A gap year is a year between high school and college where you do what you like before going back to study again. Some say a gap year can give students space and time to decide what they want to do or study in the future, but some believe that a gap year is a distraction and disrupts the learning momentum. Everyone’s situation is different. Before making your decision, let’s look at all the pros and cons.
Find your true passion
Our career or study goal is often affected by the people around us. For example, if most of your friends want to study computer science, you might want to go with the flow and choose this major without thinking about if this is what you are passionate about and want to have a career as a software engineer or web developer after graduation. A gap year is a perfect time for giving yourself a chance to think about what you want to do without influence or pressure from your friends and family.
Gain real-life work experience
We all know that there is a disconnection between the classroom and the real-life workplace. The experience of the latter always comes as shock for many fresh graduates. Having a gap year and a temporary job is a good way to gain real-life work experience that can be valuable for college life. In addition to that, the skills you will learn, such as interpersonal and problem-solving skills will be useful for the rest of your life.
Help with your college fund
The costs of college education has skyrocketed in recent years. Apart from the tuition, there are other unexpected expenses, for example, books, laptop, ever-increasing room and board and more. A full year of work can help you save for those expenses and give you a good head start on your college life. If you have no idea where to start, maybe you can start a freelance business and monetize your skills. If you are good at photography, why not be a freelance wedding photographer?
Give you time to prepare for the entrance exam
The stress of college entrance exams can cause serious burnout. Instead of pushing yourself over the limit and screw up the exam because of stress. You should consider taking it easy and give yourself more time to prepare for the exam.
It seems that having a gap year is good in many ways. However, this is not for everyone, especially if you lack self-discipline. Here are the disadvantages of deferring your study.
Turning your gap year into a long holiday
Making your gap year meaningful and productive requires a lot of self-discipline. If you don’t have a solid plan for it, it will easily become a long holiday. Before the gap year, you should take some time to introspect and write down the goals you want to achieve during the gap year. For example, your goal can be saving x amount of money for college, working in a local library to gain work experience, studying x number of hours a day for SAT. Remember, a goal not written down is just a wish.
A gap year can be expensive
If you are not working during your gap year, you will miss one year of earning as you will be one year behind your peers. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, delaying college for a year now could cost you about $90,000 in lifetime earnings. Before taking a gap year, think about what you are going to do that can justify the cost.
There is no definite answer if you should take a gap year or not. It all comes down to your situation. If you need more time to prepare for SAT so you can get into your dream college, having a gap year would be a good decision. If you want to spend a year volunteering and grow as a person in a self-directed way, that’s great too as you can’t get a similar experience in college. Before making your choice, you can ask some of your friends who have a similar experience, your parents and the teachers in your school. You can also join our mentorship program so you can stay accountable and make your gap year worthwhile and successful.