If you’re feeling burned out from school, you’re probably wondering Should I take a gap year? Or if you’re itching to travel or experience something new, you’re likely asking yourself the same question.
To help you decide if taking a gap year is right for you, we’ve created a super helpful quiz. Take the quiz below and then read on to learn more about how to make the decision that’s right for you!
Table of Contents
- Why take a Gap Year?
- Ideas for Your Gap Year
- Can you afford a Gap Year?
- Do You Have Support for a Gap Year?
- Gap Year: Pros and Cons
Why take a Gap Year?
There are lots of reasons to take a gap year. Some students are just burned out after intense years of school and extracurriculars and stressing about good SAT scores. Others are just interested in seeing a bit of the world before jumping into more years of studying.
If you haven’t already, sit down and really think about why you’re interested in taking a gap year. Are you looking to do some self-exploration? Do you want to see another part of the world? Or are you just unsure of your next step?
If you’re considering a gap year, you should have a clear sense of what you want to do during your time off. Let’s look at some potential ways you can spend your gap year from serving your community at home to venturing abroad.
Ideas for Your Gap Year
Now that you have a sense of why you want to take a gap year, you can narrow down what you want to do during your time away from school. If you’re looking for a new experience or to learn about a new culture, explore options to work abroad. There are often lots of opportunities for students to work as nannies, teachers, or tutors all over the world from Paris to Peru!
Alternately, if you’re interested in a year of service, you should research all the different nonprofits that offer volunteer opportunities domestically or abroad. For example, AmeriCorps offers volunteer opportunities where you can receive a stipend and financial aid in exchange for giving back to your community.
Can you afford a Gap Year?
One of the biggest things to consider when deciding to take a gap year is your financial support. Depending on what you want to do during your gap year, you may need a good deal of support from family or friends. Alternately, if you’re looking to work abroad, you may just need some start up funds and emergency savings. Before you take the leap, consider how much money you’ll need to do what you want to do during your gap year.
Do You Have Support for a Gap Year?
In addition to financial support, you should consider whether you have the support of your family, friends, and teachers for taking a gap year. While others’ opinions shouldn’t dictate what you do, you should consider the viewpoints of those you trust. Family and friends who know you well can help you see whether a gap year would work with your personality and your hopes and ambitions.
On the flip side, however, don’t let anyone get you down if your heart is set on taking a gap year. Be confident in your dream. Set out a clear plan, your expectations for your gap year, and then show the naysayers how solid your vision is. They’ll be helping you pack your bags in no time!
Gap Year: Pros and Cons
Time for a quick recap of the pros and cons of taking a gap year. Feel free to grab a sheet of paper and make your own pros and cons list – sometimes there’s no better way to make a decision than by seeing the options on paper.
Gap Year Pros:
1. Extra time to think about what you want to study in college.
2. Time and space to recharge.
3. Opportunity to experience new places and cultures.
4. Chance to save some money before college.
Gap Year Cons:
1. Lose momentum with your studies.
2. Start college and graduate at different times than your high school friends.
3. May have to reapply for schools and financial aid.
Again, take some time to think about any pros or cons specific to your situation – planning to room with your best friend? Feeling exhausted after a grueling year of classes and varsity sports? And don’t forget to enlist your friends for help—they may think of things you overlooked!
Still wondering Should I take a gap year? Well, ultimately, the decision lies with you. Carefully evaluate your answers to the questions (and quiz!) above. If you take the time to make the right choice for you, you can’t go wrong. Best of luck on your next adventure – whether that’s college or hiking the Andes!
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About Allyson Evans
Allyson earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her JD from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been teaching and tutoring the LSAT since 2007, and loves helping students achieve their goals. She currently practices law in Austin, Texas. When she’s not helping students conquer the LSAT, she enjoys traveling, camping, and listening to live music.
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