benefits of taking a year off

Posted : February 5, 2005
Last Updated : May 11, 2020

benefits of taking a year off

Many students head off to college right after high school because that's the customary path. But if you are thinking that you are not quite ready for college or if the COVID-19 pandemic has made you question your upcoming college plans, then you may want to consider taking a year off to gain work experience or improve upon your studying skills. Check out the following benefits of taking a gap year before you begin college.

You will become more focused.

When you take a year off to discover who you really are, you will be more focused on what you want to do with the rest of your life. Many students, who thought they knew what they wanted to major in, realized that they did not enjoy working in their presumed major after they delved into their gap year of full-time work. These students were able to take the rest of their gap year to explore different jobs in order to find out what they wanted to major in at college. If you are not exactly sure what you would like to major in, then consider taking a year off to explore different career fields.

You will be academically prepared for college.

Students who lack basic study skills may run into difficulties at college. If you feel that your grades or your study skills are not up to par by the time you graduate from high school, then you may want to consider taking a gap year to improve yourself academically. Contemplate the option of enrolling in a postgraduate program to enhance your concentrated studying. There are many programs that offer refresher courses in algebra, geometry, English, etc. Some programs even offer introductory college-level classes. These postgraduate programs can help students master the art of college writing and studying and can possibly help students boost their grades before applying to college.

You will have an appreciation for college.

If you are going to college because that's what your parents want you to do, then you may have a hard time appreciating what college has to offer you. A gap year may shed a new light on college. Consider the following situation: You take a year off from college to work full time. You work long hours with very low pay. It won't take you very long to realize that in order to get ahead in life, you need a college degree. When your gap year is over, you will have a new appreciation for college and know that you really want to be there instead of just going because that is what is expected.

You will become more mature.

Students who take a year off before they enter college mature earlier than their peers who come straight to college from high school. Taking a year off to work full time or travel to foreign places (depending on if borders reopen for foreign travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic) will give you real world experience. Think about how much you would mature if you got to travel to Ghana by yourself and teach English to school children or if you got to explore South East Asia by working in the rain forests. On so many levels, you develop a certain maturity when traveling on your own and experiencing new people and customs. That maturity will allow you to become excited about going to college and allow you to get through the social and intellectual stressors of the four or more intense years to come.


Remember that taking a gap year isn't for everyone. If you already know exactly what you want to major in and you think that you are mature enough for the work that comes along with college, then you probably want to continue on to college right after high school. Weigh out your options and pick the best decision for you. If you do decide to take a year off, it is best to apply to college during your senior year of high school. After you receive an acceptance to the college, you can request to have the acceptance deferred for one year. Some colleges will allow you to defer; others will request that you reapply. Be sure to make a plan and set goals for your gap year. Decide on an activity that will be beneficial for you in the long run such as exploring different career paths, improving your study skills, or volunteering in a foreign country. Whatever you decide to do, one thing is for certain: you will enroll in college a changed person.

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