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What is some advice for someone taking a gap year and then going to school for their master's?

been in college for 5 years and I want to take a break to go into a masters program.

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Delaney’s Answer

Hi Alexis! The advice here is already amazing, so I just wanted to add my perspective. I did two years of work before getting my master's in my field. I'm so happy I did; working gave me time to live life as a non-student and also gain experience, maturity, and preparedness for my program. The experience I gained in those years have given me a major leg up over my peers that came straight from undergrad. Employers already know I have a track record of being a great employee in the field, which is huge when job searching after graduating!
Thank you comment icon I have to 100% agree with Delaney's response! My small bit to add is find a company you'd want to work for after your master's degree and look into the possibility of tuition assistance through them. This will help alleviate the expenses you'll run into with your master's and help with finding a long term position once you've finished your degree. This is the path I went, Nike Retail management before starting my masters in Human Resources that Nike paid 100% for as an investment in me. After completing that degree I was moved into an HR Position at the World Headquarters due to their investment. Derek Kraus
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Archived’s Answer

You may want to look for a job in a company to pays for you to get a masters degree. In this way, you can get a start in the workforce and also works towards another degree (usually at a slower pace, however). This is a very common approach.
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Kalkidan’s Answer

Hello Alexis
Most people would recommend you not taking a gap and i once did as well. But if you feel like having a gap, then the main thing you should do is to take a fruitful gap where you will work on yourself particularly soft skills and if lucky to join a job it will additionally help you (get to know) more about the area you need to master.
So the only thing i would say is get a rest, work on yourself (mentally and improve your soft skills, Digital skills) where your brain will be exercising and when then after starting your masters program your brain wont be on fatigue instead you will be giving your best with a fresh start. Good Luck!
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Alexa’s Answer

There is nothing wrong with taking a gap year. If you need a break, take it. Use your time wisely and look into different programs, so you can choose the one that best fits you. Also keep your brain sharp, make sure to read and do different thinking activities to exercise your brain!
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Sohaib’s Answer

Like some said above, see if you can find a job that pays for it or a percentage of it. Secondly, taking a year, two or three off school and working is great. It will provide you some direction on what you should be getting your Masters in. Working should be able to help answer some of below:
1- What do you truly enjoying doing? For instance, you got a Finance/Accounting degree and work in FP&A. While working, you interact with Financial Auditors, Investment Bankers, Custodians, Corporate Accountants, Tax Accountants etc. If you want to get out of what you do, you can ask for a transfer but you can strengthen your request by showing that you are getting a Masters in the field you are interested in.
2- What pays well? This is self explanatory. When you work, you get an even better understanding of hours worked and money made. If you like another field that pays well, you can target it and go for your Masters in that field.
3- What will allow to progress and get promoted (if that is what you are targeting right now)? Again, this is self explanatory. You can assess while working whether obtaining a certification or a Masters/MBA will allow to get recognized and move up quickly. Based on that, you pursue the next steps accordingly.
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Jimil’s Answer

Start your career during your gap year that way you have more options once your masters is complete.Taking a gap year before starting a master's program can be a great way to gain new experiences, recharge, and refocus before continuing your studies. Here are some pieces of advice to keep in mind while planning your gap year:

Plan ahead: Decide what you want to accomplish during your gap year and create a plan to make it happen. Whether it's working, traveling, or volunteering, make sure you have a clear goal in mind.

Stay organized: Keep track of deadlines for graduate school applications, and make sure you have all the necessary materials, such as transcripts and test scores, ready to go.

Gain relevant experience: Use your gap year to gain experience in your field of interest, whether it's through an internship, volunteering or working in a related field. This will make you stand out on your graduate school application and give you a head start in your master's program.

Travel with purpose: If your plan is to travel during your gap year, make sure it aligns with your future career goals, like learning a new language, understanding a culture or even experiencing diverse work-life.

Don't forget to Relax: Make sure to take time to relax and recharge during your gap year. It's important to take a break from the demands of school and work to prevent burnout. Use the time to pursue hobbies, interests, and to focus on your well-being.

Stay connected: Keep in touch with your college professors and classmates, as well as professionals in your field. It will help you stay up to date on industry trends, and it will make it easier to pick up where you left off when you return to school.

