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Does it affect my job prospects if I take a gap year before college?

I'm wondering whether it would be a bad thing for my career if I took a gap year between high school and college. I'm interested in working in medicine, but I'm not sure if that will be as a doctor or as a researcher. But I'd like to go internationally at some point, and deferring my college acceptances to go international might be an option. I was wondering if taking a gap year before college to go abroad for volunteering work or just to travel would make it hard for me to get a job. #college #healthcare #gap-year


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Han’s Answer

No, it won't affect your job prospects at all, especially if you're interested in medicine. Many of my friends who are now in med school took gap years, either between high school and college or between college and med school.


Med schools will care more about what you did in college - your grades, MCAT, activities, and your answers to questions about why you're interested in med school and your overall goals.


Thank you! (: Sofie C.

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Geoffrey’s Answer

Hi Joan,


I'd encourage you to take the gap year, for several reasons.


First, you'll only have more responsibilities / commitments as you get older, which may make taking such a trip a lot more difficult, so now is probably the best time, in my opinion.


Second, in my experience, interviewers (who are often interviewing many candidates for a job in very a short period of time) enjoy talking to people with a different background and a unique perspective, as oftentimes candidates coming out of school have very similar backgrounds (involved in the same majors, the same activities and the same sports, etc.). So I'd argue that taking a gap year will probably only improve your prospects, not hurt them. In fact, I imagine most interviewers will be envious of your decision and will say "I wish I had done that when I was your age." And then they'll proceed to ask you more questions about it.


And one last point...if for whatever reason you decide to go directly to college, you'll have ample opportunity for international travel / experiences through study abroad / intern abroad experiences, so there will be other chances for you to get these type of valuable experiences if you decide against the gap year. You can even go back for more international experience after your gap year...double up!


Hope this helps.


Good luck to you!


Geoff


P.S.: "I wish I had done that when I was your age."


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Vivian’s Answer

Hi Joan,


I don't think it would be bad for you to take a gap year, but it definitely differs from person to person. Personally, I went from high school right into college and college right into work. On the flip side, I had friends who took gap years and worked and never went back to college. One thing to remember is, If you know what you want and ambitious to see it through. You are set. Good luck!


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Greg’s Answer

In almost any situation I can envision, it wouldn't matter at all--unless you volunteer, in which case it would count as a definite plus (perhaps hugely so, depending on the company). Taking a year after college might be more of an issue since you could be perceived as having "lost momentum," but even that's unclear. Going first, however, and then coming back and doing well in college...I can't see how that could possibly be taken negatively.


And even if you don't volunteer, just having exposure to multiple cultures, perhaps speaking several languages, etc., is also going to be beneficial in many cases. Companies are becoming more global, so having employees who understand the local culture and potential faux pas situations is a growing requirement in today's economy.


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Ari’s Answer

No taking a gap year will not affect your admission to college/university. In my opinion it will help you to narrow down your interests and better prepare you for going to school to do something that you know you love.

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Jingchao’s Answer

I don't think it would affect your job seeking at all. First of all, which year you start college and graduate is merely relevant to finding a job. Some of my friends even took a gap year after they graduate, which typically people were busying hunting for jobs. After they came back, they got good jobs without any trouble. Secondly, you may have some new self-recognation during the gap year, and maybe you would have some new idea about your future. Last but not least, the experience during the gap year may earn you some memory or skills that you may never get from other experiences.


Thank you! This solved my worry, I do not want to go into college right away and lots of people were telling me it was a bad idea. Daniel Z.

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Ariane’s Answer

Gap years are becoming increasingly popular because they allow college-bound students to explore their world and their preferences before developing a specialization. But it is important to maintain your sense of purpose during the gap year the same way you would while in college - explore what interests you, gain knowledge and experience in areas that are not familiar, build your network.


Researchers tell us that colleges are still adjusting to the trend. They also find that gap years are disruptive: "One telling observation is that many students who take gap years end up changing their intended major after returning. During college, their gap year experiences enrich their courses, strengthen co-curricular endeavors, and animate undergraduate research and creative projects."


Read more: Inside Higher Ed - http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/01/16/more-students-should-take-gap-years-going-college-essay


But, moving forward, gap years may actually enhance job prospects as well as success in college because students can use gap years to help them focus their personal goals and select education and experiential development that better fits their passions and preferences.


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Linda’s Answer

Joan - in today's climate I would recommend a gap year before going to college and med school - I would try to volunteer or intern somewhere so you can make up your mind what fields you want to study. - Linda

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John’s Answer

There may be no better time than now to explore your interests and travel for volunteering. Volunteering prior to going in college will only boost your prospects on the other side of graduation. The experiences you will gain from this time will be invaluable and something that you more than likely won't find in a classroom.


Good luck with whatever you decide to do!


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Jonas L.’s Answer

It depends on what you do during that time. I took several years off, but I worked hard at branding and compiling my skills, which made employers find me instead it being the other way around. So, if you take a year off, create something memorable, solve a problem in the world, and people will gravitate toward you.


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Daniel’s Answer

As an admission counselor and later as a scholarship staff member for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, we never saw gap years as problematic. Just be reasonable, be excited about your time away from school, and keep learning!


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