In a previous post, we talked about some of the advantages of taking a gap year before college. We determined that a gap year is an opportunity both to refine your college and career decision-making processes, and also to rejuvenate your mental energies after the toils of high school. However, there are some concerns that are often raised about taking a year of reprieve and exploration. We're going to go over a few of these here.
$$. WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR MY GAP YEAR?
Gap years aren't always cheap. If you take on a full- or part-time job during your gap year, then this question may already be resolved - you may be able to earn enough money to sustain yourself, and even save a little for the future. But if you decide to travel or volunteer, you will probably require some previous source of income to fund these ventures. This could be money you've saved up yourself, or that your parents or guardians are willing to contribute.
For some parents, this kind of contribution may not be financially feasible, and even where it is feasible, they may be reluctant. Funding a gap year requires a certain amount of trust, and your parents may need some kind of guarantee that your gap year will be productive and worthwhile. In these cases, you may need to draw up a clear and detailed plan of your intentions, emphasizing the benefits you foresee of your gap year, and why you think it will be an invaluable experience. If in the end you are unable to financially sustain a gap year, and it is still something you wish to do, there are some gap year funding opportunities and programs available. Take the time to research these online.
YOU MAY NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
This is some parents' worst nightmare. But while it's true that every now and then a gap year student decides not to go on to university or college, the data indicates that 90% of students return to school within a year, leaving less than 10% who don't go on to resume their studies. Compare this to the 15% rate of students who either drop out or change majors during college. This means that while there is always a small chance that a student may terminate their studies after a gap year, he or she is more likely to quit university because of a poor decision early on. A gap year can help to refine this decision-making process, and gives students the time and mental space to come to terms with their own expectations of themselves.
Plus, if a student decides that he or she doesn't want to return to school after a gap year, is that decision necessarily wrong? A lot of the time when we talk about gap years, we assume it is. But the reality is that not everyone is cut out for university, and isn't it better for them to realize this sooner rather than later? Is it wrong to think that young adults might know themselves better than their parents or acquaintances? By putting a little trust in our students, we may be able to spare a great deal of suffering - and wasted money - later on.