Plan your finances: Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses during your gap year and plan accordingly. Also, take into account the cost of Graduate studies that you'll face next, so you can plan accordingly.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your gap year and be well-prepared to start your master's program. Remember that the gap year should be a valuable experience that will help you achieve your goals, not just a break between two academic programs.
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Elaina’s Answer

Hello Alexis, this was something I did and strongly stand by my decision. It gave me time to breathe and some time back in my life that I could spend how I wanted that I previously was not able to do with school. This is not a bad thing, it means you are recognizing your needs, acknowledging them, and respecting them in the ways you needed to for yourself. Continuing to push yourself when your body is exhausted may only harm your progress. Listen to your mind and body!
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Steve’s Answer

Hi, Alexis. Taking time away from study is up to you. I liked Stephen's answer (above). Many companies provide support for you if you want further study. You would be adding to your firm by getting more education, so you should show how you could benefit the company, by adding more years of study to your resume. Good luck!


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Lexi’s Answer

Hey Alexis! I suggest that you don't take a 'gap year' before going to get your Master's. I also thought I'd take a gap year but then got in the habit of things and the thought of going back to school after time away is scary for me. I wish I would have continued my schooling rather than taking a break.
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Abigail’s Answer

Hello Alexis! I actually recommend taking a break after studying for so long in order to re-assess your values, goals and perspective. Start learning new skills and hobbies that will be useful towards your career goals such as freelance writing or reading. I started college when I was 15 through a special program and just finished my BS in Clinical Psychology! I am taking a gap year to re-work my game plan through finding better options for my education and career path. Look for new opportunities where you can! Hope this helps!
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Francne’s Answer

Hi Alexis,

If you feel you would benefit and be a better student by taking a break, I would highly recommend you do so. I would also recommend during your break you stay engaged with what is going on in the industry for which you will be pursuing your Master Degree. Subscribing to news feeds, reading articles or attending seminars pertaining to your area of study / career not only keeps you up to date, it can also help sharpen and maintain your interest and needed reading abilities required when pursuing a Master Degree. My best advice is to make sure you have a plan for your break period and continuing your studies through completion. Best of Luck!
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Nicole’s Answer

A gap year can be a great opportunity to work in a field you think you are interested in/related to whatever you wish to study.

For others, once they start making money it is difficult to return to school.

If you take the gap year, make sure you are meeting some goal or purpose, and it will be great.

I took a break between college and my masters in psychology to work as a psych tech. Then another after graduate school to study Spanish in South America before working. I have no regrets.

Good luck, Dr. A

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Victor’s Answer

Hello Alexis,

I agree with some of the comments here and recommend taking a break and reassessing. Along the way, you can possible take on a part-time job or do some researching on what you really want to do. I'd say many people go into their masters straight out of undergrad and realize that their first related graduate job is not something they want to work in. Remember life is not a race, but a journey!
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Alexis,

A gap year is great idea to help you recharge and give you some time to earn relevant work experience in your desired field. However, I would recommend making a plan and setting yourself a deadline to returning. Its so easy for a gap year to become a gap two, three... decade.

Stay engaged, meet with your college advisor, and don't be afraid to reassess as needed. You may get into the "real world" and change your mind. That's okay! Just make it an active decision, not reactive because well now I have too much going on. Find a mentor near your desired field to help you keep focus and look for opportunites.

Congratulations on your accomplishments so far and best of luck in the future.
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Leah’s Answer

Hi Alexis! A gap year is an awesome way to really see if you want to pursue a career in the topic that you are planning on studying. Work experience can be entirely different from an academic experience. And once you graduate from your masters, unless you are pursuing a career in academia, that work experience is what your future can look like. It's better to use a gap to see if you enjoy working in that field before investing your money and time into a degree that may not be useful in the future.

Leah recommends the following next steps:

Talk to people in the field about their experience (finding them on linked in and reaching out)
Look for part time or intern opportunities in the field
Ask any current professionals if you can shadow
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Jessica’s Answer

Take a break! Refresh your mind. I'm 40 years old and I'm 14 weeks away from finishing my Master's degree. I finished my bachelors in 2021 and started my masters in 2022. Its not uncommon. I was so glad I took time to just breath before graduate school.
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