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Is a gap year worth the break from college?

Or is it dependent on your field/major

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Elizabeth’s Answer

It's likely that your decision to take a gap year could be influenced by your chosen field of study or your personal traits. For instance, I realize that if I had decided to take a break for a year, I might have found it challenging to motivate myself to return to the academic world. Now, do you have a specific reason for considering this gap year? If your goal is to earn some extra cash to fund your college education or to embark on a travel adventure that just can't wait, then by all means, go for it! However, taking a gap year without a clear purpose could be a bit of a gamble.
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Helen’s Answer

Are you thinking about a gap year before starting college? Or a gap year between college years (i.e., between sophomore & junior year)? The reasons to take a gap year may differ for each instance, and the types of gap year activities you would want to consider may also be different. I think the questions posed by Martha are great to consider carefully before making your decision.

For either gap year timing, you may want to see if your college (or if you're not yet in college, the potential colleges you are applying to) have a formal gap year program they offer. Doing an official gap year program can provide you with interesting international or social impact experiences during the year itself, build community with fellow gap year students, and make your transition back to school after smoother.
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Carson’s Answer

A gap year during college is totally valid if you think it would benefit you! Your career choices definitely could influence whether a gap year does or doesn't make sense. For example, if you are pursuing a field where applying to internships is stressful and spots are extremely limited, a gap year may be consequential as you may be out of the loop when you return and miss out on networking opportunities and application deadlines. At the end of the day, however, a gap year can be extremely rewarding and beneficial, especially if you utilize the time off to continue learning and gaining new experiences! Further, if you really need a break from school and academics, it is definitely a good move. Just be sure that you're aware of where you need to be, degree and career wise, when you return and whether there are any steps you need to take to set yourself up for success. Best of luck!
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Martha’s Answer

Hi, this is an excellent question, and you received sageadvice from Elizabeth. To expand/reiterate, you might ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the reason for the gap year? If it is to earn money, be sure you could earn enough that it would be more than the normal increase in tuition and fees.
- Are you just exhausted from school and the college admissions process? If so, might you feel rejuvenated after a summer off?
- Which is more important to you - having a break or progressing with your peer group?
- If you take the gap year, do you have a plan for what to do with it? It could be work, travel, or study, but you should have some structure and objectives.
- Are you interested in a profession requiring advanced study, such as law or medicine? If so, you may want to take a break after undergraduate studies.
- Could you complete your college applications and then defer for a year? Knowing where you will go to college will give you a clearer mind during the gap year. And some colleges have their own gap year programs.

Good luck!
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