From prominent college admissions directors, to respected educational journals, to high school counselors, experts in higher education are saying that taking a gap year has enormous benefits for high school graduates. Described as a modern-day rite of passage, a gap year is an opportunity to take advantage of the natural break between high school and college and to unplug from the everyday classroom. It is a chance to reboot and experience a new style of learning; to embark on real work and real-world experience; to gain a better sense of identity, self-confidence, and hone in on one’s ability to be a critical thinker. This formative break can ignite a desire for change, awaken a passion for learning, and expose young adults to multiple fields of study and career paths to serve as inspiration in gaining a direction for college and beyond.
Widness & Wiggins
Gap Semesters: Hitting ‘Pause’ Before College
Emily O’Kelly of St. Helena, California experienced life in Southeast Asia last year through what is called a Gap Semester.
O’Kelly made the decision to defer college for a year while jumping 14,000 feet out of a plane.
“After registering the fact that I just skydived for the first time, I immediately felt a surge of panic as I realized the path I was taking wasn’t the one I necessarily wanted to. As soon as I got home, I ran to my mom and asked, ‘Is it too late to take a Gap Semester with Adventures Cross-Country?’”
Underscoring that deciding on a gap program “turned out to be the best decision I have yet made,” she is now in Ghana working for a social fashion company called Global Mamas.