Is a Gap Year Worth It?

Is a Gap Year Worth It?

Rahima Adnan, Staff Writer

Many high school seniors feel burnt out from four years of AP classes, SAT and ACT Prep, clubs, sports and college applications. As a result, some students have decided to take a gap semester or year.

Ninety percent of students who intentionally declare a gap year head to college afterwards according to data posted by the Gap Year Association. A gap year can be whatever you decide to make it; young people often work, travel, volunteer, intern and/or study a new language during this time. People say life experience is the best experience, but is it worth it?

A gap year could rejuvenate a student after four exceptionally stressful years of high school, due to ever-increasing college admission competition and the pressure to go to a top school.  By the time students graduate high school, some are already completely exhausted.

During the gap time, young people can plan for the future and gain insights about what they are really interested in through internships, jobs, and volunteer work. Many young people combine many of these experiences. Oftentimes, these opportunities end up boosting their resumes.

Paying for college is a major issue for a lot of students and their families. During a gap year, students can work and save money for college by working full time. They can also go to community college.

Students may choose to postpone going directly to college after high school to travel and broaden their horizons. Traveling is a great way to learn more about the world and yourself. Many students find their passion and what they want to major in during their gap year. Global Citizen Year is an international leadership gap year program in which you live in Brazil, Ecuador, India or Senegal for a year. Students can also work abroad doing jobs such as teaching English, being a flight attendant, and as an Au Pair (a nanny from a foreign country) among many more jobs.

An excellent way to learn a new language is to travel to a country where that language is spoken. Students can also choose to study abroad at a foreign university or an American university. Some American universities abroad are The New School in Paris, John Cabot University in Italy and St. Louis University campus in Madrid among many more. Students can also study abroad through most colleges in the US.

Hylton school counselor Mr. Smith said, “Some kids, they need the year to get things in order mentally, financially, emotionally, and physically if they are ready to leave home.”

Gap years can offer significant benefits, but there are potential drawbacks. First of all, it might be expensive depending on what you chose to do. For example, traveling requires paying for plane tickets, hotels or hostels, and food. Having to support yourself for a year abroad can be a challenge. Some hidden costs include paying for visas, transportation and international health insurance.

Malia Obama has received both praise and criticism for her choice to take a gap year before attending Harvard. Although gap years were originally seen as a luxury for the wealthy, organizations and universities are now offering gap year programs that are accessible for all students.

Mr. Fox, a Hylton AP US History and AP Psychology teacher shared he supports taking a gap year for the right reason. ”You have your whole life ahead of you,” said Fox.

Young adults have to make many choices and this choice isn’t for everyone. Some students may struggle and feel left out and behind their friends pursuing a more traditional path.  It might be difficult for some students to return to a more routine schedule of school and studying. At the end of the day, each individual should do what works best for him/her.