After high school, many students go to college without thinking twice about taking a break from school.
It’s easier to stay in the groove of learning and doing coursework when you’re already used to being a disciplined student. Taking a break from school puts students at risk of losing that momentum and structure.
For students considering a gap year, consider what you will do with your time off and speak with a family member, friend, or mentor.
While there may be advantages to taking some time off of school, such as saving money and gaining life experiences, it’s not always the wisest decision.
Learn more about a gap year, the cons of gap years, and how to decide if you should take a break from your education.
What is a Gap Year?
The gap year began in Europe in the 17th century and was only available to elite families.
Students would leave home, get outside their bubble, and learn about the world and themselves before continuing their education.
Now, a gap year is typically a year-long break that a student takes between graduating from high school and going off to college.
However, not all student’s gap year is 12 months long, some may take more or less time off based on their needs and interests.
During this break, students may work, volunteer, or travel and use this time to reflect on their life and what they want to do.
While a gap year doesn’t sound bad in theory, not all students use this time wisely to save money, explore, or better themselves.
If a gap year is used to postpone real life or just mess around, it can be a waste of time and lead to regrets.
What are the Cons of a Gap Year?
If you haven’t planned and organized your gap year, it’s unlikely that it will be worthwhile. A proper and beneficial gap year requires thought, planning, and purpose.
Without a solid plan, students may end up feeling like they’re missing out on life when they see their peers who did go off to college. Especially when their peers have college experiences and stories to share as they build their future.
It’ll be difficult to regain the discipline it takes to be a student once you get out of the habit. When you take a break from school you will no longer be in school mode, where you are used to studying, learning, and deadlines.
It can also be expensive to take time off. While some students use this time off to work and save money for college, others spend their money on experiences and enjoying their present life, without considering their future.
Should You Take a Gap Year—What to Consider?
It may not be the worst decision if you have put a lot of thought into what you would do during a gap year. There is a lot to consider and not a choice you want to make without a plan.
If your gap year includes saving money for school, volunteering or building your resume, and learning about yourself and which degree you want to complete, it could be beneficial to your future.
Students who are motivated and have a good reason for taking a gap year are more likely to go back to school and be successful.
You should use a gap year to find yourself and work towards your future, whether that be through travel and culture or professional experiences.
If you feel positive that this is what you will do with your time off of school and have the discipline to get back into the groove of being a student, it may work for you.
We Can Help You Plan Your Future
Each individual will have their own unique reasons for considering a gap year, making it a highly personal decision.
However, it is helpful to reach out to others and share your feelings and ideas, before committing to a gap year.
Our college planning specialists can help you see the potential drawbacks and benefits of taking a gap year.
While the choice is yours alone to make, we can guide you in the right direction based on what you want your future to look like.