Taking a gap year is one of the most increasingly popular pastime for students freshly coming out high school. Basically, taking a gap year means delaying college education by a year to pursue an academic, extracurricular or career-oriented passion or goal. However, it is not advisable for anybody to take a gap year for any of the following reasons:
- You haven’t figured out what you want to do yet.
- You want to use all that time to prepare for college and study for your SATs.
- You want to take a break before you go head-on into another 4-6 years of higher education.
Keeping in mind that colleges look negatively at applicants who take gap years but do not have enough to show for it, it becomes essential to plan out your entire year – something you can do very effectively by simply following these 4 steps:
Start Early: Like almost everything in life, a little head start never hurts. Come up with a tentative plan for the whole year before it even starts – that is, when you’re in the junior or senior year of high school. This will not only help you feel more confident about your plans, but also to stay organized by putting everything in a timeline.
Do Your Research: After you know what you want to do, it is very important that you do your research. Find out everything – deadlines, requirements, fee structures – beforehand about any certificate programs you might plan to enroll in. Other than that, make sure you read up on any opportunities that might come up that could to your profile in any way.
Keep Your Application Game Strong: Remember, at the end of the day, if you don’t have enough substance in consistence with your goals that you WILL BE required to talk about in your applications, there is a good chance you might not get through to your dream college. So make sure that whatever you do (or plan to do) in your gap year, it is a step forward in the direction of the college education you have always dreamed of.
Just Relax & Have Fun: I can not stress this last point enough regardless of how hard I try – Have fun! It’s your time to get creative, get focused and make the best of everything you take on.