Look, studying for multiple consecutive years in a row at university or college can drain the heck out of you, right? You focus on your academic life for far too long, and later on in life sometimes forget to have fun and treat yourself.
That is why when students graduate from college, numerous students decide to just take a year off and have some relaxation time. Some people choose to travel around the world, volunteer somewhere, intern in someplace, or even just relax and gain some experience or develop new skills.
Taking this gap year could be a tipping moment in your life. It might provide you with enough clarity to make the right decision for you about your work life, or it could simply help you catch up on things that have been happening around you. However, we recommend considering a gap year program once you graduate. This article will discuss everything you need to know about these programs.
What is a Post College Gap Year Program?
A post-graduation gap program is a break you take after your college years and before starting the next phase of your life. The next step could be a job, internship, graduate school, or anything else.
These gap year programs have been designed to allow students to gain professional experience. It also helps build new habits and skills, explore different environments, and find their interests.
These post-college gap year programs often last for one to two years. They emphasize your exposure to different environments and experiences before heading to your next step in life.
Moreover, these programs are not limited to the USA alone; some are internationally offered. However, remember that the programs often require training before actually undergoing the program experience.
Is a Gap Year a Good Idea After College?
Generally, students worry about the gap year ruining their opportunities later in in life. Will it sabotage your future? Of course, it will not! It actually is the opposite; a gap year done the proper way works to enrich your life and heart with experiences and opportunities.
Well, you never even know if you will meet people who make a lasting impact on your life. You could possibly get a job opportunity or decide to pursue your Master’s degree somewhere else. While there aren’t rules on spending your gap year, it generally is recommended to spend some time doing a program. You can accomplish something through an experience that will contribute positively to your life.
There are numerous reasons we recommend a gap year for every student. As we all get burnt out during our college years, it feels pretty awesome to get a break from everything for a while and pursue a new aspect of your life. Below are ways on how to take a gap year after college and learn from it:
Experiencing different cultures
While this usually requires you to travel abroad, several outstanding international programs are offered everywhere.
Learn a new language
Learning a second language improves your cognitive benefits incredibly. It has been proven that people who speak a second language have improved memory, problem-solving skills and are critical thinkers.
If you plan on pursuing a graduate degree, then seriously contemplate a gap year post-college. A gap year could help you find your path and help you gain clarity to work better and have a fresher mindset once you hit the books again.
Increase job satisfaction
While this might be a weird one, and you might think that a gap year would be unattractive to employers, it’s actually the complete opposite. A gap year increases job satisfaction, and it could also be a bonus if your employer sees that you have been productive during your year off.
We all really want some fun and peace of mind after years of studying. This might be your golden opportunity to take time for yourself before getting into a job, internship, or graduate school.
How Much Does a Gap Program Cost?
There is no specific amount of money you will pay for a gap program. However, these programs typically cost anywhere between $5,000 to $20,000, which is quite costly for a college student. However, do not let that tip you off and stop considering taking one.
Some gap programs even offer you money if you come and volunteer or work with them. For instance, the federal AmeriCorp offers 75,000 Americans each year the chance to volunteer with local and national nonprofit groups. For a 10-month commitment, you would receive $4,725 as a student for college.
Let’s go back to the expensive programs. While you might think paying $5,000 for a program is too pricy, evaluate your annual expenses right now. If you factor in the amount of money you spend each year on food, rent, transportation, and such, then you might find the program pretty affordable.
Moreover, if you consider a cheap gap year, remember that some countries generally live less expensive lifestyles and have different currency exchanges. Hence, you can easily find a cheaper one, but it might not provide you with the same experience.
We mean that if you are paying less money for a program, then do not expect too much. You probably won’t find a fancy place, have as much support (with housing, visas, and available accommodation), or have an all-inclusive program (food, insurance, and activities).
Moreover, aim to pursue a cheaper gap year program. You probably will have to stay confined to your own country, as travel expenses on their own are quite a hassle. However, that is also an incredible idea. A gap program is still a program that helps you learn more about yourself and the world.
