When did you start discussing college in your house? For many families, the expectation of college immediately after high school is non-negotiable, but there is another option. A gap year experience can be the right choice for a student no matter their grades or goals.
Is this right for you? Some thoughts to consider:
- It is not unusual for a high school senior to be overwhelmed and burned out from the pressures of schooling. Some students may be unable to fathom the next step. A gap year offers a purposeful experiential learning opportunity during which they have time to think about the next step; what areas of study they might want to pursue; how to make the most of college; and mentally prepare for a more independent setting.
- Gap year options can be group experiences designed and structured by private companies or independent study options created by the student. A student’s passion or interests can steer them as they consider what fits their personality. They can explore a potential major or get a taste of something they have longed to do but not had the time. The majority of gap year students start by enrolling in a gap year program run by companies who design experiences for this age group.
- Colleges today see gap year experiences as advantageous. Students can apply to colleges and once admitted request a deferral which will allow them to participate in a gap year experience and matriculate after completing the experience. Most colleges are supportive of this plan.
- The vast majority of students who participate in a gap year start college following their experience. They report they are refreshed, more independent and are mentally ready to tackle the challenge of college.
Here are resources for gap year information:
Tips on Trips and Camps, www.TipsonTripsandCamps.com
The Complete Guide to the Gap Year, by Kristin White
Gap to Great A Parents Guide to the Gap Year, by Andrea Wein