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The GAP Year? A good Idea?

A “Gapper”

Many parents are considering whether their student should go for a “gap year”.   This is a year in which a graduate from either high school or college takes an amount of time – normally for six months or even for a full year – to “do something else”. The student/graduate then is a so-called “gapper”.  The dynamics underlying a successful gap year may be an important factor in the college planning for parents and students.

During this time, students visit foreign counties, take a course (such as a language course or a special interest course) or volunteer to support an organization. Many too decide to spend a year in the work force – earning money and trying to discern what career field they want to pursue.

Gap Year a Good Strategy?

This strategy is prompted by a variety of motivations and a corresponding value that is hoped to be gained. If a college graduate doesn’t have a job offer, this may be an opportunity to gain some new experience; there is a value in “seeing the world when you are able to”.  After a gap year doing volunteer work in Central America, many student have come back truly enriched – although the experience may not directly help them find a job. Conversely, if a high school graduate really doesn’t have a clue about what they need to study, this may be a great time to get some job experience.

So is it a good idea? From our experience, if the value hopefully to be gained corresponds to addressing the motivating factor, then yes! Go for it. If the value doesn’t really address or solve the issue, then one should keep it relatively short.

The testimonies/experiences of gappers that are shared in Susan Griffith’s book, your gap year, are worth reading if your student is considering taking some time off.

About the Author Dija and Robert

Hi and Welcome to the Parents Planning 4 College Family! For years we have been helping families tackle their unique college preparation challenges. We can help reduce your stress and make better quality decisions - and save you a lot of money!

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