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Is it better to take a gap year or go straight ?

#college #undecided #which #college-major #school

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Natalie’s Answer

Hi Jayelyn!

Everyone's situation is different so it depends. For me personally, I thought about taking a gap year but decided against it. In my senior year of high school I had no idea what I wanted to major in if I went to college. But I thought if I took a gap year I might end up not wanting to go back to school at all. So instead I went to community college and I really enjoyed it! I started out taking general studies. I started to realize which classes were the most interesting to me, and ended up graduating with an associate's in Liberal Arts. I'm now at another school taking graphic design because I've decided that's what I want to do. Community college is much more affordable than universities are, and it's a great place to find yourself and figure out what you're interested in.
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Kelly’s Answer

I agree with the other answers. Dig in somehow. If a bigger college isn't for you quite yet, the community college approach can save time and money. You can take the foundational classes required by most majors and perhaps pursue some professional job shadows at the same time. For my son, we reached out to the professional society for architecture and found a mentor for him. That helped him decide to pursue that as a major.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Jayelyn,

I think that if you can take a gap year, you might consider it, especially if you are undecided about your major. A gap year can give you time out of the grind of school to consider your options. I would even recommend getting a job if it is possible, especially if you have not been employed before. I say all this because I went to school without being really sure about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

During the gap year, I would want you to consider what you want to do for a job. Take into account what your natural talents and skills are. Think about how they can be used in a career. When you think about a career, think about how you see yourself in that career. All jobs are difficult, so you really want to consider what you want to do. And with that, you will determine your major or if you need to go to college. There are some careers that do not require a degree. I would recommend going to college, even if you are career doesn't require it, because it can give you skills and knowledge that you will benefit from.

Gloria
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Clayton’s Answer

Howdy Jayelyn!

Excellent question. And one that so many students grapple with immediately out of high school.
From personal experience, I went to community college immediately WITHOUT A CLUE with what I wanted to do to start my career.
I wasted about a year and a half taking a range of classes to discover my interests and am still paying off student loans. What to consider:
-A lot of scholarships are easiest to apply for when transitioning to college right from high school. Some States also have beneficial programs as well.
-Athletics can also create a more fluid transition immediately to college.
On the other hand:
-Without having a career direction, you can rack up a fair amount of student loan debt figuring it out.
-Without motivation you may end taking time off anyways.

Take a look at your values and where you want to see yourself in 4 and/or 8 years, and plan accordingly. Regardless of what you do, use YouTube and other resources to school yourself on financial literacy to understand what the costs of your decisions are.

Best of luck!

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Julio’s Answer

Hey Jayelyn!

Without knowing more about your situation specifically, it may be hard for me to give you very accurate advice, but what I will say is that taking a gap year may not help with deciding what you want to major in. My general advice would be to go to community college for your first year and take a variety of classes that you feel you are interested in along with core classes that fit any major so that you don't fall behind (Core classes examples: Math, English, History, Political Science). Testing out these different classes gives you a chance to kind of test out the waters, but attending community college also gives you access to resources such as professors who work in those majors so you can ask them questions and academic advisors that you can talk to about what your potential career path is.
Finally, the best case scenario is that you get enough financial aid to go to a major university and you apply and get in, I would say don't lose that opportunity, at MOST universities they require you to take a set of core classes as I mentioned before. My advice would be to go to your dream school or a good school and for your first year, take core classes along with classes that you believe you may like and see if you can turn those into a career, you can take Music, Art, or something more technical like Computer Science or Physics; all depends on what you feel you might want to do. Trust me when I tell you that every major needs to take these core classes so you won't fall behind, you can even take summer classes if you're financial aid is good enough and graduate early or catch up in case you do fall behind.

Now, as an aspiring academic advisor, my advice to finding out your "dream" career is this: if you are having trouble imagining your dream career and you just feel lost and don't know where to start, instead try to figure out your dream lifestyle. Your dream lifestyle would be reached by asking yourself questions like, "What kind of hours do I want to work?", "What do I value most in life" (Examples: Money, Time, A sense of Fulfillment, Giving Back), and "Do I see myself working in this field for then next 20-40 years?".

If you really feel like taking a gap year will be beneficial, whether it's for your mental health and you need a break or you just need time to figure out what you really want to do, then go for it! Just make sure you really think about your decision and try not to get too comfortable and take another gap year, unless you've found a passion that doesn't require college at all.

Good Luck!
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jen’s Answer

It really depends! Think about what you will do with the gap year and why you want to take a gap year. I know some people who took a gap year through language programs and they studied abroad for a year. I know others who took a gap year to work and save financially. It all varies. However, if you can answer these 5 W's you're on a good path - what you're doing , where you're doing this, when you're doing it, whom you're doing this for, and why you're doing it!! Best of luck!!!
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