The Importance of Gap Year for Students


Don’t think you are ready for college yet,or maybe you need more time to decide what career you want to pursue? Maybe you want to discover more about yourself?  Taking a gap year might just be for you! A multitude of  students are starting to consider a gap year before college for numerous excellent reasons. Taking a gap year can be quite beneficial, providing high school students with more time to learn about themselves, mature and improve themselves, and discover what they want to do with their lives.

The average age a student graduates college is 18. These 18 year old students are expected to select a college major when chances are they barely know who they are, what impact they want to make, or where they want to go in their life. Expecting a student who is barely an adult to choose a career path that can impact the rest of their life can be a quite daunting task for the student. Perhaps taking a gap year could help?

How exactly does taking a gap year help one choose their career path? One source states that in a recent study 60% of students expressed that their gap year either “set them on their current career path” or “ confirmed their choice of career”. 88% of gap graduates said that their gap year increased their employability. So not only does taking a year off help a student discover what they want to do, but once they do discover what it is they love doing they have a chance at increased employment. So what  can you do during your gap year to help you decide on a career and increase your employability?

There are a few main things students can do during a gap year to increase their employability in the future. The initial one being joining a volunteer program abroad or simply volunteering somewhere locally. Volunteering, either in your home country or abroad, can help a individual earn valuable skills for the work field. Say you wanted to become a veterinarian  volunteering at a local animal shelter would be a favorable way to gain some experience with animals. Maybe you want to become a teacher. A lot of schools search for volunteers to help in the classroom which would grand you some outstanding experience with children.

A second possibility is participating in an internship of something that you are interested in. One valuable thing about internships is there is an option for virtually all interests. Some internships will also pay you, so while gaining job experience you are also earning money to pay for college(Go abroad). If you are thinking about a career in journalism you could intern at your city's local newspaper, new station. 

The third, and very easy, thing you can do during a gap year to increase your future employability  is to simply study your options. Research online, checkout books from the library, and really weigh all of the options you have for a career. Take the time to really think about and decide what you would enjoy as a career. Think back to the things you always enjoy doing. Sometimes all it takes is some deep thinking and a little research to discover where you want to go in your life.

Eighteen year olds who have just finished four endless years of high school can sometimes still have some maturing and improving to do. When you think about it most schools just prepare you for the academic side of college. They very rarely teach you about the independence, maturity, social skills, and life experience you will need when attending college. Only a summer to prepare for that seems a bit too much to inquire of an eighteen year old. So a possible gap year may help a student to learn those skills would be beneficial.

Studies show that taking a year before going to college can improve a students maturity and themselves as a whole. Gap students are perceived to be more mature, independent, have more life experience, and are more socially skilled. For example in a recent study 98% of students who participated in a gap year expressed that it helped them improve as a person. And 97% reported that it increased their maturity (Berke).  What are some of the things can you do during your gap year to mature and improve yourself?

One option is to spend your year traveling around the world. There are numerous lessons and skills an individual can learn when traveling by themselves or with a friend. When traveling by yourself you will develop an outstanding deal of independence and develop the skills you need to survive on your own instead of relying on your parents. After traveling around the world by yourself, college should be no problem for you. It is also a great way to have your eyes opened to other cultures and the way things work in other parts of the world. 

If traveling around the world isn’t really your thing another option would be to move out of your parents house and get a job. Moving out will grant you time to learn skills that you will need to reside on your own. Getting a job gives you a sense of responsibility and purpose. You will be held to a certain standard by your boss and if you do not meet these standards there may be consequences. It will also give you practice managing a large amount of money which is a very crucial skill to possess in life. 

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