Should You Take a Gap Year?

Gap years have spiked in popularity since the pandemic, so let’s break down the pros and cons of taking one.


Photo by Tulane Public Relations

As seniors take their leave into adulthood, a gap year is something to contemplate. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

   With the 2022-2023 school year coming to a close, many students are pondering about what’s to come after graduation. Gap years have become increasingly more popular in recent years and this is certainly something to consider for a variety of reasons. 

   If the term is unfamiliar to you, a gap year is a period of time between high school and college where students take a break from studies and prioritize other activities and skills. 

   This is an especially good idea if you lacked workforce experience during your high school years and wish to garner those vital skills before heading straight to college. This can help with discovering your strengths and weaknesses as an employee and what positions may suit you in the future. 

   Another common reason for taking a gap year is to travel and immerse yourself in other cultures. Cultural awareness and the ability to communicate with a wide range of people is highly valued in the workplace and allows you to better relate to those around you. 

   A gap year also opens up a wonderful opportunity for volunteerism and finding something you’re passionate about within the community. Supporting a cause or helping those around you is a good way to practice integrity, teamwork, and communication: skills that will benefit you throughout college and whatever comes next. 

   Taking this time off to volunteer, strengthen skills in the workplace, and pursue language or culture can also be a great addition to your resume. It will stand out to employers and the skills built from these activities may impress them.

   With that being said, gap years certainly aren’t for everyone. Many struggle with using them wisely and thus lose academic momentum along the way, making it difficult to transition back into a school setting after such a long break. 

   If a gap year is something you’re considering, the best way to avoid this issue is to keep yourself engaged throughout the time off from school by scheduling it carefully. Keeping yourself busy and challenged, focusing on the skills you want in life, and pursuing your passions are good ways to step back into school with motivation. 

   Taking a gap year may even prevent the quick burnout one may experience going straight into college after 12 years of prior schooling. According to Best Colleges, studies show that those who take a gap year are more likely to graduate in four or fewer years than average because of this. 

   All in all, a well-spent gap year can really help you figure out the path you want to take in life as well as your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not for everyone, but certainly something to consider as this school year comes to a close.