Does a Gap Year Make Sense for You This Year?
Needless to say, this is not a normal year. The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted much of our regular routines and caused students across the globe to adjust their schedules in unprecedented ways. And while there is hope for a resumption of relative normalcy by the time the fall semester rolls around, it’s hard to predict anything in the future with too much certainty.
For some students this will make you rethink your plans and priorities as you prepare to head off to college. As the final deadline to make your matriculation decision approaches, be sure you’ve considered all your options – including taking a gap year – carefully.
Might you benefit from more time with family? Is there unfinished business you’d like to tend to on a personal or extracurricular front? Has your intended program of study shifted in light of new world developments
These are some of the potentially compelling factors you should consider as you finalize your plans for next school year.
Enter with Focus
Your first year of college is a monumental time full of new experiences and memory-making opportunities. You’ll want to be in the right mindset to embrace all of it. If there are factors at home or with your health that have arisen that threaten to interfere with the start of your school year next year, you may think about taking advantage of the time a gap year can buy you.
Although it’s impossible to control all of your life circumstances, it’s likely that you’re facing an elevated level of difficulty compared to what you expected for this time of year. For some, taking the time to step back and regroup will create stronger momentum moving forward. Remember, your college success matters more than your college start date.
Un-pause Your Projects
Perhaps you had major plans for intellectual growth over the spring and summer that have been put on indefinite pause. Whether it was a one-of-a-kind internship or research project or some other kind of personal exploration, you may want to see that opportunity through before embarking on the next chapter of your education.
A gap year could afford you time to take your ideas further than you imagined otherwise. What would have been an internship may evolve into a paid position with growing responsibility. The paper that you contributed to with your research team may turn into the beginning of your own intensive study. Or maybe the song you wrote becomes the featured track on a full album you create and produce.
If your passions compel you to pursue them to a fuller extent, be open to listening to that call. You may find new clarity of purpose and gain increasing expertise in the process.
You May See the World Differently Now
Having an extended time away from the routines and systems we’ve built causes us to reevaluate our priorities. This will mean different things to everyone, but in some cases, this could affect your ideas about where you want to attend school or what you want to study.
Perhaps being closer to home or family is more important to you than you initially expected. Maybe your career field of interest has shifted in light of how you envision the world and its economy reconfiguring post-pandemic. If this is the case, you might want to take extra time to test those waters.
This may lead you to opt to pursue a different major or apply to additional schools in the following admissions cycle. Be open to how you continue to grow and evolve your thinking. Even if that leads you down an unexpected or nontraditional path, what’s most important is that you are making the soundest decisions you can about your education.
Even in a normal year, many students benefit from considering deferring their admission by a year and increasing their life experience before attending college. There may be added reasons in this time of uncertainty why that is relevant for you. If so, know that you’re not alone; with help and thoughtfulness, you can formulate a great plan for spending this upcoming school year in a way that’s personally satisfying and challenging and makes you more ready for the road ahead of you.
The expert admissions consultants at Wise World Prep have helped hundreds of students maximize their potential of being admitted to their top choice colleges and universities. Over 20 years, we have successfully guided students through each stage of the application process – from choosing competitive high school courses to building an appropriate college list to drafting winning essays to writing persuasive update and appeals letters. We would be happy to answer your questions and partner with you to create a successful admissions roadmap.
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