After years and years of constant schooling, sometimes you just need a break. A break from books, teachers, and homework assignments, with a chance to explore the world outside the classroom.
A gap year -- a year between high school and college dedicated to work, travel, or service -- might be what you’re looking for. And to help you explore the possibilities a gap year can offer, we are proud to announce TeenLife’s 2021 Guide to Gap Year Programs, newly updated with even more program offerings.
Download the guide to learn about the basics of planning a gap year, get ideas on funding a gap year, and read insights from a parent who has been there. Better yet, kickstart your gap year dreams by browsing options from leading gap year programs.
Why Take A Gap Year?
If the idea of embracing a beautiful countryside and eating delicious local cuisines is not enough to convince you to take a gap year, here are some more reasons why it is an absolute benefit!
Learn more about yourself: Whether it's about your emotional and physical limits or where you true passion lies, a gap experience in a new country or culture can help you understand yourself in a more meaningful and insightful way.
Develop confidence: While you are supported in your gap program, there are many things you will need to tackle on your own. Whether it's learning a new language, navigating a new city, or figuring out what you want to put in to the program, a gap experience is a place where you will develop confidence and direction.
Gain valuable skills: New language skills, teaching skills, cultural appreciation, and so much more can be acquired during a memorable gap year.
Strengthen your resume: As you apply for internships and then post-college jobs, a gap year shows potential employers that you have a level of maturity, confidence, and competence that can’t help but be appealing.
The Pros and Cons of a Gap Year
Are there reasons not to take a gap year? That answer is up to you, but there are some questions students and their families should consider carefully before committing to the idea.
Cost: Gap year programs can run the gamut from very affordable to downright luxurious. Price needn’t be an automatic dealbreaker, however. Many programs offer generous scholarships. Students can also consider doing an organized program for a semester or a few months and using the remaining time to work and earn money. And if a program offers college credit, you might be able to use funds from a 529 college savings plan.
Momentum: A common worry among families considering a gap year is that the student might get off the academic track and have trouble getting back into the groove for college. Students and their families know their own personalities the best, but the numbers suggest that the overwhelming majority of teens who take a gap year go on to successful college careers, and may even end up with better grades on average.
Where Can I Find More Ideas For My Gap Year?
Getting excited about the idea of a gap year. Download our guide and explore TeenLife’s gap program listings, which are regularly updated with new offerings. And browse our testimonials for a sense of what gap years have done for real students.