Use the summer before your senior year to get a jump-start on your gap year plans!
From college applications to sports, AP exams to prom, we know senior year is stressful–make sure you’re taking advantage of the summer before senior year to check one big thing off your list: your gap year plans.
Here are five ways to make sure you’re making the most of this summer.
1. Explore and learn about what a gap year is.
Whether you are a gap year expert or have just heard the term “gap year” for the first time, this is a great time to brush up on what a gap year is all about!
Explore the Gap Year Association website to learn more about the research that supports a gap year, the different gap year options available, and the ways you can plan for your own gap year, then tune into one to watch one of our webinars live or watch a recording of a past session to hear more about various aspects of the gap experience.
2. Brainstorm your gap dreams & goals.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to improve your French while living in Paris. Maybe you know you want to give back by doing service learning. Do you want to get a jump-start on your career in marketing with an international internship? Or do you have no idea where you want to go, or what you want to do?
That's okay! Each person starts their gap planning with different ideas in mind, and the great news is that there is a gap itinerary for everyone. Use the summer before your senior year to think hard about the types of experience you want to have on your gap–from types of program, to location and length of time. Our team of Gap Year Consultants is a great resource when you want to talk through your ideas and learn more about different options.
3. Plan for your gap before submitting your college apps.
Planning for a gap year is part of the process of planning for college. Just like you want to find the college that is the right fit for you, you also want to find the gap program or experience that is right for you. After you’ve researched your gap options and decided on your path forward, go ahead and submit your application and get that acceptance so you can go into your senior year having checked off one item on that senior year checklist!
Going into the college process with that gap year acceptance in your back pocket can even help you: there are many gap-friendly colleges who are excited to admit students who are planning for a gap. There are also a lot of scholarships you can apply for—some colleges even offer special gap year scholarships!
4. Start the conversation with your parents.
Some parents are 100 percent on board with students’ gap plans, while others need more knowledge about what a gap year is and what it is not. It’s absolutely not just sitting on your couch for a year–a gap year is all about experiential learning, self-discovery, and gaining important life skills. Gap years actually put students ahead of their peers, both academically and socially, when entering college.
Share with your parents our article on the “Top 5 Reasons Why Parents Worry About Gap Years (And Why They Shouldn't”, and invite them to watch the recording of our Being a Gap Year Parent webinar!
5. Share the word with your friends.
Now that you know all about gap years, you have an amazing chance to share your knowledge with your friends. One of the biggest fears we hear from gappers before doing our program is that taking a gap means you won’t get to have that same first-year college experience with your friends; however, once students return from the program, all they can say is that their friends back in college have so much FOMO from not taking a gap!
Spread the word about gap years to your friends, and let them know that taking a gap is an option for everybody.
Helen, seasoned traveler and EF Gap Year alum, offers her advice on how to live in the moment while traveling abroad—advice that she practiced personally…