Like most young adults in America, many of you will go directly from High School to College. While this is a good choice, many of you should put serious thought and consideration into taking a gap year before College, as it will likely help you in the long run.
In many parts of the world, for example in England, and Australia it is really commonplace for graduates of High School to take a year off before starting College. In other countries such as Israel and Singapore, there is mandatory national service, and young men, along with many young women serve in the armed services for a short period. In short there are many countries where it is customary to have a short gap before starting university. Most of the time a short break in time will really help you with your college career.
One of the biggest benefits you will gain by taking a gap year, is that you will be much more mature than most of your peers. It may be really funny for you to hear, but a year is really long time, and you can do all sorts of cool and creative things during that time period. For example, in Australia, it is customary for young school leavers to take a year’s trip around the world. In the process they learn a lot about themselves, and they tend to come back more mature and focused, in comparison with those who decided not to take a gap year. If you decide to travel on your gap year, you will learn more about negotiation, and communication, than any course you can take at college. You will also learn that while you might not like your situation today, tomorrow will be completely new and different, and could be the greatest day in your life.
If travel isn’t your thing, there are always other options. You can volunteer helping those who are less fortunate than you. A good program for this for young people in the United States are the Ameri-Corps. You will receive a stipend, and most, if not all of your expenses will be paid for. You will also have the option to choose what you would like to do, so you can be more certain of what you want to do before starting college. If you like to push your-self hard and are not scared of screaming drill instructors, a good option for all young people can be to join the armed forces. You can join the reserves, and be trained in a skill set. One thing is sure about military service, at the end of your training you will have been pushed further than you thought it was possible for you to go. This makes it a great confidence builder, and many veterans are really successful during college.
With all of that being said, another unsaid benefit of the gap year is that it will give you time to cool off from a school environment. Senior year is stressful for everyone, and sometimes its best to enjoy getting out of a school environment for a bit of time before you go to college. It will definitely help you.
Lastly, if you’re in a financial bind, you should not let this get in your way. There are many grants out there that will help you fund your dream gap year. It will take a lot of work, but if you are determined enough there is nothing that can stop you from having the gap year you always wanted.
In conclusion, while a gap year isn’t always the best option for High School graduates, it needs to be one that is looked at more closely. There are many benefits to taking one.