FIRST, WHAT IS A GAP YEAR?
You’ve likely heard the term “gap year” before. But what many people don’t understand is that a gap year shouldn’t be treated as a break. Instead, a gap year is a year between high school and college in which you gain experiences that are unique to this time in your life, that will help you decide on a major and/or career path, or that help you prepare for college financially or personally.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to different gap year programs and scholarships.
BENEFITS OF A GAP YEAR
Boost includes 3 experiential learning projects—done with real companies—to give students hands-on experience in their field.
These allow students to earn more about a possible path by doing career-relevant work, and get a chance to develop critical professional skills such as time management and teamwork.
Students will participate in both individual and group projects, as well as complete one project directly with a partner company.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not a gap year is right for you:
- Will taking a gap year bring me closer to my goals?
- Do I have a set plan for what to do during my gap year?
- If I’ve already been accepted by a college, will my university allow me to defer, and if not, am I willing to apply to college again?
If you answered yes to the above questions, a gap year may be a useful way to spend the year after high school.
First, make sure you have a plan. Don’t lose momentum; a gap year should be a time to reflect, learn, and prepare for college. Don’t use it as an excuse to take a break.
Second, if you’ve already applied to and been accepted by universities when you make the decision to take a gap year, check out each school’s deferment policies. It’s common for universities to allow students to defer for a year without too much hassle. If your university doesn’t allow you to defer, consider turning down your acceptance and re-applying to schools during your gap year. There’s a good chance you’ll have more options once you have more experience under your belt.
Third, if you’ve already been offered financial aid through the schools to which you’ve applied, check in with the financial aid offices to see if your aid can be deferred along with your admission. Unfortunately, you can’t defer your federal student loans. If you submit the FAFSA before you decide to take a gap year, you’ll need to re-submit the following year. Keep in mind that if you work and save money for college during your gap year, the amount of financial aid you’re awarded may change.