The Gap Year

After considering all of the factors that go into your college readiness decision, you may decide that a gap year is what’s best for you after high school. What is a gap year, you ask?

Technically speaking, a gap year is time taken off between high school and college. For some, a gap year is a necessary next step after high school in order to work and save money for college. Others take a gap year because they don’t yet feel prepared for college, or because they feel like they need time to disengage from academics for a bit and gain more life experience first.

Besides finding employment, people who take a gap year can also travel, volunteer for a meaningful cause, intern in a field they’re interested in learning more about, or explore a trade that doesn’t require an advanced degree. Alternatively, a person can create a unique experience for themselves by combining one or more of these (or other) activities. A gap year can be a great opportunity to mature and develop life skills as well as a clearer sense of yourself, your goals, and your values. It can also help you prepare for the college application process if and when you’re ready.

A gap year can be a great alternative to starting college right after high school, but the decision to take this time off should not be made lightly. Talk about it with your family, close friends, a teacher, and/or a counselor. Consider all of your options before coming to a decision; it might even be a good idea to take some preliminary steps in the college application process (for example: researching schools, going on campus visits or beginning an application for a school if affordable and feasible) before deciding that college isn’t the best option for you right now. And lastly, if you do decide to take a gap year, make sure it is well thought out and planned – not much value can be found in lounging on the couch and watching TV every day!

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.