Taking a Break
Students should take gap years because they can become more financially stable, expand their horizons, potentially increase college acceptance to bigger universities if the time off during their gap year is spent wisely, and become more mature in their year off. The defenition of a gap year is a one year or less hiatus from academic activities to allow time for non-academic activities. A gap year can be very beneficial for students, especially if they are academically burned out after so many years in the school system. During a gap year, students can get a steady job to help their parents pay for college, do volunteer work, travel, or even take independent classes.
By participating in these activities, students obtain skills that they wouldn’t develop without real-life experience.With increased maturity levels and more clarity on what they want to achieve, students return to school with more certainty of their chosen minor and more motivation. Many parents fear if their child takes a gap year, he or she will lose academic motivation and refuse to return to school the next year. Though this is a common fear, 90% of students who take a gap year return to school the following year. Another common concern is their child will not recieve financial aid when applying to college one year later. In 2014, the American Gap Association and the Provisional Members gave away $2,800,000 in scholarship money to students who had taken gap years.
Most parents doubt their child will gain anything from his or her gap year, but 98% of respondents to the AGA’s Gap Year Poll said that the year off helped him or her develop as a person, allowed time for personal reflection, increased their maturity, and helped them become more self-confident. Many parents question the ability of a gap year to increase college admission to bigger schools. When colleges look at a student’s applications and see they took a gap year, this can be seen as a good thing. A year spent volunteering, interning, working, or traveling are all assets to see on an application because it means that the applicant has real life experience and is more certain than other candidates about what he/she wants to major and have a career in. On paper these experiences make a student seem very mature and prefferable to colleges. On occasion, some students even take gap years to pursue a project or finish a task they wouldn’t have had time to finish during the school year such as publishing a book, a difficult science experiment, or a service project the student organized themselves.
When putting this on an application, colleges see that the applicant is a dedicated student even outside the classroom. Gap years can be very beneficial for the motivation, and the person. Students can gain real life experience and maturity all while taking a well-earned break from the stress of school, and returnwith more certainty of what exactly they want to achieve in college and in their life. For these reasons, students should consider taking a gap year.