Gap years: the option no one talks about


Photo Provided

An annual estimate of 40-60,000 students in the US take a gap year before entering college.

Adam Mohammed, Staff Writer

College is a topic that plagues the minds of teenagers as they go through high school, especially once they reach their junior and senior years. With how much schools pressure students to look at where they want to go after high school, it’s hard not to worry about it. Amongst all the stress that comes with figuring out the future, many forget there are a variety of options, including taking a gap year.

Gap years are when a student takes one or multiple years off between high school and college. It can be a time for someone to save up money or travel the world and gain new experiences. A gap year could also act as a period for one to figure out who they are and what they want in life. For some this decision may seem like an excuse to not further their education, however, gap years can be far more beneficial than they realize.

While it’s perfectly valid to spend the year doing regular day-to-day activities, some may prefer to have structure during their time off. Programs such as Holiday Visas are used across the world and offer young adults the opportunity to gain work experience in a different country. In the U.S. they’re applicable for high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 30 years old and allow them to learn what life abroad is like, while also providing them with career opportunities. It’s a great way to find a new perspective on life for anyone, especially those that are struggling to figure out what they want to do. 

If going abroad doesn’t sound appealing there are hundreds of other programs to choose from. Big-name companies offer specialized opportunities for students to explore specific interests. For example, The New York Times has a program that lets participants learn about journalism with reporters who actively work at the acclaimed news outlet, and the YMCA allows those taking a gap year to experience work outdoors and in the hospitality industry. There are also other companies created specifically for the purpose of allowing young people to learn and do different things during their gap year like learning foreign languages, working on performing arts skills or even participating in volunteer and conservation work.

Taking a gap year may seem like a waste of time to some, or the amount of freedom and options could feel overwhelming to others. In the end, though it’s all about what a person wants to do with their life. A break in between high school and college can provide an opportunity to figure that out, and it may even help decide whether or not to continue on to higher education. Regardless of whether someone chooses to study cooking abroad in Italy or intern at a law firm in their hometown, a gap year can provide an important experience that could help decide the rest of a person’s life.

Contact Adam Mohammed at [email protected]