The choice of a future career is, perhaps, among the most important decisions an individual makes throughout his or her life. Even though a profession may change with the flow of time, making the first step on this path is an essential act. And despite the fact a particular college or university will not necessarily design and determine their future, for many it is true. Assuming a student is left to decide what they want to become on their own terms, and that nobody should interfere in his or her decision-making process, a necessity to select a college—which equals making a fateful decision—requires deep analysis and contemplation. Therefore, taking a gap year after graduating from high school is a reasonable alternative for students who are not yet sure about their goals, dreams, and expectations for the future.
Perhaps the first factor speaking in favor of taking a gap year is that by doing so, a student learns responsibility and how to organize his or her life to a greater extent. Taking a gap year is expensive in terms of travelling (which is one of the main occupations of students during their gap years) or spending free time in some other way. When students realize this simple fact, they usually get temporary part-time jobs to cover the expenditures of future vacations (WhateverResources). They can also collect money for further education to decrease the amount of student loans that they need to take out. All this makes students more self-sufficient and responsible for their decisions, the way they spend money, and organize their time.
The other significant reason for taking a gap year is better academic performance. Whereas many students and their parents are concerned about possible problems with academic performance after taking a year off, recent research proves the opposite. In particular, studies show that students who decide to take a gap year before entering a college had a GPA that was on average 0.1-0.4 higher than those students who enrolled into higher education immediately after high school (FoxBusiness). Researchers believe it is connected to the possibility to choose one’s sphere of interests, and make a more balanced and reasonable decision before choosing what to major in. In addition, another reason why the second category of students often may perform worse is fatigue from studying at high school; those who take a gap year do not experience this problem.
Taking a year off is also a perfect opportunity to see the world and feel completely free of daily routines, troubles, and assignments—students are able make new friends around the world, find inspiration, and dedicate time to introspect about their own behavior. To some degree, this chance is the only one a person may have throughout their his or her life, because in the future awaits all kinds of academic assignments, career choices, family, and other manifestations of life in higher education (Mihaylova). Many students choose to visit countries they know they will never go to in the future; this often provides them with inspiration, different perspectives, broadens their outlooks, and helps them to understand the diversity of the world they live in on a deeper level.
As it turns out, there is no need to rush to enroll in a college immediately after high school; taking a gap year to take a breath and look around seems to be a more reasonable alternative. During a gap year, students learn more about responsibility and organizing their lives, because they have to earn their own money to pay for the leisurely part of the gap year. Students who take a year off usually demonstrate better academic performance than those who enter colleges immediately after high school. In addition, a gap year is most likely the only chance for a person to see the world without being bothered by such problems as loans, assignments, career, and so on.
Mohammed, Ali George. “What Does It Mean to Take a Gap Year?” WhateverResources. N.p., 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
“Taking a Gap Year: What Students Should Consider.” Fox Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/09/20/taking-gap-year-what-students-should-consider/>.
Mihaylova, Jane Kwan. My Personal Gap Year. Somewhereburg: Random Authors, 2012. Print.
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