Gap Years: What Is a Gap Year? Should I Take a Gap Year During Uni?

What is a gap year, and should you take one? We explain the pros and cons to consider along with program recommendations to help you decide.

The end of high school and the beginning of college is an important time in a young person’s life. It represents the end of mandatory schooling, the beginning of adulthood, and for many people, living away from parents for the first time. 

However, this time can be stressful for many. 

There are now 20 million students in colleges across the United States. Now more than ever, students are pressured by peers, parents, and society to go to college — even if that isn’t the best option for them. 

Thankfully, many young people have found solace in taking a gap year. 

You may have heard about gap years, but have questions about them. This article will walk you through all you need to know about gap years, so you or a loved one can better decide if it’s a good option. 

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What Is a Gap Year? 

A gap year is a period (doesn’t have to be a year) between high school and college where a student takes time to learn about the world through experience.

Students can take this time to travel abroad, work a job, figure out what they want to study, or work on an artistic project (for example, an acting student gets cast in a play, and would rather act in the play than go to acting school immediately). 

Related Read: 15+ Best Jobs of the Future: What Jobs Will the World Need In the Future?

Gap Year Benefits

There are plenty of reasons why students should take a gap year. 90% of students return to education after their gap years, so you don’t need to worry about losing a taste for learning.  

Some schools even have programs where you can defer admission. A student can “get in” to a college and not go to school the following semester, instead choosing to take a gap period. Some schools even fund this gap year period, as part of their gap year programs. 

Gap Year Destinations

If you’re wondering where to go on a gap year, there are many options. Students have reported enjoying going on gap years to Ireland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Canada. Going to Europe is a good option because they have many youth hostels set up for young people to stay in for cheap. 

Check out our careers and jobs section if you’re looking to find the right job for you during your gap year.

Related Read: 10 Best Cities for Young Professionals & Recent Graduates to Live In

Gap Year Risks 

If you’ve found yourself asking the question “should I take a gap year?” you should also know about the potential risks. 

While students often return to school after their gap years, that doesn’t mean they do well. Many students suffer in their academic performance and a good portion of students don’t graduate. While some schools allow students to defer admission, many of those schools don’t allow students to defer financial aid. 

What Are Your Values? 

If you’re wondering if you should take a gap year, it’s important to ask yourself what your values are. If you’re dead set on academia and don’t want to see your performance suffer for any reason, it might be best to stay away from a gap year. However, if you value life experiences over academia, a gap year could be best for you.

For more college articles like this one, check out the education section of our blog! And, if you have any questions about gap year programs or thoughts about taking a gap year, let us know below in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Related Read: Why is Travel Important? Here Are 7 Important Benefits of Traveling

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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