Taking a Gap Year After College: Everything You Need to Know

The gap year, it can be a time in your life when you are just graduating college but have no idea what to do to take your next step. However, Americans tend to lean towards going straight into college or straight into work.

When it comes to taking a gap year, only 3% of Americans do so before college. As for taking a gap year after college, it is much more open-ended. You may be asking yourself, should I take a gap year? This is all you need to know about taking a gap year and what you can do during that gap year.

 

What Is a Gap Year? 

Before we can explain the benefits of a gap year, you need to understand what a gap year is. This is the time when a young person takes a year delay from the next stage of their life by pursuing other interests or just general travel.

A gap year typically happens either between the high school and college stages, between college and graduate school, or right before the entry-level career stage. A gap year intends to clear someone's mind before the next stage of life or to see if their journey will take them in a new direction in life. 

 

Pros of a Taking Gap Year 

One of the biggest benefits of a gap year is that it will likely give you more life experience than anything you have done up to this point. When most people pursue a gap year, they do so abroad. That means likely being in a new country, a new culture, and perhaps a new language. It will likely push someone out of their comfort zone.

While they may have lived on their own in college before, that was likely in a controlled environment with people that knew the same culture as you and spoke the same language. Traveling abroad strips you of the privileges that you had in your bubble and can eliminate a lot of your support system. It can force you to be more prepared for unexpected situations, be more organized because you need to have documents like your passport and transport tickets, plus humble you if you go somewhere the economy is not as good. 

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These can all be good traits for a future career that companies see as valuable. You will also be more likely to relate to people, as you will have met people from different backgrounds and possibly even learn a new language to communicate in. 

 

Cons of a Taking Gap Year 

With the pros, there are of course going to be downsides to taking this gap year. The first thing is that it is likely going to be expensive. Unless you are working during this gap year, you are going to have to find the money for a flight, lodging, food, enjoying all of your experiences, and more.

The other main con is that you could lose relatability with your friends. In high school and college, you were all on the same path and going through similar experiences. Taking a gap year forces you to have many different experiences than your friends who are in graduate school or are starting their careers. You are not going to be able to understand each other's pros and cons of the journey and thus could lose relatability and end up growing apart. 

 

What to Do During a Gap Year After College

So, after reading the pros and cons above, you may still decide that a gap year is the best path for you. Now, the only question is what do you do with that gap year? 

Many people around this age use it as an opportunity to travel the world and experience new countries and cultures. Some use it as an opportunity to volunteer and give back in a place where they have never been before. Other people use it to sharpen skills they already have or to see if they want to take a different career path than they majored in in college. 

However, one solution to this problem can be to participate in a gap year program. There are programs in various subjects such as language immersion, teaching, and cultural exchanges. 

Along with that, there are outdoor gap year programs that focus on nature, hiking, wildlife, and more. These could be very beneficial programs for people who are just coming out of school for 16 years. It could be a great opportunity to learn and grow somewhere outside of a classroom. Also, it can give you a lot more exposure to the great outdoors and possibly show you just how big the world is. 

Think about what goals you want to accomplish next year and then determine if a program is the right fit for you. 

Taking a Gap Year After College

 

Ready to Start Your Gap Year?

These are the basics that you should know about a gap year after college. Yes, it can be a financial risk and possibly set you back. However, the life experience you gain from this could help you grow mentally and help you figure out your path in life. 

Are you ready to get started? Sign up for one of our programs today. 

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