Many students opt not to pursue college for reasons like readiness and financial constraint. Have you graduated high school but not yet prepared for college? If yes, then taking a gap year is what you need. If you are worried about how to apply to college after a gap year, there are many college gap year programs you can take.
Other questions include what to do during a gap year before college and which colleges allow gap years. It will be answered in this article.
What is a Gap Year?
Before we dig deeper into how to apply to college after a gap year, let us first determine what a gap year is. A gap year is not a bad thing. Some students may think that it is not a good idea. However, some students need to take it.
A gap year is also a college preparation. It is the time when the students choose not to proceed first to college. Instead, they spend their year traveling, working, or volunteering. For others, it is a year of self-discovery of one’s passion and self-growth. It is an academic break.
Why do students take a gap year? According to The Wall Street Journal, students want an academic break to relieve their burnout. Some students may undergo an identity crisis wherein they still want to know more about themselves.
What to Do During a Gap Year Before College?
Taking a gap year is not a bad idea. It may save you from academic burnout and help you discover more about yourself that will help you improve. Below are some activities that will help you experience a worthwhile gap year:
Apply for work
You can look for work locally. It will help you discover more skills and strategies in life that will help you in the future. You will also learn more, particularly if your work aligns with your possible college course.
If you have the budget, you can also work abroad. Working abroad will not only help you earn, but you will also be able to travel to different places. You will be able to meet new people from different countries and ethnicity. You will learn about their culture and how to deal with them.
Extending your services to other people is also a good activity for your gap year. You can participate in health, nature, and education volunteerism works. If you love caring for the sick, joining a dental and medical mission is a good option.
You may participate in conservation and tree planting activities if you care too much about the environment and help address the climate change problem. Teaching deprived people education is another way to volunteer. You can teach reading and writing to children who cannot go to school. Eventually, these volunteer works will help you feel fulfilled, knowing you’ve touched the lives of others.
Travel is the most effective way of addressing academic burnout. Of course, who wouldn’t want to travel to different places, see beautiful scenery, and enjoy every moment? It is up to you to follow the structured program or have your itinerary. However, traveling abroad can be expensive too. That’s why it is a good idea if you will travel abroad and at the same time work there.
Learn new languages, skills, and sports
Studying different languages is also a good activity during the gap year. By learning a new language, you can put this in your resume. It will also help you in the future as not all people know how to speak and write different languages. You might be curious about the language of other countries.
You can also learn new skills. You may love to write articles, novels, or books. You can pursue them during the gap year. You may also want to join culinary training to enhance your cooking and baking skills. After that, these new skills can be used to start your own pastry or food business.
If you are born an athlete, the gap year is the right time to hone your sports skills. You will have enough time to practice, learn and play more strategies. It will also help you improve how you deal with others through sportsmanship.
How to Get Into College After a Gap Year?
There are many reasons why you should take a gap year. Do not mind the negativity. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you want to take a break from academic activities and do something that may help you discover yourself more. If you are worried about how to get into college after a gap year, here are some tips you can follow:
Do not mind the negativity.
It would help if you were prepared for the stereotyping of other people. They may think you have no future because you took a gap year. Block the negative opinions and only entertain the positive ones. By doing so, you can focus on your goal of getting into college. You will think of the strategies and plan ahead of time for the steps you need to take for your future.
Once you have stabilized your emotions, you can think of what you need to do to enroll. What is the best university or college to get into after the gap year? It would help if you started with your research. It is not difficult because many colleges even recommend their students take the gap year. Below are the things you need to consider when doing your research:
- Do you want to study abroad?
- If yes, what are the possible universities you can get into?
- What are the exams you need to prepare for?
- What are their requirements before the enrolment?
- What are the necessary documents to prepare?
- How will you gather your documents, and where can you procure them?
- What are the financial requirements?
- Do they offer scholarships?
- Would you like to take the early enrollment or the regular one?
The answers to these questions are essential for you to start your journey toward college. You may proceed to the next step once you have obtained the answer and have already decided.
Practice creating great essays.
An essay is one of the requirements before your college acceptance. Before enrollment, it is best that you practice writing great essays. Tell me about the gap year experiences you have. Choose those unique, interesting, and inspiring experiences. Tell them how the gap year improves your life and can help you perform better academically. In this manner, the enrollment officer will be convinced that you deserve to be in college even after the gap year.
Create an impressive portfolio.
What are your assets and strength? Are you good at writing, singing, or playing sports? If yes, then flaunt it in your portfolio. You can even include the highlights of your gap year. It will bring an impression to the enrolment officer that you have found meaning and purpose during the gap year, and the time you spent was never wasted.
Prepare your documents.
You must secure the needed documents for your application. Get your high school transcript of records, diploma, and other pertinent documents. Make sure your GPA and other standardized test results are also on hand. If you need some recommendations from well-known people, you may start requesting them. In this way, you will have a strong application.
What are Some Colleges that Allow Gap Years?
Are you worried that no universities will accept you if you take the gap year? Well, the good news is many universities even sponsor students who want to take the gap year. These universities recognized the benefits the gap year gives to the students. They believe that students perform best after taking some academic breaks. If you are excited to know which universities accept or even provide scholarships and sponsorship for students taking the gap year, it is listed down below:
Harvard University – They encourage their students to defer their enrolment to college for at least one year to spend their year finding their purpose and meaning in life. They even consider up to two years for military and religious service.
Princeton University – Their students take nine months of academic break before they enroll at the university. Their students participate in community-engaged learning at their identified location.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – They encourage their students to take a gap year and even allow the students to request a gap year.
Georgia Institute of Technology – They also allow students to take the gap year, provided they won’t enroll in other universities.
Yale University wants its students to gain meaningful life experiences before they begin college.
Should You Take a Gap Year?
The Gap Year Association is constantly conducting new research regarding the benefits of the gap year. It was also mentioned in the paper that there are universities that encourage students to take a gap year. For example, Harvard University recommends taking a gap year in the acceptance letter. Middlebury College includes words of encouragement from the Dean of Admission regarding the students who want to take a gap year. The University of North Carolina even offered scholarships to students taking the gap year through the Global Gap Year Fellowship.
Thus, the benefits of the gap year before college are well-recognized by popular universities. Some of the identified benefits based on the Gap Year Association research result are listed below:
Most students who have taken the gap year answered the research question that the best benefit the gap year gave them is their self-improvement. They better understand their selves and eventually have a wider understanding of other countries, people, and cultures. They reported feeling satisfied and motivated to return to their studies and later on work on their job.
The students reported acquiring new skills, knowledge, and experiences to help them in their academic majors and future careers. Most students discovered what they truly wanted for their future after the gap year experiences. They can now clearly decide what academic major they want in college.
It has enhanced academic performance.
Because the students found their true purpose after the gap year, it was reported that they performed better academically. It may also be because they have recharged themselves to refocus once they return to college.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Apply to College After a Gap Year?
How to apply to college after a gap year? Well, it is not difficult as long you are prepared for it. However, it is important that during the gap year, you choose the right activity to seek self-improvement. It can be through volunteerism, work, internship, and travel. In this manner, you will find meaning and direction, which is the main purpose of the gap year.
After the gap year, you may begin researching the possible universities where you can enroll. You also need to gather the pertinent documents needed for the enrolment, practice writing your essay, and start gathering recommendations from well-known people. You deserve the rest that the gap year provides, but you also deserve the best future in college after the gap year.