The Advantages of a Gap Year                                        by Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

Wouldn’t we all like to take a year off to follow our dreams, give service, learn foreign language, or just travel?  Some students do just that by taking a Gap Year between high school and college. Who are these students and aren’t they risking their futures by not going directly on to higher education?

         First of all, most colleges allow for a one-year gap.  If you have applied to college and are waiting for acceptances right now, consider your options. If you want (or should) take a year off, don’t worry. Once the college decisions are mailed (by April 1st), just notify your first choice college and ask them to hold that acceptance for a year. (When you do, ask about financial aid awards in case they have to be reconsidered.)

         Students who take a Gap Year do so for many good reasons.  Some are over-stressed by the rigors of high school. They need time to refresh their enthusiasm for learning.  Others want to explore a hobby that they haven’t had time for in high school. Some students didn’t get the acceptance they wanted and want to reapply. These students can hold another offer, then use the Gap Year to enrich their lives and become better applicants to their dream school. Other students feel they are not ready college and would benefit from working for a year. These are all decisions that are best made within the family.

         Filling a Gap Year can be great fun. What students should not do is take college courses. While auditing classes is allowed, if a high school graduate takes college classes for credit, he/she will have to apply as a transfer student which requires 24 units and can take two or more years to complete!

         Some of the wonderful things students have done during their Gap Years include:  Yeshiva studies in Israel, doing a mission project in Africa, joining a rock band, taking extended high school classes, earning money for college, or working in a lab.  Why not?  If you’re the kind of student with an exceedingly active and creative mind, a Gap Year is just right for exploring your options.  If you’re burned out or not ready for intensive college studies, a Gap Year will help build up your direction and enthusiasm for learning again.

         So consider the path for the optimum you!

Website resource:Gap year options