Does a Gap Year Make Sense for Your Recent High School Graduate?

Is a Postgraduate Program Right for You?

8/24/22

Higher education is an important step in the life of an academic, and it’s certainly time-consuming and expensive. Building a future career often involves taking this step and honing a craft or skill that one can carry on to a profession of choice. Although this is an easy choice for many, not every student leaves high school with a set vision of their future education.

For the students who want to explore a little further and get a better idea of what’s right for them, a gap year is the perfect option. A gap year gives a student time to reflect on their future, take time to explore and grow in areas of interest, and set themselves up for success.

Although some may not find higher education a necessity at the end of their journey, many will use this year to curate their experience at college or university with a focus and purpose. Laurel Springs is here to help guide you through the gap year option and weigh out the pros and cons.

The pros and cons of taking a gap year

Pros

College coursework is far more rigorous than that of high school, and plenty of students could use a gap year to further develop skills in academic areas of interest. This often comes in the form of postgraduate programs (gap year programs), but also can take shape in internships and volunteering. Gap year programs are a fantastic way to stay in shape during "time off."

Internships can position your student to be a top contender in further career and academic opportunities throughout higher education. It also sets them up for a higher acceptance rate, as colleges will certainly notice their commitment and maturity for doing so. Postgraduate programs instill the confidence that your child may need to take the next step in their education. These programs prepare students for the intensity of a college education and set them up with the habits they need to succeed.

Personal growth is also a factor in taking time off, as some children simply are not mature enough to enter the higher education climate. In these cases, the time to develop life skills and pick up outside passions like volunteering can be vital to their success. Volunteering and travel are both wonderful options to expand a students’ mind and expose them to new environments. Studying abroad can also be a wonderful way to expand a student's mind.

Gap years also give a student time to plan. Options for college are numerous to say the least, and figuring out a tuition, campus, and education that works for the individual applying is beyond important. Sometimes, a student just isn't ready to do this in highschool. That's why a gap year can help!

College students in the United States enter a world with far higher responsibilities than that of a high schooler. Sometimes, it's best to acknowledge when a student just isn't ready. In fact, this can be an ample opportunity to develop necessary skills, and even work experience. A steady job, learning a foreign language, joining americorps-all can be great options for gap year students to grow personally and professionally. 

No matter the reasoning for a gap year, the way your child uses their time will dictate its importance. A year on a couch is not as effective as a year abroad, and even a year of maintaining a local job can tap into the maturity they need to succeed. Try to be a helpful guide in understanding your child’s goals, and you will see them flourish!

Cons

Just like a gap on a resume, it’s often expected that students explain their time off. For this exact reason, you’ll need to have a game plan set in place when your child does feel comfortable applying. Why did they take the year? What did they do during it? A gap year might feel like a nice break, but when it lacks intent, it can lead to an enrollment management or admissions team having some questions. The best way to handle this is to be ready for those questions.

Another issue with taking a gap year is losing some vital skills. Soaking up knowledge through school every single year is important to a child’s development, so a sudden lack of these lessons can often leave students a little behind their peers. The best way to handle this is to remind your child of the purpose of the year and have a game plan that involves staying on top of their subjects of interest. Perhaps take some time in the gap year to visit more schools that can inspire direction, and join some programs to brush up on course material!

How to optimize a gap year

The time spent during a gap year is often for different reasons. Sometimes, a student just needs a break from education and would like to seek adventure and personal growth. Many students take this time to travel and see parts of the world they feel they won’t have time for once they begin a rigorous higher education program. Other students use this time to further develop academically and professionally through programs and internships, as they don’t feel prepared for the course material that college will present or would like to position themselves better for beginning their time in university.

Although it’s easy for a younger person to lose track of the goals and reasons behind time off, it’s also easy to steer them into a purposeful course. Ask your child why they want to take a gap year and how you can work together to build a fruitful and constructive time between lower and higher education.

The most important part of taking a year off is finding out why, how to best approach this, and take action. If a student wants to travel, lay out a plan! If a student doesn’t feel prepared, set up further course material to ease these concerns and build the necessary skills to instill confidence.

No matter what reasoning your child has for wanting to take a gap year, your support and help will make all the difference.

Postgraduate Program at Laurel Springs School

A gap year can nurture students in feeling comfortable about their next steps. The Postgraduate Program at Laurel Springs school allows students to maintain a rigorous, mastery-based education that positions them for higher learning. Like many gap year programs, this program is designed to ensure students flourish throughout their time in between grade school and higher education.

Students interested in this program can apply today.