A gap year is simply a break either before or during college. It is a time when students take a break from formal education to do activities like travel, volunteer, study, intern, work, perform or research. The gap doesn’t have to be a year; it can be as short as a summer or semester, or it may be longer than a year.
- Get more clarity about their career interests and goals
- Have the opportunity to develop and practice organizational and life skills
- Renew a passion for academic coursework and learning
- Gain a sense of maturity and self-confidence
- Develop a broader perspective of other cultures and viewpoints
- Improve their job prospects with employers who want grads with practical experience
The key to a successful gap year is planning. The planning should be done together with your child, always keeping in mind their interests and motivations. A good starting point for researching gap year ideas and strategies is the Gap Year Association. It has an excellent list of accredited gap year organizations, as well as good advice for planning a gap year.
There are also a number of guides you can consult with information to help plan a gap year experience.An important aspect of the gap year planning process is budgeting. ADDitude magazine has recommendations for parents to help plan an affordable gap year for their child.
The increased maturity, self-confidence and life experience that a gap year can confer is well worth the investment if it means a better chance for your child to succeed in college and, later, in a career.