Is a Gap Year Right for You?

February 28, 2021

Whether formally or planned on your own, the decision to take a gap year is a big one and should be considered carefully.

Students seek guidance from different sources. Professional college counselor Lessa Scherrer, with College Inside Track, does discuss the concept of “gap years” with her high school senior clients and how each student should evaluate their goals. She mentioned that the idea of a gap year tends to worry parents, who fear their child may not return to school. In contrast, gap years are more common in Europe, where the idea of taking a break between secondary school and “university” is much more the norm.

“We saw a spike in gap years when Malia Obama took one in May 2016 and made it much more normal to do so. But a few years later, we have lost that,” Scherrer said.

Scherrer does believe that students should consider a gap year, as she believes that there are many positives:

“It is a time to breathe, mature, and get things settled, with a higher likelihood to graduate in four years from their college of choice. I would encourage them to take a gap. I think it’s beneficial. Apply and get a deferral. Working, saving money, all of that is broadening for kids, especially the high academic achievers who haven’t managed to reach out fully and experience as much out of the textbook,” Scherrer said.

Scherrer mentioned two resources that can provide guidance for those seeking a gap year, American Gap Association, and Gap Year Association.

For Carlmont students looking for more advice, College and Career Center counselor Nina Rasor reminds students that there are resources that the center can offer.  There are informational brochures in the College and Career Center in regards to gap years and military opportunities.

The military comes to campus and visits with students, and the Navy gives students the opportunity to meet and talk with them virtually. With internship opportunities, organizations/companies reach out to the College and Career Center to notify students about information and openings for each grade level. However, Rasor believes that counselors are the right people that students should reach out to for help in post-graduate planning.

While the future looks promising that there will someday be a vaccine for COVID-19 and the path will be clear for students to resume college on the linear path, the experiences of Wong, Hosmer, Knight, and Verma show that there can be a great deal to be learned outside of the traditional four-year college path.

Do what feels right. The college years are the time to get to know yourself and get to know your brain. Take the time to make sure your college experience is as fulfilling of an experience as it can be for you, ”

— Sam Hosmer

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