Student and Recent Grads Gap-Year Concerns
Is a Gap Year for Me?
Will I Fall Behind My High School Class?
You may be a chronological year behind your high school peers but you will probably surpass them during your gap year in terms of being able to handle yourself independently in the world. And you may well enjoy yourself far more than they as you explore areas of interest outside the traditional classroom environment. Also, statistics indicate that over half of the students who begin college straight out of high school take more than four years to finish, so you really won't be as out-of-step with your high school class as you might assume.
Will I be too "Old" After a Gap Year Compared to My Freshman College Peers?
After a gap year you may well feel more mature than many of your college freshman peers. However, you are also not as age-bound in college as in high school. The bottom line is that many other students your age and older will be on campus given that over 50% of college students take more than four years to graduate.
Will I Want to Go to College if I Take a Gap Year?
The only person who can keep you from going to college is YOU! If college is your desire and you have the physical and personal resources, you will most likely go to college. Of our Interim students who intended to go to college after their Interim Gap Year, virtually all have attended college. Only those rare persons whose passions became ignited by a gap-year experience that placed them on a path that did not require college chose to, at least temporarily, pass up college after their return.
What Do Colleges Think of the Gap Year?
Most colleges today are very supportive of the gap-year concept as long as the student is doing something valuable with the time. They recognize that students who engage in a year of creative, structured experiences will be more mature, motivated and productive, in short, a far more appealing student overall. In their article, "Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation", the admissions staff at Harvard University strongly endorses the gap year. Fred Hargadon, former Dean of Admissions at Princeton University (now offering a Bridge Year to 10% of incoming freshmen) commented that students need more wisdom, perspective and experience to take full advantage of college and that creative use of a gap year can provide these necessary elements. We have worked with many students who told us that their Interim Gap-Year experiences helped them get into colleges that otherwise might not have accepted them.
What Do Employers Think of the Gap Year?
Many employers both here and abroad believe that a grad who has taken a gap year brings a level of maturity to the work place that far surpasses those who have never taken time to explore themselves and the world. Furthermore, a constructive and well-structured gap year can help grads acquire the real-world skills not often acquired in school, such as problem solving and decision making. These are skills that are critical in the workplace. Many companies in Europe, where the gap year has been around much longer, agree that graduates with these skills are more likely to succeed. Indeed, many employers have started to realize the benefits of a gap year and have begun to implement a career break policy that allows employees to take a "gap year".