Whether you want a break from studying, to improve your financial situation, or enjoy unique experiences during this gap, studies show numerous benefits for students, their families, and society from taking this type of break.
Learn Leadership Skills
When looking for gap year ideas, keep in mind that some programs are set up to focus your attention and help develop new skills with your time. Leadership skills are fundamental as you move through college and your future career, so programs and experiences geared towards building quality and compassionate leaders are well worth investigating.
Leadership experiences help you with group projects in college and on the job. They can also improve your future opportunities with skills added to your resume and networking with peers and mentors who share similar interests.
Find Passion and Focus
Too many students jump from high school to college with little idea of what passions can drive their choices for majors, minors and careers. This jump can lead to extending your time in college by changing majors in the middle, losing focus on the work, or even dropping out of school.
Finding these passions during your gap year can help you focus better on your future path and even help you choose the right major before wasting time and money on the wrong one.
For instance, deciding halfway through a degree in English that your skills and passions are more in line with scientific discovery can increase the length of time it takes you to earn a degree and the amount you end up taking in student loans.
A gap year convinces many students that trade school would be better than college or gives them paid internship opportunities to continue their education by choosing a different school.
Gain Practical Experience
Gap years typically occur when a student is mature enough to leave home but inexperienced enough that living on their own can throw a wrench in budgeting, studying and much more. It can be easier to move back home if necessary or ease into living on your own if you are not locked into a school and dorm contract right away.
Practical experience can come from getting an entry-level job in a field related to your career path, from traveling the world meeting new people and cultures, or from taking opportunities to learn and grow from religious institutions, community programs or charities.
Sometimes you can even leverage this practical experience into college credits. For instance, some religious missions will teach you a foreign language, allowing you to test out of those credits when you get to college.
It is common for students to use gap years to ease the financial strain of further education by taking a full-time job and building up savings for tuition, books and rent. There are other ways a gap year can ease your finances, such as helping you test out of college credits, affirming your choice of major, or showing you alternatives to student loans.
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Some of these ideas include paid internships and scholarships at various universities and trade schools. Taking a break from school to work on your financial situation can also teach you how to build and keep a realistic budget, schedule your classes and job around your peak productivity hours, and save money on rent, food or other necessities.
Taking a gap year is more than just a fad for lazy students, and it is becoming one of the best ways for students to succeed in career goals while gaining experience, easing finances and meeting new people.
Not only is this providing you with a much-needed break in studying, but it can also help renew your passion and focus on your favorite subjects. You can even find programs through local institutions to help you travel, learn leadership skills and much more.
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