We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.
A gap year is a year off from school, most commonly between high school and college. They’re meant to give students a break from academics and you can use it to work or travel. There can be challenges to taking a gap year, but for many people, it’s worth the time and effort. Here are five reasons to take a gap year.
1. You Burned Out
Your education is essential, but it can also be overwhelmingly stressful. A lot of homework combined with challenging life events or a non-stop schedule can quickly lead to burnout.
Burnout has physical and psychological effects, making you more vulnerable to illnesses. When you burn out, you’re exhausted and can feel like giving up on your schooling. A gap year is a great time to step back and recharge before heading back to the grind.
2. You’re Unsure of the Future
Many high schools encourage students to pursue careers or education right after high school. Some students don’t know what path to take after high school and that’s OK!
A gap year is an excellent time to think over your options. You can explore topics you may want to pursue without the commitment of college or technical education.
Higher education costs a lot of money and you don’t want to end up drowning in debt on a path you’re not passionate about. When you’ve spent twelve or more years in the classroom, it’s hard to move away from that, even if you shouldn’t move straight into continuing education. A gap year gives you a break to think it over.
3. You Want to Travel
There’s a lot of value to travel. You’re exposing yourself to new places and cultures, which can open your mind to new ideas and help you learn new languages. Traveling can enhance your creativity and communication skills, which are assets to education and work.
Once you finish your higher education, you’ll likely busy yourself networking and applying to jobs. This doesn’t leave that much time to venture out and explore the world. If you have the funds, taking time to travel while young can be advantageous to the future.
4. You Want to Build Skills
A gap year is a great time to explore your passions and build skills toward achieving your goals.
If you’ve never worked before, consider applying for a temporary job to begin building your resume. Work experience is a precious tool when applying for internships and jobs in the future. A solid education with work experience gives you a competitive edge over classmates without both.
You can also take the time to study independently to get a better score on a college entrance exam.
5. You Want to Save Money
As mentioned before, college is costly. Without significant scholarships, you’ll likely need to take out student loans that you’ll need to pay off in the decades.
A gap year gives you more time to develop a financial plan for higher education. You can take on some work and apply for more scholarships, putting you in a better financial position than you would otherwise.
Being proactive about your finances will benefit you later when you start your career and build your life.
Taking a Gap Year
A gap year is a valuable tool that you can take right out of high school or within your college experience. The year gives you time to explore your passions, save money and decompress from years of schooling.
Whether you take a gap year or go straight through to higher education, it’s important to do what feels right for you.