5 answers

Is it better to take a gap year after graduating college?

Asked Indiana, Pennsylvania

I am a sophomore in college, and I am just curious on the best way to saving money after graduation. This would be to prepare for the student loan burden. Would it be better to move back home and work a minimum wage job, or try and find a job in a big city that pays more? #college #college-major #college-jobs #professional-development #work-life-balance #theatre #musical-theatre #film

5 answers

Kyle’s Answer

Updated

Hi Adrian -


Speaking from experience, I interned with PwC, and secured a job offer after my junior year, for once I earned my degree. With that being secured, I decided to defer my offer for one full year after graduation, so that I could prepare myself for the next stage of my life, with the hope to study for the CPA. However, what actually happened was I did not study for the CPA, and instead worked a few random jobs (i.e. landscaping, uber/lyft driver, worked for a plumber). Although I did not earn as much as if I started my full-time job right after college, I knew I wanted to take the time to learn some other types of skills, which I believe has helped shape me into who I am today. Further, by taking the year off, working in all sorts of weather, in not the most ideal situations, it made me appreciate the job at PwC once I started working. By taking the time to work other jobs, and enduring the hard work that they came with, I feel like that different experience helped me work even harder once I began working at the firm.


So as a take away, the taking a year off worked out great for me, but to each their own. I think whatever you decide to do will be the best decision, as long as you give it your all. Either decision opens many doors (for better or for worse) and it is our job to make the best of it! I stress to do what makes you happy, and what feels right.


I hope you figure out which is the better route, and I look forward to hearing about what decision was made!


Best,

Kyle

Iris’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts

Hi Adrian,


That's a great question and hope my personal experience would give you some inspiration!


I took a gap year after I graduated from college and did a unpaid internship at a local consulting firm and volunteered as an individual tax preparer during the tax season. Those experiences really helped me a lot in making the transition from college students to working environment. Plus, I was able to put those on my resume to differentiate myself from other fresh college grads when coming to job interviews. I got my first job from PwC as a tax associate and I'm still beneficial from the knowledge I learned and the communication skill I improved during my gap year (As you can tell from my writing, I'm not a native English speaker) .


I'm not trying to say money is not a big consideration and it sure is. However, I would not recommend you to take a year off and find some part-time jobs that have no value-adding to the rest of your career. I think you should still try to find a job that is related to your major and you can check out if there's any opportunities near where your parents live to save the rent. Trust me, the money you are making today would mean nothing to you in the future but the experience you gain would be valuable assets for the rest of you life.


Best,

Iris

Yakun’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts

Hi Adrian,


I guess it depends on why you would like to take a gap year. You mentioned student debt and saving after graduating from college, and choosing between a lower paying job at home or a higher paying job in a bigger city. Do you want to take a gap year just to take a pause and re-calibrate, perhaps also deciding where to go next? Or do you wish to be closer to your family after being away from them during college?


If money is not a concern, I'd say do whatever you find fulfilling/want to some experience in, be it volunteering, travel, or work in a different field that what you think you would pursue as a career. But if money is a concern, keep in mind that you can work and make some money, and still make time for things ideally you would want to do if money were not a concern. A lot of time things are not black/white, and you don't have to go in knowing where you are headed either.


I personally did not take a gap year, charging through towards my goal. But looking back, it would be helpful to take a pause perhaps.


Also, depending on what type of loans you have, you might not even have to start repaying them until you start making money.

Yakun recommends the following next steps:

  • find organizations and opportunities that interest you in different geographic areas
  • reach out to folks in those places and get their input on how to implement

Anna’s Answer

Updated

Hi Adrian,


I took a gap year after finishing school and starting college, personally I found it really beneficial. Life experience is equally as important as education, and you will gain valuable life skills. Also, anything that will help you financially prepare for college will ease the burden. If you have to move to a big city to find work but have to pay rent to live there, it may be more beneficial to you to stay at home and find work if you can live rent free.

Kevin’s Answer

Updated

Hi Adrian,


Great question. This totally depends on your individual situation. If your main goal is to save money, map out a cost/benefit analysis of your two options. A simple exercise like this should help give you some insight into what option makes the most sense financially.


That said, a lot of people take gap years for non-financial reasons as well. If you're looking to travel or something prior to starting your first post-college job, you'll need to factor that into your equation as well.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

  • Cost/Benefit analysis of your options
  • Option 1 - Living at home. Things to consider: Income from job - day-to-day expenses - student loan payments
  • Option 2 - Living in the city. Things to consider: Income from job (maybe higher than opt. 1) - monthly rent - day-to-day expenses - student loan payments
  • Depending how much you'll make in your job in option 1 and 2, it might be worth it to live at home. However, if you get a great job in the city, maybe it will be worthwhile to take on that additional cost of rent each month since you'll be making more money as well.