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girl walking through a foreign city during her gap year

What is a Gap Year? Identifying the right program.

Also known as a “sabbatical year,” a gap year is when students take a year off from schooling to deepen their practical, professional, or personal awareness. There are several pros and cons to taking a gap year during college or after high school, as well as gap year programs designed to help make the most out of the year away from traditional schooling.

Today, we’ll walk you through what is a gap year, from the pros and cons to the special gap year programs available, and of course, how Morgan Guidance can help match your child to the best gap year program based on their needs.

What is a Gap Year? Pros & Cons

Taking a gap year can be a positive experience for young adults before enrolling or completing their high school or college degrees, allowing a unique opportunity to:

  • Pursue other passions or find a passion
  • Work and become more financially stable
  • Work on personal development (this can be mentally, physically, socially)
  • Add life experience to a resume
  • Prevent burn out from extensive & rigorous schooling

While taking a gap year can be a positive and beneficial experience for students, there can be some cons to taking a gap year, including:

  • Extending the time it takes to graduate
  • Taking a gap year can become expensive if you plan to travel
  • Some professionals think it can increase the chance of losing ambition academically. We believe this to be the complete opposite, and we’re not alone! Our experience has shown that students come back from a gap year feeling more motivated than ever. 

Gap Year Programs for Personal Development

Now that you know the gap year meaning and what’s a gap year, it’s time to discuss the gap year programs available to your child. The best gap year program will depend on your child’s needs and interests, as well as the goals they are looking to accomplish by taking time off from their schooling. 

We’ve compiled a small list of gap year programs available today. Still, We recommend reviewing the complete list of accredited Gap Year Programs to see exactly what types of programs are available to your child.

Wilderness Rehab for Young Adults Program

Wilderness rehab for young adults are adventure-based programs designed to address cognitive, affective, and behavioral problems by fostering personal and social responsibilities. Wilderness rehab for young adults generally takes place over the summer months and can be a perfect gap year program for students who need some level of mental or behavioral rehabilitation before continuing on their educational journey. At a wilderness therapy program, your son or daughter will be immersed in nature and away from their old habits and damaging routines. Today, there are dozens of wilderness therapy programs students can attend for a period of weeks or even months, depending on their needs and goals.

Warriors Academy

The Warriors Academy is a gap year program designed around personal development and experiential education throughout South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Each Warriors Academy gap year program consists of a variety of activities and tasks to give students the best experience possible.

Journey Home Young Adult

The focus at Journey Home Young Adult is a whole-person approach to care. At this alternative gap year program, teens with emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorders are encouraged to learn independent living and pursue education, helping them get ahead with their goals while providing therapeutic and emotional support. Participants will enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities designed to get them out of their comfort zones, enjoy new experiences, and make friends along the way.

Outward Bound

For over 50 years, Outward Bound has provided experiential outdoor educational gap year programs for youth and adults alike. Many Outward Bound gap year programs are available within the United States, Central, and South America and aim to successfully prepare students to confront their current personal and social challenges while building their self-confidence and compassion for future success.

How Morgan Guidance Can Help

If taking a gap year sounds like it could benefit your child, Morgan Guidance is here to help. Together we’ll identify your child’s strengths, challenges, and future goals and use them to narrow down the best gap year programs or therapeutic and educational planning services to help them find future success. 

Contact Elaine at Morgan Guidance today to discover the difference our educational planning services can make in your child’s life!