People’s year off after high school looks different, and what you choose will depend on what your objects are. There are many programs to help you make the most of a gap year before college if you are looking for an option that provides some structure. Some popular ways to spend your gap year are:
When a variety of people think of a gap year, some think of traveling. A year off after high school is a chance to acquire experience and perspective. Also, travel is something that can do that for you. Whether you live abroad for a portion of the year, take a long camping trip in your state, or join a gap year travel program, think about giving a new location a try.
Volunteering can help you get exposure to experiences that might otherwise not be available. Many organized volunteer programs have a cost for arranging and managing the logistics, but you can also find free volunteer opportunities in your career field by reaching out to organizations in your area and showing that you are committed to helping in the long term. Volunteer programs can give you once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and the chance to develop independence.
Add some meaning to your gap year after high school by including some volunteer work.
An internship can be an excellent chance to learn about a career field of interest and gain experience. If you’re someone who doesn’t have much experience but is ready to work hard, be self-motivated, and impress your bosses, this can be a great fit! It can also be a great choice for someone who is very interested in a certain career but has never had any exposure to the field. You can look for internship opportunities through your connections and in your hometown or look for a program to help you find an internship abroad.
Working for a year can help provide the funds to support yourself while giving you a new experience, helping you try a career, and allowing you to have a break from school. One option that appeals to many students is teaching English, as it allows for unique travel opportunities, credentials that can be transferred to any career path, and actual work experience.
5. Studying and Training
I thought we were talking about taking a year off from school. There are lots of ways to study that may help further your goals and education without necessarily following a traditional college path, or only learning in a boring old’ classroom. Semester abroad programs independent of college and focused on career or cultural exploration can be a great option. Similarly, certification courses such as a TEFL course that prepare you to teach English abroad might be a good fit for you.
Of course, the beauty of a year off is that it can be personalized and customized to what you want and need, so the options are almost endless!
Choose adventure; you will never know what you will find.
Useful tips for making your year off after high school successful
If you decide that a gap year after high school is right for you, here are our tips to help guide your decisions.
Ask prospective colleges about their gap year policy
In some cases, all you have to do is ask your admissions office if you could take a gap year. Some strongly encourage it, while others – such as those within the California State University System – don’t let deferment. It is the best time to know either way before applying. “If you are interested in taking a gap year, reach out to the admissions offices of all of the colleges you are considering as soon as possible,” a popular gap year program recommended. “Be sure to also ask the school if you are eligible to receive college credit while on your gap year, many schools will not allow you to take classes, so keep that in mind.” Some colleges can also require you to check-in with them throughout the year. This point can include sending status updates on the goals you told the school you were setting out to achieve.
Think about where you want to be at the end of your gap year, and then set the monthly goals you need to get there. Unlike high school or college, your gap year can only have structure if you give it structure. One great way to make sure you have a successful and productive year is to find a gap year program that matches your goals.
Learning about program options for a gap year before college can help you find the perfect fit for you, or just give you great ideas about how to structure your year off.
The transition from high school can be scary, but lucky for you, almost every adult you know has been through it. You should try talking to college students about why they chose their school or major. Talk to your parents and teachers about the questions you have. Talk to other people who have done the kind of gap year you have in mind about their experience. You might find that talking about it helps you uncover any uncertainties you have that were making you nervous.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Up until now, all your success has been measured by your grade level or your age. Once you hit the so-called “real world”, it doesn’t work that way. A year off after high school does not put you a year “behind” anyone. It is a different path. Don’t spend your energy worried about getting behind, spend it getting further ahead on your path.
Choose a proper plan for your year off after high school. If you are thinking of using a program, complete your application and enrollment.
Set Deadlines and Track your Progress
The high school sets the guidelines for you and keeps track of everything you have completed and learned. Now it is up to you to do that on your own. Set goals for the next year and find a way to hold yourself accountable, such as sharing your goals with a motivated friend or joining a group of students with the same goals and interests. Start keeping track of your accomplishments and achievements so that you are equipped to upgrade your resume, apply to more programs or colleges, and position yourself for your next goals.
Those are the basics, but there is no one-size-fits-all process for college admissions before a gap year. Other variables may be at play and schools may make decisions on a case-by-case basis. For example, theater, art or music majors often have to try out to earn a spot in the program. At some schools, students have to get departmental approval again after their gap year.
Moreover, financial aid can shift. It is significant to check with each college for their policies. Generally speaking, as long as a student’s financial situation doesn’t change across the year, they would still likely qualify for federal financial aid. However, they will need to resubmit the application for the appropriate year of matriculation. Scholarships or grants offered by the institution or a third party may or may not carry over, depending on availability.
If you think that you might want to take a year off after high school, start learning and researching. A gap year may be an excellent investment of your time, energy and resources, but deciding if it is the best choice for you takes dedication. To have a successful year off after high school, you need a plan and a schedule, and get to it!