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Is it worth it to take a gap year instead of going straight into college?

Should you go straight into college if you're not completely sure what to major in, or should you take some time away from school?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Shiloh’s Answer

I advise never taking a break, it’s extremely hard to get motivated again and most people get caught up working and in life that going back to college seems impossible ! Keep your motivation and keep going. It’s not a short or easy road a head. So keep pushing along!
Thank you comment icon I totally agree. I almost took a gap year between undergrad and law school, and I am so happy I did not. I will be graduating next year. Just keep going! Hannah Boylen
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Chirayu’s Answer

Whether taking a gap year is worth it or not depends on an individual's circumstances and goals. However, here are some general benefits and drawbacks to consider:

Benefits of a gap year:
-Time for personal and professional growth
-Opportunity to explore potential career paths
-Exposure to new cultures and experiences
-Opportunity to gain life skills and independence.

Drawbacks of a gap year:
-Potential loss of momentum and structure
-Possible difficulty transitioning back into academics
-The possibility of incurring additional costs
-Potential impact on financial aid and scholarships.

As for going straight into college or taking time away, ultimately, it depends on the individual's level of self-awareness and readiness. Taking a gap year can provide the opportunity to gain clarity on one's goals and aspirations, while going straight into college may provide structure and a clear path towards a degree. It's important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.



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Bassel’s Answer

I absolutely love that idea! I truly wish I had considered doing that when I first embarked on my college journey. It provides an amazing opportunity for introspection, as well as the chance to delve into and explore various options. This approach will undoubtedly lead to a much more fulfilling and enriching college experience!
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Ka’s Answer

Taking a gap year can be fulfilling if you approach it as part of your educational development. You should not take a gap year if you will be hanging out instead of exploring various jobs or volunteer work to discover what you enjoy. Also, you must be disciplined enough to stay the course and come back. As other posters have mentioned, the 1 year can stretch out indefinitely. You will find that a semester's course load will be a piece of cake after working.
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Colleen’s Answer

Yes and no. It depends on you. Too often people take a year off after high school and never go to college, even though they intended to. I took a year off after high school and it was a great decision. I went to LPN school full-time during that year and started college as a nursing major right away. It gave me time to mature. It also gave me a solid foundation before starting college as a nursing major. I'm not sure I would have been successful otherwise. It also gave me the opportunity to earn income as an LPN while in college.
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Aisha’s Answer

Keeping the momentum going is key, I wouldn't recommend taking a break, too often people don't get back in the swing of things.

The decision is yours and yours alone, do what's best for you physically, mentally and emotionally.

There are other alternatives if you decide to take a small break and those options can always be explored.

Good luck on your journey, you got this!
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Sharon’s Answer

I have 3 children in college at this time. One decided on a gap year that turned into 2. It was right for
him and exactly what he needed. It may not be right for everyone.
A gap year offers so many possibilities and learning to get to know yourself and what’s important to you. Not what others think.
College is expensive and it is best when you feel ready to continue your education right after high school.
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Kimanu’s Answer

This would all depend on what you have planned or setup for when you are done with school. Do you have a volunteer program you want to get involved in or a co-op program which may lead you into college the following year? You don't want to be stagnant during the year you plan on taking off. You want to have something lined up that keeps you active, stimulated, and in the the line of moving to the next transition in life. Having a plan would help because you don't want to look back and two or three years have passed by . Don't worry there are many alternatives if you are not ready for college yet. Just try your best to plan ahead , reach out for alternative opportunities, and never stop being involved in something.
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Shalayne’s Answer

I would recommend attending college as soon as possible and not wait a year. Sometimes it can be challenging just to be admitted into a college. It’s ok to not know what career path you want. I would recommend going for your associates. Then if you continue and get a bachelor degree, I would recommend minoring in business even if you’re not necessarily business minded. It’s a skill you’ll use in your everyday life.
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Jayven’s Answer

I took a gap year and it lead to 3 years off. I do not recommend a gap year. I'm currently a college senior that's majoring Biology and working full time. I recommend going straight to school so that you can finish it early enough before adulting really starts. I believe that when I was younger it was a great set up because all I really had to do was focus on school, now I have to provide for myself and focus on graduating which can be harder.
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Andrew’s Answer

Another viable option is to go to a local community college. Try out a few courses, decide if the workload and skills are what you had in mind. If you are planning on going to an in-state 4-year school, many will accept the community college courses as your graduation requirements. The more important question to ask yourself is if what you want to do is even taught in college. If you have an interest or passion in a particular kind of work, talk to people in that profession to find out what they did to attain their role. In my profession, Project Manager, you could literally get any degree (mine is in accounting) and be successful. You actually don't need a degree; you just need people skills to motivate others to do their jobs. Good luck.
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Vamshee’s Answer

Don't take a break of a year. It ll get harder to get back to college after a break.