While you may be looking for a gap year after college pros and cons list, the only prominently valid con is the financial expenses that you would have. If you’re working on the side, then this would be less of an issue for you.
What are the Best Gap Year Programs After College?
The concept of the best gap year programs after college is an objective one. While some programs have excellent reviews and rankings, that does not necessarily mean it’s the ideal one for you. The ideal one for you entirely depends on you, your goals, and your preferences.
Evaluate what you want out of your gap year program and where you would rather have it. Also, consider what type of experience you are looking for and how much money you are willing to put into it. All things considered, here are our top picks for post college gap year programs:
Seamester Study Abroad at Sea
This gap year program is one of the most unique programs out there. Are you bored of sitting indoors, working, and studying? Then this might be the perfect adventure for you to embark on. You can travel across the ocean to visit numerous destinations in 90 days and never get bored of one place! It takes place worldwide across multiple countries, focusing on studying ocean voyages abroad.
International TEFL Academy
Are you looking for a way to fund your gap year? Then this might be the perfect fit. TEFL provides you with a certification to teach English abroad and help other students. This way, you can develop your career, and it is an excellent option for cultural immersion. You can do it anywhere in the world.
Raleigh International’s mission is based on the belief that young people have the potential to change the world. Hence the reason for these opportunities! You will tackle poverty, education, and environmental issues through this program. It happens in Costa Rica and Nepal and is one of the first associations accredited by the Gap Year Association.
However, we would like to stress that there is no perfect gap year program. It all depends on your goals and what you are looking for.
How to Choose the Best Gap Year Program After College?
A gap year is surprisingly a common choice among fresh college graduates. It is becoming increasingly more common as the years go by, particularly since things worldwide have been changing at a bewilderingly rapid speed.
Hence, as more and more students consider a gap year, things have changed slightly, and new opportunities have been brought to light. These are things you should consider before choosing your gap year program, as some of them provide unique, accessible opportunities. Here are gap year ideas after college:
- Novel Ideas: Remember that old institutes do not necessarily make the opportunity less meaningful. On the contrary, older institutes will probably have learned the best way of tackling things through experience and trial and error. Hence, do not shake off any new programs from these places, but make sure you check reviews and talk to the staff about them.
- Make Your Own: instead of reaching out to websites and places, you can create your own gap year program. By that, we mean you can follow in the steps of someone you know or follow on social media, or you can contact agencies that do not have official programs. That way, you can target specific institutes you like or even choose the country you want to go to.
- Spend a Semester Abroad: instead of taking a year off, some graduate schools offer you the opportunity of starting a semester abroad before studying at that specific school. That way, you kind of get the best of both worlds, especially if you’re reluctant to spend the whole year not working or studying.
All that said, here are 5 pieces of advice for how to choose your gap program:
It goes unsaid that you should check reviews, but we recommend reaching out to the staff. Hearing advice from people who have experienced it always gives you a better light on things.
Level of Support
Make sure you know everything about how much the organization is willing to support you. Will they provide you with food, housing, transportation, or visa requirements?
Relation to Your Field
If you are considering an opportunity related to your field, find out if the program is known and acknowledged within your field of study before you embark on the journey.
Know Your Goals
Evaluate whether you want a volunteering experience or you just want to relax more than work. All programs generally involve some work but find out what you would rather be doing.
Settle on a Destination
The most challenging thing you will have to do is settle on where you want to go. There are many great programs, but what might make the difference for you is the country or city and what cultural emersion it would provide you.
Wrapping Things Up: The Best Gap Year Programs After College
To conclude, we strongly urge you to consider taking a gap year after college. More specifically, find the best-suited gap year program for you, as that will force you to learn more, enhance your skills, and meet new people.
If you’re still doubtful about whether you should take a gap year or not, remember that students rarely regret taking a gap year. However, students actually often regret NOT taking one.