A Gap Year?  Really!

Parents often look horrified at the very mention of a Gap Year.   There’s nothing like a year between high school and college to give young people a chance to catch their breath and recover from stresses of coursework, extra-curricular activities, standardized testing, volunteer work, jobs, and the inevitable high school drama.

Dr. Monique Rinere has observed, "On move-in day, I can spot a freshman who’s taken a year off from across the room. They’re much more relaxed, mature, and self-confident. They’ve also had time to think about what’s important to them, which can bring greater focus to their academic work and personal lives, and they tend to make better choices about alcohol, drugs, sex, and relationships. They just have a better perspective all around.  I don’t think there’s a single downside to it!"

  • Self-discovery leads to better decisions.The ability to work and save money and lessen debt options

  • Greater maturity about sex, drugs, partying, etc

  • Diminished anxiety and depression because they are older, wiser and stronger

  • Bigger view of the world and life

  • The outside world is not nearly as scary because they have already been out there

  • Options for foreign study can be assessed with greater clarity

  • The ability to possibly volunteer and live by oneself

  • Volunteering helps students learn to give and produce positive emotional maturity

  • There are very, very few downsides to thinking about, planning and taking a gap year.

Studies have also shown that students who take gap years also have higher retention and graduation rates, compared to their peers who went straight into higher education after high school. 

Planning Your Gap Year Options and Strategy

  • Plan early – You must do your research! You should begin considering your options at the end of junior year/beginning of senior year and talk with your school counselor. This will give you enough time to develop a plan of action. Yale also has a great website with resources for planning and researching gap year options.

  • Know your top-choice school’s policies.   Applying and deferring your acceptance for a year will help keep you on track for admission. Go through the college application process and know your school’s policy regarding gap years and deferrals. Make sure the schools you are applying to have a clear deferral policy and find out if you will have to pay a tuition deposit for the fall term for which you want to enroll. If you decide not to apply now, make a clear plan for when you will visit and apply during your gap year.

  • Make an itinerary – Make sure you have a clear vision of how your year will be spent. Some schools may require a summary of your gap year plans in order to allow you to defer your admission for a year, so make sure you have your plans clearly laid out. A gap year is not a vacation; it’s a learning and growing experience. 

  • Get a 321Go Gap Year Coach who will be there to walk alongside you.  When you need support, someone to think though options with, someone who can help celebrate and enjoy the wonders of your experience with.

321Go has coaches who can help families and students strategize issues regarding gap year decisions. If you are considering a gap year but need expert help finding programs, laying out a clear mission and making sure you have covered all the bases for your deferral process, we can help

This is one of the most exciting times in one’s life.  Having clarity and making sure you know everything is taken care of can make it into one of the greatest decisions of your life. 

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321Go is the most innovative student success program available to help students and parents navigate a successful transition from high school to college.  

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