The Gap Year: An Alternative to Going Directly to College
More and more students are choosing to take a year off between high school and college; this is usually called a “gap year.” Students may spend this year traveling, studying, participating in community service, working, or some combination of these. Taking time off can be a daunting prospect, but Park students who have decided to pursue this option have been thrilled about their decisions. A gap year is a wonderful opportunity for students to try something new before continuing their formal education.
Many students divide their year into several segments. For example, a student may spend three months volunteering at a kangaroo rescue society in Australia and then five months working at a Baltimore women’s shelter. Not all can afford to take part in exotic activities, but there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.
We recommend that students interested in a gap year apply to college as seniors, then defer their college admission for a year. Nearly all colleges allow students to defer; in fact, some schools strongly encourage students to take a gap year.
We strongly suggest that gap years be planned well in advance. Time off is most successful when students think about their interests and plan accordingly.
Gap Year Resources
We have compiled a list of useful books and websites to assist with planning a gap year.