For many students just finishing high school a gap year may seem like a waste of time. Gap years provide incoming college students an opportunity to recoup from their 12 years of the required information and become more well-rounded before entering college. Here are some of the benefits of taking a gap year between high school and higher education.
Develop Your Skills
A gap year is a perfect opportunity to strengthen certain skills that you may need to work on before college. If you are not comfortable with your reading and writing abilities, a gap year is a great time to practice these skills on your own or with a tutor. Practicing these skills can help you get set up for success once you get into college.
A gap year can also be a great time to develop the soft skills that will serve you in college and your career. Soft skills include things like time management, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and creative thinking. Learning how to solve problems is a valuable skill for college. Collaboration is also a key to being successful in college and the soft skills of communication and teamwork can be valuable when having to work with others toward a common goal.
Time management is one of the most valuable skills to have for college. College is most likely the first time that you will be on your own to manage your schedule completely. Time management can help you ensure that you can handle your class load and get to class on time. It can also help you manage your workload so that you can complete your assignments successfully and on time. With all of the extracurricular activities like clubs and sports that most colleges offer, time management can help you make time for the things that bring you joy. Building time management during your gap year will help you get the most out of your college experience.
Build your Resume
Resume building is one of the most useful benefits of taking a gap year. Taking on a job or volunteering is a great way to build skills and valuable additions to your resume. Consider online and in-person opportunities that can add value to your skillset and that looks great on a resume. Getting an internship or job in your expected career path can be a great way to make connections with professionals in your field. It is also a way to gain hands-on experience and skills that can put you a step ahead of the future job market. Building your resume in your gap year can be an investment that will be invaluable once you start applying for jobs in your field.
Find Your Passion
If you are not quite sure what you want to major in or what you want to do with your life a gap year is the perfect opportunity to explore your options. During your gap year, you can try a bunch of different things and see what you love to do. Spend time researching different majors and the career paths that are available with each degree. Volunteering is a great way to try new things to figure out what you may want to study in college.
Most students who decide to take a gap year say that they were able to enter college with way less stress than if they were to enroll immediately after high school. A gap year allows you to relax from the stress caused by your first 12 years of education. You can take a year to catch up on your sleep and make time for the things you enjoy. A year off is the perfect way to refill your tank so you can be ready to take on college.
Taking care of your mental health during your gap year can be a valuable investment for your future college success. Building coping strategies for stress during your gap year can help you get through your college years with resilience.
Earn Money to Help Offset the Cost of College
College can get expensive. Working during your gap year can help you save up money that can offset the cost of college. The more you work during your gap year, the fewer loans you will have to take out and the less you will have to pay back in the future. In addition to gaining work experience, a year of employment during your gap year can help you enter college with sustainable financial backing. The experience of a year of work can help you manage your money more effectively once you enter college.
Bolster your Application
If you did not get accepted into some of your top choices for college, a gap year can help you add valuable things to your application that may increase your chances of getting in. Adding valuable volunteer hours during your gap year can make you more desirable to certain colleges and universities. Gaining work experience may increase your odds. A gap year is a perfect time to retake standardized tests like the ACT or SAT to get a higher score. The additional time will allow you to study more and get the scores you need for entrance into your dream college.
Gain the Maturity and Confidence you need to go out on your own
While you might be academically ready to enter college, you may not be socially or emotionally ready to do so. A gap year gives you the time you need to mature and gain confidence for this new stage of your life. You can use a gap year to practice living skills that you will need when you go off to school. It can also give you the time to feel confident in your decision and in your ability to make the most of your experience. Taking some time off to live and grow as a person may be exactly what you need to be successful in your future college career.