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Is a Gap Year a Good Idea?

Written by

Nicole Rosania

Is a gap year a good idea
  • Publish Date:January 4th, 2024

The decision to take a gap year, semester, or summer before or during college can be a big one, so it’s important to figure out if it’s right for you.

Your situation is undoubtedly unique, but some of the things you’re experiencing and many of the benefits of taking a gap are universal. Let’s get into them so you feel more confident determining if a gap year is a good idea for you. 

Is a Gap Year a good idea to help academic burnout?

When you start school at age 6 and don’t come up for air until age 18, it’s pretty common to emerge decorated, but weary and unsure of what exactly you want out of life. There’s no shame in wanting a little time to rest, recuperate, and refocus. By taking a gap year after high school, you’ll enter or return to college with a greater understanding of what you want to study, which extracurriculars suit you best, and a renewed passion for learning. 

So, is taking a gap year a good idea to help with academic burnout? Yes. 

Pros and cons of taking a Gap Year: Maximizing your college experience. 

College is the first time that you take your education into your own hands. You choose a major, when to take classes, and how to study. It’s important to set yourself up for success during this exciting phase of life. A pro of taking a gap year is that it will maximize your college experience from an academic and involvement standpoint.  

Studies have shown that gap year students earn higher GPAs, take on more leadership roles, and graduate faster than students who go straight to and through college.  

The only con of taking a gap year? You will enter college a bit later than your peers, but in the end—a gap year is a good idea if you want to make the most of these years. 

Taking a gap year is a good idea to encounter incredible new people. 

When you veer off the beaten path and choose a gap year program that matches your interests, you’re bound to meet new people who share those interests. If you travel during your gap, you’ll encounter people from different cultures with unique perspectives. Your gap year internship supervisor and service-learning mentors may influence your life path and serve as references and professional advisors for you in the future.  

You will dazzle future employers. 

Navigating the world on your own before age 22 is impressive. So is plunging into a new culture and learning the language. Even more so is interning with an international company. Gaining work experience can help you determine which field you’re interested in, what type of role, and where the gaps in your knowledge may be. You’ll develop your cross-cultural communication skills, which will help you navigate any new workplace culture. An international internship puts you ahead of the curve and will help your application stand out to future employers.  

A Gap Year is a good idea to discover yourself in the world.

One thing everyone talks about that is not overrated is traveling the world. Experiencing new ways of life—food, dance, music, art, architecture—can expand your sense of what’s possible. As you take in your new surroundings, you’ll be forced to notice how you interact with them and what that says about who you are and who you want to be. A gap year is a good idea for you if you want to discover what you love about other cultures and find creative, respectful ways to integrate these traditions into your life.  

You will become independent, mature, and brave.

Deciding not to go straight through high school and college, but to weave your way through new cultural experiences instead takes self-assurance. That confidence will only increase as you find that the world doesn’t end when you make different decisions from your peers, that if anything, your world expands. Taking a gap year after high school is a time to become your best self, to grow into a more confident, independent, and resilient version of yourself. 96% of students who took a gap year reported feeling more confident and mature. So, a gap year is a good idea if you’re hoping to grow and gain confidence! 

Still not sure if taking a gap year is a good idea for you? Here’s a Forbes article covering every reason you should take a gap year before college. 

It’s ultimately up to you to decide if a gap year is a good idea for you. 

What to do in a gap year is ultimately up to you and your goals. For some people, the momentum that swings them from high school to college is imperative for them to complete their formal education. A gap year program can make all the difference if you feel burnt out, seek purpose, or want to feel more prepared for what’s next. You don’t need to take one at any particular time. You can do it right after high school or anytime during college.  

If you’re looking for gap year programs that will inspire you, help you find yourself, and transform you into a global citizen, EF Gap Year is the perfect fit. We combine immersive international travel with language study, international internships, and service-learning opportunities. Our expert Gap Year Consultants are ready to connect once you’ve decided a gap year is a good idea for you. 

Nicole Rosania

At EF Education First, Nicole brings vibrant stories from our unique and wonderful student travelers alive across our channels to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

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