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The Gap Year: an option prior to college

It’s become known as, “Gap Year,” and it’s a rapidly growing trend among graduating high school seniors in the U.S. prior to entering college.

For an increasing number of graduating high school seniors, a Gap Year may be a viable option.

What should you do if, after graduating from high school, you feel you are not quite ready to enroll in college?  Maybe you have no idea what you want to study or maybe you want to serve in a local or national service community project?

Maybe you have been accepted to your first-choice school but you want to defer for a year?  Is there an option?  There is and it is called taking a Gap Year.

Gap YearTaking a year off before beginning university studies is fairly typical in many parts of the world and is generally followed by students in the United Kingdom.

When I was working in Downtown Boston I often observed, in the early morning, students in red jackets doing calisthenics. They were members of City Yeara Boston-based organization that allowed students to work for one year in community-based projects. The students earned money and gained valuable work experience.

AmeriCorps allows high school graduates to do the same while helping the country to meet its health, environmental and educational needs.

Graduates of AmeriCorps and City Year, receive financial aid that can be applied to meet their future college costs.

There are hundreds of Gap Year programs for you to investigate either at the local or national level.

What should you do if you think you may want to take a year “off” before beginning your college studies?

  • Have a clear idea of why you want to do this and some idea of how you would like to spend the year between high school and college.
  • Discuss with your parents.  Everyone needs to sign off on this.
  • Find out if the school(s) who accepted you will defer admission for a year.  Get the answer in writing.
  • Please know there is nothing wrong or peculiar about taking a Gap Year.  But you need to know why and have a plan.