Why taking a gap year is a great idea: I truly believe education comes in many forms, not just structured schooling, which is why I love the concept of a “gap year”.
For many young men and women, once high school is in the rear view mirror, or close to it, it’s time to think about what’s next. In the past, going to college the following fall was always been declared “the right thing to do”. Things are changing as more students are taking a year off between high school and college, known as a “gap year”.
Many parents might feel uncomfortable with this idea, and in this case, it’s understandable. It can be scary having a child not know what they’re doing. It’s the fear of the unknown and worry that they might not go to school at all. It’s hard for some parents to justify not doing the “typical” collegiate route. Despite these worries, I believe a gap year can be incredibly rewarding for those who take it!
Why Taking a Gap Year is A Great Idea
It Helps with Educational Burnout
One reason to take time off before college is to relax. Let’s be honest, high school is a stressful place! Exams, placement tests, AP classes and the worry over having the perfect grades and extra -urricular activities for college applications, not to mention selecting the right college for a future career, are all on a student’s shoulders. When June rolls around, graduates are able to finally lift their heads out of water. They can breathe again. By taking some time off, young men and women are able to figure out what they want to do, and can go into college feeling refreshed and energized about the new journey they’re taking.
It Saves Money
By taking the time to go out and explore, students learn more about the world, as well as themselves. Understanding one’s self allows for a better idea of what to study in school. Knowing what you want to get a degree in can save both time and money. Imagine changing your major multiple times, extending your time in school, and racking up thousands of dollars in unplanned financial aid debt. “I don’t know”‘s can be costly in college!
It Provides Real World Experience
Taking a gap year requires forethought and planning. Both are great skills needed in the workforce. Students must investigate available options and choose those that appeal to them. What choices exist? Many options are available, including participating in an interesting internship or travelling the world (choices that would make it to the top of my gap year activity list!). There are also many opportunities for English speaking students to live abroad. Often you can earn your keep by teaching students English, and you get to learn and live in a different culture, perhaps acquiring a new language at the same time. All of these experiences hold incredible value to future employers as they teach skills no classroom can.
Today, there are so many programs and opportunities for freshly graduated students and young people, that sitting around doing nothing, isn’t an option most pick. A welcoming to adulthood, and it’s responsibilities, can hold great educational value without an immediate collegiate route. I would encourage students (and parents!) to stop stressing and start thinking about all the amazing possibilities laid out in this world! A gap year can be a great year!
Would you consider taking a year off between high school and college?
About the author: Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki is curious, world traveling mom of 3 boys. She currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and kids. Amanda is the publisher of MarocMama, a blog about raising multicultural kids, food, and travel.