What is a Gap Year?
According to the Gap Year Association, a gap year is when students take a year off from schooling to deepen their practical, professional, or personal awareness. Gap years can involve working, volunteering, travel, or simply taking the time to learn more about oneself.
Studies have shown that taking a gap year not only increases college GPAs, but leads to a more satisfying career path. Taking a college gap year is a big decision and does not come without its pros and cons.
Pros to Taking a Gap Year During College
Time to Pursue Other Passions
Having an entire year to discover yourself, your interests, and more importantly, what doesn’t interest you, can bring clarity to the direction you should pursue in the future. A gap year could also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel without restriction or typical commitments that generally arise later in life. In many cases, if you do not take a gap year now, you won’t ever be able to, as careers and family life make it far harder to have that sort of time.
More Opportunity to Work or Personal Development
There’s no doubt financial strain can have a big impact on your quality of life and ultimately, your grades. If this applies to you, taking a gap year to work and save to better afford your remaining time in school can help alleviate that feeling of financial uncertainty.
A gap year during college is also an excellent time to better yourself. Whether it’s learning a handful of valuable life lessons or taking the time to focus on your health or travel, a gap year during college can broaden your horizons and bring more clarity and direction to your life.
Believe it or not, a gap year during college could look great on your resume. Gap years can be used for interning or working for a company in line with your future profession, or volunteering and learning valuable skills a future employer would be impressed by. Using your gap year during college the right way can open up a number of doors for yourself. In fact, it is not always possible to pursue these opportunities if you are committed to four (or more) straight years of schooling.
Cons to Taking a Gap Year During College
When you take a gap year during college, you’re pushing your degree off an extra year. While in the grand scheme of things, 12 months is not going to make or break your future, how you utilize that 12 months has the potential to set you up for success or failure.
Loss of Academic Ambition
Studies show that in most cases, this is actually a myth! Students who take a successful gap year during college often find that they return to school feeling renewed and motivated to finish what they started, even if it’s in a different area of study. Though, if you think taking a gap year during college will result in you losing your academic ambition, perhaps a college gap year isn’t for you. Your best bet would be to talk to a gap year consultant like myself to discern if it is a good fit for you.
It Can be Expensive
Depending on how you spend your gap year, it could come with a hefty price tag. If you plan to travel, be sure to map out your plan before you commit to a gap year to be sure you can afford it. If money is already a concern, know that a gap year is not just for the wealthy, and it’s not just about traveling abroad. One can explore possible careers through internships or even spend a year volunteering.
How Morgan Guidance Can Help
Taking a gap year during college gives a student time to be reenergized and come back ready to take on the responsibilities required of a successful college student. For students who struggle with organization, anxiety or depression, a gap year can include therapeutic support that targets areas of struggle so a student can return to academic studies refreshed and with new skills, prepared for success like never before.
Whether you’re thinking of a gap year yourself or you’re a concerned parent navigating the pros and cons of a college gap year with your child, the experts at Morgan Guidance can help. Our therapeutic and educational planning services are rooted in helping students discover their unique path in life, no matter what challenges they may face. We’ll work with your child to create the best academically and socially appropriate learning environment they need to find success, even if that means taking a gap year during college or exploring other academic opportunities.
Contact Elaine at Morgan Guidance today to discover the difference our educational planning services can make in your or your child’s life.