Rising seniors: 5 must-dos to plan for your gap

Written by Rebecca Barr, Manager of Institutional Relations at EF Gap Year

  • Publish Date: July 2nd, 2020

Use the summer before your senior year to get a jump-start on your gap year plans!

From college applications to sports, and from 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 5 ways to make sure you’re making the most of this summer.

Explore and learn about what a gap year is.

Whether you are a gap year expert or 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.

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. We even have a few sessions coming up that are especially for 2021 graduates planning for next year: our 2021 Grad Gap Year Kickoff was on July 15 (check out the recording here) and our 2021 Grads: Planning for Fall session is coming up on July 30!

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. Maybe you want to get a jump-start on your career in marketing with an international internship. Maybe you have no idea where you want to go or what you want to do! 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 to length of time. And our team of Gap Year Consultants is a great resource when you want to talk through your ideas and learn more about different options!

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 in the college process. 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!

Start the conversation with your parents.

Some parents are 100% on board with students’ gap plans. Others need more knowledge about what a gap year is and 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. And a gap year actually puts 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!

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.


Rebecca Barr

Manager of Institutional Relations at EF Gap Year

Rebecca works with institutional partners to make more gap experiences possible. Having lived, studied, and worked in countries from Germany to Qatar, she loves to use her global skills as a part of the EF Gap Year team to help other young people find their passions through a gap.

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