You can go to community college, try some courses from couple of majors and see what interests you.
You can talk to your friends and family in particular major and find out why they choose it and job opportunities in that major.
One can change the major in college easily and universities will allow them, counselors can help and guide students in choosing the major.

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Kess’s Answer

What do you want to do?

There are other options than college. If you want formal training, consider trade school. If you don't want to go full-time, maybe take a class here-and-there that interests you at a community college. Maybe take a few online courses. Those credits should transfer over and it'll give you time to figure out what you are most interested in. Or go travel. Join the military. Join the Peace Corps.

I joined the military and took college courses while enlisted. I'm now in med school. One of my friends took 2 years off when he realized he simply wasn't ready for college. He's now an engineer. Some people never go to college and are stunningly successful and have the lives they want.

If you figure out what you want to do, it'll give you the motivation to do it.


Good luck! I know this stage of life is full of uncertainties but that means it's also full of opportunities!! You can do it!
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Michelle’s Answer

Interesting question which I can answer from first hand experience. You will eventually discover the answer for yourself, though.

When people take time off from college, it's not so much a choice as it is a necessity. I had six months off after high school till my freshman year at college. I spent this time relocating and living 3,000 miles away from home and establishing residency in a new State. This allowed me time to find housing, employment and visit the college and to apply for financial aid as well as establish a circle of friends. There was never a problem with this.

Again, I had one year off between my sophomore and junior year. I thought I was going to move to a new city but didn't, so I took one night course before going full time because I loved school a lot. I was also working in theatre a lot during this time.

In your particular situation, as you mention, it is based on unsure major choice, I would advise that you enroll and not take a year break because of that reason. It is my opinion that you would have the experiences and the resources in order to make a clearer choice for a major if you start right away . You can take courses in subjects that you think you may like to get a feel for what might suit you.

If you decide to take the year off, there is still no technical problem. Financial aid is year by year, semester by semester and people enter during different semesters. I personally never saw anyone having an issue with this. The school can also guide you through their specific guidelines.

Best wishes in all that you do !

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lillie’s Answer

Hi Finn! I have a strong belief that everyone should get at least an associate's degree regardless of you know what you're going into. With 2-year community colleges, you can get an associate of arts which is perfect if you're undecided. You can still get an associate's degree regardless if you commit to anything or not and you can still take all the necessary classes if you decide to go to a university because they will transfer over. I highly suggest getting an associate's degree as an undecided major first then afterward take a break from school and figure out what you want to do and if you want to continue for another 2 years. There are no time limits on deciding what you want to do with your life so don't feel pressured to make decisions that you are unsure about (it will make you stressed and will cost you unnecessary amounts of money).
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Dan’s Answer

Hi Finn- If you have doubts and are unsure about what to major in or what career path is right for you, taking a year or so off, may be in your best interest. College costs can be very expensive and having little or no sense of a career direction, along with having to choose a major your unsure of, could also be very costly to you in the long run. Taking time off would allow you more time to learn more about what's happening in the work world and help you attain a better sense of career direction. When I went off to college, I had little idea of what I wanted to major in, let alone what career path I wanted to go. Many in my generation never even broached the question, why am I even going to college. We just went, as it was the next expected thing you do after high school. In retrospect, having had more time to consider this, and having more time to work and learn more about career options available, it may well have been the very thing I needed, to choose a better and more relevant major. If you little doubt about the major to choose and/or career direction to pursue, then it would most likely be in your best interest to attend college as soon as possible. All the best to you, in the decisions you make, in pursuit of your future endeavors.
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Brandon’s Answer

I would say take a break if you are unsure of what you want to do and explore possiblities outside of school, or maybe if you tried really hard to get extremely good grades and feeling burned out. Sometimes it is good to take a break and relax and become less stressed. Though, one thing I would say is don't take more than a year off. Like other answers have mentioned, once you take a break, it is difficult to go back to studying. You become lazy and lose the motivation. If you are taking a break from school, I would suggest at least doing certificates to try and get some knowledge in a field, so at least employers and schools can see that you weren't just messing around when not in school.
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