By Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki
First daughter Malia Obama’s recent decision to take a year off before entering college has brought the concept of a gap year to the educational forefront. Is a year off between high school and college a good idea or not? Does it make a student more ready for college and life beyond, or does it take a student away from the momentum of studying and learning and make it harder to get on the treadmill?
I decided to take a little dive into the topic, and learned that taking a gap year is extremely common all over the world, although less so in the United States. But even in the US, colleges and universities work with students to let their gap year happen, and Harvard’s acceptance letters even suggest a student do so.
Everything I’ve read suggests that taking a gap year between high school and college can be tremendously beneficial to one’s personal growth. It can launch a young person’s journey of self-discovery.
Gap Year Benefits
Here are some benefits:
- You’ll perform better in college. Gap year students have higher GPAs and are more involved on campus, colleges report.
- You’ll realize what you love before you start studying, rather than changing majors several times.
- You’ll get to have adventures in your prime, while you have no job, no mortgage payments, no burdens.
- You’ll know what’s important in life before most people do. Gap years lend perspective.
- You’ll become an expert at adapting to new places.
- You’ll have something to talk about, with unique, life-changing experiences under your belt.
- You’ll have a shinier resume, especially if you travel somewhere and work during your gap year.
- Life goes by fast and frenzied in high school, and college promises more of the same. A gap year provides time to stop and think and breathe.
- You’ll make new friends from all over the world.
College will still be there when you’re done with all these new experiences, and will probably mean more. Still not sure? Here’s an interesting US News article with questions to ask when considering a gap year.
I’d love to hear your experiences.