What is a Gap Year?

gap year in usaA ‘Gap Year’ is essentially a year-long constructive break taken between high school and college. Here’s everything you need to know about the Gap Year in the USA.

What is a Gap Year?

A Gap Year is basically a 12-month time-off from the usual course of study in order to pursue your potential interest, passion, travel, or gain real-world experience through volunteering or interning. All in all, it means to focus on personal development and experiential learning, thus prepares you for the college ahead.

Is it beneficial?

A ‘Gap Year’ can prove to be beneficial in several ways.

If you prefer to work and gain real-world experience during the gap year, it is highly beneficial for your career. While working during a gap year, you come out of your comfort-zone, learn to tackle problems, develop new skills, gain knowledge and experience the corporate culture, hence it is an asset. Also, it serves as a means to earn some extra bucks that will help to cover a few expenses, for instance, housing, stationery, transportation, etc.

If you prefer travelling and exploring new countries and their culture during a gap year, it widens your perspective, hence you see the world from a different eye altogether.

Taking a gap year helps you to build your contact base and make lifelong friends. Spending a gap year doing something productive and on your own makes you independent and you gain several ‘must-have’ skills, like time-management, budgeting, social skills, leadership, confidence, decision-making, teamwork and most importantly, you develop maturity.

What can you do in Gap Year?

A gap year is an opportunity to indulge in activities that will be valuable personally and professionally. So, here are following things you can do during a gap year-

Volunteer: It is a way to give something back to the community – teach underprivileged children, work for an NGO, work for development of rural areas and communities, volunteer abroad, etc. You can check social networking sites for volunteer works – there are numerous volunteer groups on Facebook and other networking sites.

Work: Whatever your interest area, you can search work in that field and gain experience and skills. Some of the gap year work options include working in administration, hospitality, tourism, teaching, supervision, community development, retail, etc. If you want to work in other countries, you need a work permit. There are many work schemes and permit specifically catering to people looking for temporary work, probably for a year or just a few weeks.

Travel: Travel to different countries and explore their culture and traditions. It broadens your horizon and changes your views on the world as well as yourself. There are a few websites that offer help in finding budget travel and accommodation in different countries, as well as offer discounted student travel-tickets.

Study: You can opt for a short-term summer program or exchange program in other countries, or go for certification courses to develop your skills, like language course, sports, music, art, drama, etc.

How to take a Gap Year?

If you wish to take a 12-month time-off, you’re required to inform your chosen college/university in advance, stating the reason for the gap year and what you intend to do during that period. You need to prove to the university/college that this gap year would be fruitful. In fact, if you choose something that is related to your chosen subject/course, it will make your case strong. And then, it’s the university call to grant the permission for it or not.

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