Gap Years are on the Rise: Is this right for you?

 Learn more about what it means to take a gap year!

The Complete University Guide

Learn more about what it means to take a gap year!

  While many graduating seniors have committed themselves to a college, university, workforce sector, or other program, many may still be unsure about what their next steps are. Recently, gap years have gained more popularity as they allow young people to expose themselves to a different culture, gain life skills, root out hidden passions, prepare for college, and elevate job prospects. 

  A gap year, or a sabbatical year, is generally a period of time within a student’s academic career where they take a break before or after higher education. It is an opportunity for young adults to deliberate their interests and aptitudes, as well as partake in developmental activities such as regular work, traveling, or volunteering. 

  Sanderson School Counselor Jill Toborowsky reflects on her personal journey, “To have a year or two extra made me appreciate college a lot more, because the real world is really stressful.” She continued, “Having that time off allowed me to be more invested in my education.”

  According to the Gap Year Association, 90% of students who complete a gap year go on to enroll in a four-year university. Likewise, the organization details taking a gap year directly correlates to increases in college GPAs, and more strikingly is bound to improve job satisfaction. “In short, taking the time to figure out what success looks like is a surefire way to be directed in achieving it,” solidifies the GYA. 

  In addition to becoming more mature and confident in your goals, you can utilize the break to gain real-life experience. Furthermore, your journey can be used to give you a competitive advantage if you do choose to apply to a university.

  Toborowsky continues: “[Colleges] would much rather have a mature, grounded person than someone who drops their classes as a result of not being consistent or decisive.”

  What people do during their gap year is dependent on their passions and what they want to accomplish. One of the most popular choices is volunteering or performing community service.  There are domestic and international options; all of which equip one with valuable knowledge and irreplaceable experiences that will enrich not only your life but that of those you meet in the process. 

  To find out which abroad programs are safe, qualified, and accredited by the GYA, visit their site at, under the tab: Gap Year Resources.

  Others choose to undergo career exploration initiatives or find internships to help them discover and understand what their major would translate to in the “real world”. Some individuals also opt for getting a paid job–in order to gain financial literacy and independence. 

  The final and most characteristic option of the bunch, is a free radical. The whole purpose of a gap year is to provide students with the space to explore the unknown, and a personal sabbatical is one way they can dip their toes in different life-path possibilities. 

  On another note, if you are looking to make an impact through serious dedication and hands-on outreach, you might also consider looking into the Peace Corps. 

  As stated on the Peace Corps website: “Our Volunteers are changemakers, ready to partner with communities to make a difference. Every Peace Corps Volunteer is unique, and so is every Volunteer’s service.”

  Signing up for the missions of this organization is a larger commitment than simply taking a break in your education, but it could be a calling for one who has the urge and motivation to help others through volunteer work. 

  Whether you are looking to take a gap year or want to spend two years in the Peace Corps program, be sure to speak to your assigned school counselor for a more in depth conversation about your options and to procure more resources.