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Yellowbrick Blog

Does My Child Need a Gap Year?

Yellowbrick Gap Year - photo source: shutterstock

After high school graduation, what’s next for children? Perhaps a couple of weeks of summer fun followed by matriculation at a highly regarded university. Enrolling in college the autumn following high school graduation seems like an appropriate, chronological step, as most parents agree. After all, societal norms pressure high school students to start learning about, visiting, testing, and applying to universities as early as freshman year. Children face life-sculpting decisions before their brains reach full potential, as parents expect or enforce that after high school, what’s ultimately next for children is adulthood.  Parents and children may benefit by considering a gap year after high school.

What is a Gap Year?

Taking a gap year typically means delaying the start of college after high school graduation, giving children time to transition into adulthood.  A successful gap year, initiated with careful planning and collaboration between parents and young adults, includes practical opportunities for self-exploration such as traveling, volunteering, or participating in an official gap year program.  As a passage into adulthood, a gap year allows children to develop independence and get in touch with their strengths, capabilities and interests, while the brain continues to form. Throughout a productive gap year, young adults learn responsibilities of adulthood, set personal limitations, and negotiate their rights.  Without the stress, expectations, and high demands associated with formal education, young adults seeking self-awareness establish goals, drives, and directions from a well thought-out gap year.

Benefits of a Gap Year

Taking a gap year after high school offers vast advantages, pending the preparation.  Designing an explorative gap year as a volunteer, intern, or seasonal worker in another city or country may ignite interests, paving the way for future academic interests, as young adults develop personal identity.  A gap year enables young adults to pursue their own curiosities, boosting satisfaction of life and lowering overall stress levels. The American Gap Association, cites research studies proving time off between high school and college to be beneficial for young adults who engaged in constructive gap year programming. Common benefits from taking a gap year after high school include learning new skills, building self-confidence, working with diverse populations, lowering academic burnout, and identifying an educational and career path.

Making Meaningful Life-Career Choices

Young adults who have taken a gap year after high school often credit their time of self-discovery as a main contributor toward their happiness and success.  Deciding on a college or career path may not come easy for young adults.  By participating in a program like the Career Development Center at Yellowbrick, young adults get in touch with their inner ambitions, drives, and purposes with the support of a team, dedicated to personal growth.  Educational and career exploration paired with a comprehensive assessment of the individual helps young adults envision future goals as they take a gap year after high school. Young adults, devoted to self-awareness while engaging in gap year programs, uncover personal strengths and interests.  Ultimately, a productive gap year inspires meaningful life-career choices.

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