Many high school students spend four years preparing to enter their college of choice. They take the classes they believe will give them an edge over other applicants and work on improving their GPA and adding impressive extracurricular activities. You may benefit from taking a year between completing your requirements for your high school diploma and starting your college education. There are several benefits of doing so.
1. Refresh and Refocus
Going to college is usually quite an adjustment for everyone. Students who attend public or private high schools must adjust to the new freedoms, structure, and rigors of college life.
When you take a year off between high school and college, you give yourself time to renew your energy and refocus on your education. This is not a year-long vacation. On the contrary, it is an opportunity to prepare yourself for the realities of what to expect as a first-year college student. It gives you extra time to research the universities you are considering and make sure your application is as impressive as it can possibly be.
2. Hone in on a Passion
Giving yourself an extra year to bridge the gap between high school and college can help you decide what you want to do with your life. So much of your high school curriculum was likely focused on basic education and skills needed to pursue higher education. Taking the time to pursue your own passions can help you decide how to best apply the knowledge you have gained.
Many students decide to get a job after finishing their high school requirements. A position that allows you to explore a particular area of interest not only helps you prepare for the training you can expect when you enroll in college, but also lets you start building the work experience section of your resume. Even entry level positions often require some experience. The year you spend working toward something you love can help future job prospects.
3. Gain Valuable Experience
A year off holds a variety of opportunities. Whether you are planning to work, volunteer, or travel, you can gain valuable life experience when you take a gap year between high school and college. It gives you the time to direct your own continuing education before settling into the routine of a structured, focused pursuit. You can learn a lot of life skills that serve you well no matter what academic path you intend to take.
If you have the means to do so, using the year between high school and college to travel can significantly broaden your horizons. Travel allows you to experience other cultures that you may have only read about during your home school education. Experiencing how other people live can help you build independence and empathy as well as other skills that cannot be learned in a classroom.
4. Develop New Friendships
Use your year off to develop personal relationships with people that you would have never met had you not taken a gap year. Friendships are extremely valuable in life as they can provide social stability and also networking opportunities that will benefit you in your future career.
In this digital age, many friendships may begin online. It is important, however, to cultivate relationships beyond the screen in front of you. Join a local club or volunteer group to meet other people who share your interests. Then be diligent about pursuing the connections you make. Make plans with your new friends to get to know them better. The friendships you form during this year can be supportive relationships that last a lifetime.
Your education extends beyond the classroom. After you finish your high school requirements, taking a year off before starting college can have many advantages. Use the year to gain meaningful experience, make new friends, and get mentally prepared for the academic pursuit ahead of you.