In the past, it was thought that if you didn’t go straight to college after high school your future would be disadvantaged both academically and professionally. Yet taking a gap year is becoming increasing accepted and those who make the most of this experience are even standing out from their peers.

There are many reasons to take a gap year, all of which I can vouch for from personal experience. One of the most common outcomes of gap year experiences is that students develop a more sound understanding of their future ambitions and goals, making more rounded decisions about what they might major in at college.

Most incoming college freshmen change their major multiple times throughout their first two years. Thus, by taking a gap year and participating in an internship, you will experience and learn new skills that will better help you decide on what subject to study in college.

When a gap year opportunity is really taken advantage of the time spent gaining new experience can effect not only you as a person but also your job prospects in the future. According to a study published by the American Gap Year Association, “88 percent of Gap Year graduates report that their Gap Year had significantly added to their employability.”

By taking the time and effort to undergo an internship, volunteer experience or to learn a new language or skill, you will stand out to employers when seeking a job because of your willingness to go down the less traveled path.

From personal experience, a gap year can rekindle the motivation to study. With the stress of the competitive nature of high school, it is easy to lose any ambition to study. Thus by taking a break you are able to have new experiences that will take away from the former stress of school.

It has also been shown that “Gap Year students show a clear pattern of having higher G.P.A.’s than would otherwise have been predicted, and the positive effect lasts over all four years.”

If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and do something different, during the gap year, you can go abroad and interact with a different culture. The connections gained and time spent in another country are priceless benefits that will happily follow you for the rest of your life.

The opportunity to be on ones own is extremely beneficial as well. From the understanding of life outside of school, it is likely you will mature much quicker and be more definite in your approach to study and work there after.

Don’t be afraid to take a break! A gap year will be one of the best decisions you have ever made, if you are willing to embrace the opportunities it provides.

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