Why you should consider taking a gap year for service
n A structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, learn from different cultures, volunteer and experiment with possible careers. A gap-year experience can last from two months to two years and is taken any time between high school graduation and the junior year of the next degree.
Students who take a structured gap year have opportunities to develop non-cognitive skills that lead to success. Some of these skills include motivation, optimism, grit and conscientiousness.
Students report that a gap year has given them a better sense of who they are and what is important to them. Others have said that they began to have a clearer understanding of other countries, people and cultures. Additionally, students report that they have received additional skills and knowledge that contributed to their career or academic major.
83% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year!
In today's work environment, people who work best with others — denoted oftentimes as those with "emotional intelligence" — tend to be more successful. In all regards, a gap year will challenge students to work better with a more diverse array of people.
For most students, gap-year experiences have an impact on their choice of academic majors and careers — either setting them on a different path than they had planned on before their gap year or confirming their direction.
82% of students who took a gap year said the gap-year experience gave them a competitive advantage when applying to college and/or jobs.
95% of students said their gap year prepared them well for their transition to education and/or the workforce.
Gap Year Association, Gap Year Association Alumni Survey, a study of 1,190 gap year alumni in 2019-2020.