The most common time to take a gap year is right after high school and it’s no wonder why, as the benefits are tremendous. Gap years have been growing in popularity across the world for many years, but have only recently caught on in the US. If you want to jump on this train, one of the best times to do so is right after high school.
In this article we’ll be breaking down why taking a gap year after high school is so popular and why it might be the right fit for you. We’ll also be talking you through some of the most common types of gap years that people take after high school so you have the knowledge necessary to pick the one that fits your goals the best.
What is a Gap Year after High School?
A gap year is a year where you do something different than your normal. For most students who choose to go after high school, this means spending the academic year after they graduate from high school doing a non-academic program, such as traveling or volunteering, as opposed to going straight to college. There are so many different options of what students could do, but after high school is the most common time to take a gap year.
Taking a gap year after high school means that you start college a year later than your peers, but it also means that you come into college having spent a year having amazing experiences. After high school, many students find that this sort of experience fits best into their busy lives since it is a natural transition time in your life.
Why You Should Take a Gap Year After High School?
Taking a gap year after high school and before you start college has so many great benefits that it can be hard to say no to. Some of the benefits of taking a gap year after high school are quantifiable or measurable, but many are simply felt by the students. Most students find that they feel more sure of themselves and ready for college after taking a gap year.
There are a few major reasons why taking a gap year after you finish high school is so common. One reason is that you are giving yourself an extra year to learn what you want to do before you go to college and have to pick a major. You will have an extra year to mature and grow before you enter the stress of a college.
One of the other major reasons why taking a gap year after high school is so common is because this is a natural transition time. It can be hard to put your life on hold and travel or experience something new or give back to a community for an extended period of time. Being able to pause between high school and college gives you this opportunity without making you figure out what to do with a family or a house, like you might have to manage later in life.
5 Benefits of Taking a Gap Year After High School
There are so many benefits of taking a gap year after high school that the list can be endless, but we’ll discuss a handful of our favorite benefits of taking a gap year.
Increased employability post college
Many students who have taken a gap year after high school and before college have said that they think their experiences during their gap year set them apart from competitors once they entered the job market. In an increasingly competitive job market, setting yourself apart can be essential to finding and securing a good job after you graduate from college, and having a gap year under your belt can help you do that.
Increased GPA in college
Students who have completed a gap year before they start college have been found to have higher GPAs, or grade point averages, throughout their time at college when compared to students who did not take a gap year. Taking a gap year after high school really can help you get better grades throughout your time in college!
Better understanding of potential major going into college
A gap year is a great time to test out a potential career path or even a few potential career paths to see if they might be the right fit for you. This can give you insight that can help you choose the best major for you once you go to college. Picking a major can be immensely stressful so having a slight leg-up in that process can be super helpful.
Feeling refreshed before starting college
Many high school students feel drained after finishing up their senior year and find it hard to motivate themselves to go back to school in the fall. By taking a gap year after finishing high school, students can process high school, fully prepare for college, and find new motivation to fuel them through college.
Better understanding of oneself
One of the biggest reasons why students want to take a gap year after high school is that they want to have a better understanding of themselves. Students find that by spending a year doing something that interests you and that you find rewarding is a great way to help connect with yourself and really figure out what drives you. This can be very helpful to know once you get to college.
How to Take a Gap Year After High School?
Taking a gap year after high school doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are so many programs out there that will help you plan and organize your gap year that it’s easier than ever before for students to take gap years after high school.
One thing to do if you are planning on taking a gap year after high school is to apply to colleges as you normally would, just make sure that the schools you apply to will let you defer. Defer means that you get accepted the same year as the rest of your graduating class, but you actually enter the school the following fall. This means that you won’t have to think about college at all throughout your gap year.
After you have decided that you want to take a gap year after high school and you have entered the college application process as you normally would, you need to decide what sort of gap year you want to have. Some places have gap year fairs or places where you can go and talk to representatives from all sorts of gap year programs, but if this isn’t an option for you then start doing your research.
You could create your own gap year, but that option takes the most planning and budgeting so many students find it easier to go with an established organization. Some organizations require you to pay them and they provide you with an experience, such as NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) which will teach you backcountry skills and even backcountry medicine for a price. Other organizations don’t charge as much, but simply will connect you with a place that needs your help in exchange for room and board. These are the cheaper option, but sometimes these can be a lot of hard work.
Other options for your gap year include getting an internship either near where you live or somewhere else to help you learn more about a potential career path, or even getting a job. Some students choose to do some type of remote work so they can travel around throughout their gap year. There are so many options of things that you could do with your gap year, that there really is no set path.
Is It Worth Taking a Gap Year After High School?
It’s hard to answer if it is worth it to take a gap year after high school, since this question has a unique answer for each person. We can say that gap years are becoming much more common and are appreciated much more by future employers now than they used to be.
When thinking about whether taking a gap year after high school is right for you, it is important to consider all the factors of the gap year. You will need to decide if you are ready to leave home and have an independent year. You will need to figure out the finances of a gap year and decide how much money you will allocate to your year. You will also need to pick if you are going to join a program or create your own experience.
If you really are excited about embarking on this project, then taking a gap year after high school might be perfect for you. Make sure you do your research and make the most of your gap year, since many employers will look negatively upon someone who just wastes a gap year and does nothing meaningful.
Wrapping Things Up: Benefits of a Gap Year After High School
There are so many benefits of taking a gap year after high school that it can be hard to sum them up in just one short article. Understanding that a gap year can help you jump-start your college career and have lasting positive impacts throughout your life can help you convince others that taking a gap year after high school is the right choice for you.
Make sure you take your time with the process and find the right program for you, even if that means creating your own. A meaningful gap year after high school will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on all the challenges that college is going to throw at you.