What are the benefits of taking a gap year instead of going straight to college?
Because taking a gap year is one of the options for when after students graduate high school, I want to know the benefits of taking one.
A gap year can help provide extra time to figure out your next step vs diving into something blindly. It gives you the additional opportunity for personal development and to decompress after high school.
I have a degree I don't use. You have one chance at college and want to ensure that what you decide to do is something you really want to pursue. You want to understand the costs associated with college rather than blindly taking courses (avoid unnecessary debt). I went directly into college with what was most convenient vs what made the most sense.
18/19 years old is a major stepping stone into becoming an adult. A gap year gives you more opportunity to explore, research, and understand who you are and what you want to do with your life.
I myself started college, realized quickly that I did not know what I wanted to study, because I really didn't know what career I wanted to pursue. I knew I needed to explore life a bit more, and I knew I needed to find out more about myself. So I enlisted in the Army for three years, and it was the best decision I ever made. I learned about life, about me, about what I wanted to accomplish with the time allotted me in this world.
So, the answer in my mind depends on why you want to take a gap year and what you do in the gap year. At your age you still have much to learn about life, yourself, and the role you are going to play in the world. To help you attain that knowledge, choose an activity in your gap year that will challenge you, call upon you to do things you haven't done before, that will help you start to fill in the gaps you may have regarding your place in the world.
So by all means take a gap year, but in that year find a cause that appeals to you and throw yourself into it. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you will learn.
May God bless you, and may your year truly be one of growth, service, and knowledge.
Imagine you're unsure about your path in school. A gap year is the perfect chance to discover more about who you are and explore your passions. You can achieve this through exciting internships, engaging in research, or even joining online courses like those on LinkedIn Learning.
A gap year gives you a break from school to reflect and pursue activities that add to your personal development! Some people use a gap year for volunteer work, to work and save money for college, to travel, or to rest from high school burnout.
Gap years look different for everyone. There are different views on whether you should take on, or shouldn't take one.
Whether you go straight to college or not, what matters the most is:
You form intentions for how you want to use your time after high school.
Intentions for time means having a plan or actionable ideas. It's a way for you to keep steps in mind and maintain your focus on things that are important for your life.
The worst thing you can do is not have a plan: for college 𝘰𝘳 a gap year.
If you don't have goals, you can start off creating some ideas. Check out this guide! https://www.wikihow.com/What-to-Do-After-High-School#Things-to-Consider
If you know you would like to go to college in the future:
1) - You can go to community college and switch over to a four year university.
Community college can help you save money!
Some things to consider are: see if your community college lets you transfer all or at least 90% of your credits over to future schools without many issues.
2) - You can defer your admission enrollment to next year and take the gap year.
Colleges often offer formal admission deferment programs. To defer means to push to a future date, so you can go to college in the future without giving up your spot. Harvard has a program like this, for example.
Some things to consider are: see what the admissions policies are for the college(s) you're considering [look to see what deferment information they have] and follow their requirements.
Here's examples of two colleges with deferment pages:
- UC Davis: https://www.ucdavis.edu/admissions/undergraduate/apply/deferred-enrollment
- UCSB: https://ucsb.intelliresponse.com/?requestType=NormalRequest&source=3&id=1545&sessionId=0420437e-a807-11e7-9854-ebcc3a14928e&question=Can+I+defer+my+admission
Sending you good luck with planning your next steps after high school :)
I will say that sadly in American colleges taking a gap year is not encouraged. Most colleges want you to come straight from high school. If you take a gap year it could affect your ability to get scholarships.
Statistics often show that students who take a gap year do not attend college the following year.
"The latest High School Benchmarks report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows that the majority of students who took a gap year in 2020 did not enroll at colleges and universities in 2021."
I do not agree with this mentality at all. I think it should be encouraged to take a gap year, discover your passions, and know for sure what you want to do before paying for a degree. I think there are great benefits in taking a gap year if you have a plan for the gap year to explore or better prepare yourself for college. However, taking a gap year could end up costing you more when paying for college or hurt your chances of completing your degree.
I think you could take it slow in college and do some exploring to treat it like a gap year. You could look into studying abroad or doing an internship like the Disney College Program where you get to spend a semester working at Disney World or Land.
I hope that helps!
I would highly suggest not taking a gap year and instead going to a community collage and obtaining your basics. This way you can keep moving forward and also knock out some basic classes. You could also go to school part time and work part time while still deciding what you wanted to do in life. I did this my first two years after high school and it was a great time because I really found myself during those few years.
My suggestion to you is to keep moving forward even if its just going to school part time. Its ok if you don't know what you want to do in life yet. That's the beauty of basics since they can go toward any degree path! I know it can seem daunting but overall its easier if you keep moving forward and at least take some basic college classes at a community college.
Good luck on the journey