A gap year may not be a common part of the student experience in the United States, but in other parts of the world it’s almost requisite. How does a gap year work? Easy: after graduating high school, you take a year “off” from your formal education. You travel, you work, you do whatever. But the inevitable question becomes: is a gap year right for you? Here some points to consider.
1. Bigger pockets. If you’re not in school, then you’re not paying a tuition bill, which keeps your pockets filled with that much more cash. A good thing—obviously. Before going to college, you can work full time, for example, and save up in order to pay for meals and books, room and board, or tuition. On the other hand, the longer you wait to go to college, the more expensive it might be in the long run. Tuition rates are on the rise, after all, with no signs of slowing down.
2. A leg up. If you take a year off to work, then your resume is already stronger than most of your peers once you do go to school, which gives you a leg up when applying to internships and future jobs. Then again, if you really do want to go to school but take on a full-time job from the get go, you might get stuck there and put off college for another year, and then another, and then another. Get the picture? Working isn’t a bad thing, though, so do what feels right.
3. Time. Some people just aren’t ready to go to school right away. If you’re one of those people, then by all means: don’t rush into college for the sake of, well, going to college. Go when you’re ready to make the most of the experience. After all, it’s not a cheap one.
4. A unique experience. You don’t necessarily have to work during your gap year; instead, you could travel or get involved in some heavy-duty community service. Without a doubt, all these options are both fulfilling and enriching.
5. A story. No matter what, your gap year will most likely be pretty interesting, and will give you a good story or two to draw on when making new friends.