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The Gap Year/Year Out

One post-high school option to consider is to take a year off before entering college. This is often referred to as the “gap year.” This option is now becoming more popular in the United States. The gap year is designed to be an exploratory year between high school and college.

By means of carefully planned activities of your choosing, you can do such things as

  • travel to another country to learn or perfect a foreign language
  • volunteer in another country or part of the United States
  • participate in a community project such as those offered in AmeriCorps and the California Conservation Corps
  • get a job in a foreign country in the food or hotel industry
  • teach English abroad
  • explore a work area of interest to you while saving money for college. 

Gap year activities are meant to be new and exciting life experiences for you. The gap year is not designed for you to sit on the couch and watch TV for a year! It provides you with the opportunity to mature financially, socially, and academically. Students frequently come back from the gap year experience with a clearer idea about what they want to do with their lives and the careers they wish to pursue.

If you are thinking of taking a gap year, you are strongly encouraged to carefully research various options. And there are two important tasks to complete before beginning your gap year: gain admission to a college or university; 2) then ask for a deferral. Many colleges and universities in the United States endorse the concept of the gap year.

The Gap Year Association and the Year Out Group provide information and resources to help plan your gap year.