A gap year is the year that many students take away from school. It's typically done right after finishing secondary school and before going on to college or university. Many students take this time to travel, while others get a job so they can save for their future education. If you're considering taking a gap year, it's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first so that you can make the choice that's right for you.
Pros of a Gap Year
One of the primary benefits of taking a gap year is the break it offers. After all, you've essentially been in the classroom for the last 13 or more years, which can lead to burn out and frustration with the educational process. This break allows you to recharge your batteries and gear yourself up for the next four or more years in college.
As mentioned above, a gap year gives you a chance to save up some money by getting a job. Working full time is very hard when you're taking a full course load, so taking that year away from school gives you plenty of hours to work and put that money toward tuition or housing when your gap year is over and you get ready to head to university.
Another benefit to a gap year is that you can travel and explore the world. Many students pack a small number of possessions and work their way around the world, staying in hostels and making money along the way. This is a great life experience and something that you'll never forget. Your gap year is a great chance to do this when you don't have the work and class obligations you'd otherwise have.
Cons of a Gap Year
One of the biggest problems with a gap year is that many people make big plans, but never end up carrying them out. Maybe that means planning to get a job, but nothing is available other than restaurant work or retail sales. Perhaps you plan to travel, but give it up when you don't have anyone to go with you or you realize you don't have the funds.
Another drawback to gap year is that it can slow down your momentum. If you go right from secondary school to college, you don't have a chance to get used to life without school. If you take the gap year, you might decide to put your degree off longer and longer until life gets in the way and you never get it.
Many gappers have stated that they regretted their decision when all of their friends headed off to college and they were left sort of adrift on their own. If you don't have a solid plan for your year off, it might be a good idea to skip it and simply work on getting college out of the way.
There are several organizations that can help you maximize the benefits of your gap year. Once you make your decision, stick with it and make plans accordingly so that you can get the most out of whatever choice you make.