Taking a Student Gap Year - Ideas, Options, Activities

Today's students generally begin preschool at four and remain in school for the next fourteen years. A student gap year is the optimal way for a student to get a much-deserved break.

Taking a gap year doesn't mean the student is destined to bypass college completely. Many top colleges encourage gap years. They find students do better when they've had that year to refresh and experience new things outside of a school setting.


Ultimate Goal of a Gap Year

The ultimate goal of a gap year is to refresh and experience life. Summer vacation breaks are getting shorter and many teens fill their summer months with one or more jobs. Kids are burning out.

The percentage of anxiety issues in teens has increased. It is believed that 10 percent of all teens have experienced an anxiety attack . While researchers believe that anxiety can be hereditary, there's also a strong link between anxiety in teens and the push for early education. As more districts push preschool attendance, the pressure is on children to start learning as early as possible. Add in the push for students to excel on state and federal testing with No Child Left Behind and it's not surprising that our teens are feeling stressed out.

Teens that go straight from high school into a full-time college program don't have that chance to step back and refresh. That gap year can help put life into focus. You have a year to try new experiences, save up money for your college tuition and find a passion for a job or activity. This can help college-bound teens come up with a major they really love rather than entering college undecided and struggling to come up with a major over the next few years.

Inexpensive Gap Year Breaks

Check your local papers, Craigslist ads and online job search sites for internships. The money you earn in an internship is generally low, but many companies offer college credits in lieu of wages. You can spend a year working in an internship and get hands-on experience trying out different jobs.

Many internships are found with television networks, publishing companies, magazines and radios. You can learn a lot with these internships while gaining invaluable experience in the working world.

Volunteer for a local charity. Spend your gap year break working part-time to save up for college and volunteer your time helping at a battered woman's shelter, a local hospital, nursing homes, Boys and Girls Club or other important organization.

Seeing Foreign Lands

Professional gap year planners help teens plan an extensive trip overseas where they volunteer their time. These gap year trips are more costly, but the experience is unforgettable. You can spend your time helping feed children in third-world countries, living in a foreign country learning the language and customs or helping provide basic medical care to the needy.

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