Explore your different options and come up with a list to discuss with your parents in a realistic way. Having a detailed plan of your time and budget will help them understand the benefits and details of your gap year.
Should you take a gap year? If you’re looking for programs, chances are you’ve decided already. And now that taking a gap year is more common than ever, there are many reasons to take a gap year. Start your search for programs early by exploring program options before you commit to anything. And, make sure your prospective college will hold your spot during your year in between high school and college.
How to Find the Perfect Program
Many people think of the gap year as simply a time to travel or study abroad, but the truth is, you can get creative and use that time to find and experience something that can forward your career after college. As you search for a gap year program you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What should the focus of my program be: academics, volunteerism, travel, environmentalism, adventure/outdoor, teaching or working?
- What types of jobs am I interested in and how can I find a gap year program that can teach me new things about my prospective fields?
- Do I want a program that’s local, in a different state or a foreign country?
- Should I choose a program that allows me to work independently or in a group?
- Are there useful internships or fellowships that I'm interested in and last for a year?
- Do I want to find a program that also allows me to work part-time or do something else on the side?
- What's my budget for the year?
- How will I support myself during my program if it's unpaid?
- What type of transportation will I need to participate in this program?
Choosing the Right Gap Year Program
After you begin considering these aspects of your gap year, you should explore gap year program sites like Planet Gap Year, CIEE Gap Year and Thinking Beyond Borders. There are many other sites available online, including some options through your high school and college.
Explore your different options and come up with a list to discuss with your parents in a realistic way. Having a detailed plan of your time and budget will help them understand the benefits and details of your gap year. You want your year to be fun, but productive, so make sure you've done your research before choosing a program.
Once you review your options with your parents, find out which ones they think you'll enjoy most and are feasible. Keep communication open with your family since this can be a scary time for them as you: leave the nest if you are travelling, or as you're taking on a new endeavor outside of school.
Ultimately, you want this gap year to enrich your college experience as you prepare for you future careers, so choose wisely!