October 21, 2018
For many students, taking that step from high school to college can seem more like a giant leap. Given the vast differences between college life and high school, making the transition is not always easy. This is why it is sometimes best to fill that gap between high school and college with what is fittingly known as a gap year. Every year, between 30,000 and 40,000 students choose to defer their college education by taking a gap year, according to the American Gap Association (AGA).
Here are four good reasons to take a gap year before college.
It can help you feel more independent
Even if your parents were good about giving you responsibilities to help you live on your own, the fact still remains that you were living under their roof being somewhat sheltered. Going from home to a college away from home where you are not only responsible for keeping your grades up, but doing so in an unfamiliar setting with heightened household responsibilities, can sometimes be too much to take on all at once.
By taking a gap year to perhaps, volunteer or get a job, you will still able to learn responsibilities and gain independence, while alleviating some of the stress of taking things on all at once.
It can give you time to decide what you want to study
If you are uneasy about going to college because you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, you’re not alone. In fact, according to findings published by Penn State, an estimated 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as “undecided” and an estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation.
By taking a gap year, it may give you the time you need to decide what it is you’d like to study, so you can spend more time working toward your goals, and less time swimming upstream without much direction.
It can help spruce up your college application
Perhaps you have goals of getting into a high end college or university and need to add a little more bling to your application. Taking a gap year to gain experience in your focus area may have the potential to get into not only your chosen school, but the right program. For instance, if you are planning on applying for an architectural program, spending time traveling the world to study a variety of structures could just be the thing that makes your application shine.
You can earn money toward your education
College is expensive, and a large portion of students graduate with an overwhelming amount of student loan debt. In fact, according to a recent article published in Forbes, there are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone, with the average student in the Class of 2016 having $37,172 in student loan debt.
Taking a gap year to work a job to earn money for college will help significantly offset the cost. You may even end up working for one of these Fortune 500 companies that Collegescholarships.org found give scholarships for qualifying employees.
If you are hoping to spend your gap year in volunteering endeavors, you might be interested to know that there are several scholarships awarded to those who give their time in service.
So, rather than taking that giant leap into college, you might just want to consider walking into your years of higher education with a little help from a gap year.