You have the option of participating in gap year programs in Latin America, Australasia, Asia, or Africa in addition to Europe.

Cons of taking a gap year

People might not understand your decision

It is possible that some people will not encourage you to take a gap year in between schools. Your parents may become concerned that this indicates you have no intention of pursuing higher education. It’s possible that your teachers are anxious that you’ll fall behind in your studies and find it difficult to get back on track once you do. It’s possible that friends will worry they’ll lose touch with you.

If you do encounter some resistance, keep in mind the many advantages of taking a gap year and consider how they compare to the potential drawbacks.

You can also try to persuade your loved ones by using some gap year statistics as evidence for why this is the best decision for you. The Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) reports that ninety percent of students who postponed their enrollment in college for one year ultimately resumed their studies after the lapse of time.

According to a survey conducted by the American Gap Year Association, 98 percent of students feel that taking a gap year helped them develop personally. Additionally, 73% of students reported that taking a gap year helped them better prepare for college.

Without goals, you can lose track of where you’re headed

It is essential to take a reflective and productive approach to planning your gap year. It’s totally great if you have no idea what you want to do after this, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to procrastinate for a whole year.

Leverage your lack of knowledge as a source of inspiration to engage in new experiences, meet new people, and consider new ideas.

Female student talking to a student in a room with books.

Create a list of objectives that you want to accomplish by the time the year comes to a close. You can set a goal to save a particular amount of money, finally, go on the vacation you’ve always dreamed of going on or start volunteering for a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. Make sure to write down your objectives so that you can evaluate how well you’re doing against them during the year.

If you have specific objectives in mind, you will be able to maintain your concentration, grow in self-awareness, and finally form a clearer picture of where you want to be in the years to come.

The cost of travel

The amount of money that you will spend on activities such as traveling or volunteering during your gap year is something that you should think about carefully.

Because this is not an inexpensive choice, you will need to put some thought into your preparations. You might devise a plan in which you work for part of the year and then spend the rest of the time traveling.

Putting money down for a trip overseas can help you develop abilities in areas other than finance, like the ability to think creatively and critically. In order to make your ambition a reality, you should probably investigate the many funding and scholarship opportunities that are available to you.

It can feel like your friends are moving on without you

It’s easy to have feelings of isolation and loneliness when you’re the only one in your friend group who is taking a gap year.

It’s possible that you’re starting to feel trapped now that everyone else in your family seems to be packing up their belongings and heading off to college. You will graduate one year later than everyone else, and you will begin working full-time jobs one year later as well.

You should keep in mind, however, that just because you are starting college a year behind everyone else, this does not imply that you are not also gaining new knowledge and experiencing new experiences.

During your gap year, you will undoubtedly have the opportunity to meet new people and gain valuable knowledge. And the fear of missing out (FOMO) issue works both ways — your pals who are still in college will probably be envious of your independence and the opportunity to travel that you have.

Potential employers might view your gap year as a vacation

As taking a year off between high school and college becomes more normal, more businesses are beginning to recognize the benefits of doing so, particularly when it involves performing volunteer work or participating in foreign service.

On the other hand, you need to be able to identify the positive aspects of your gap year and present those on your resume in an effective manner; otherwise, it may appear as though you simply took a vacation for a year.

The process of defining your objectives for the year will come in handy at this point. It will assist you in determining the most important milestones that you have reached during your gap year.

Is Taking a Gap Year Right for you?

Since we know now the pros and cons of a gap year, is taking a gap year right for you? It can be challenging to strike a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of taking a gap year after graduating from high school. It is important to keep in mind that there are many different kinds of gap years. It is not necessary for you to travel all the way to the other side of the planet and live in a shack without running water and electricity for an entire year (although you are free to do so if that is your thing).

A gap year might consist of finding work in your hometown, continuing to live with your parents for a year, and acquiring a new skill by studying it online. It may involve relocating to a different city in the United States, finding an internship there, and doing so while staying with a relative. It could also mean deciding to travel the world with nothing more than the contents of a rucksack and limiting your possessions to just that. There is no limit to the possibilities.

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of a gap year and its effects on your chances of getting into your dream college or university? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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