Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year Between High School and College

Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year Between High School and College

As their high school years come to an end, a growing percentage of students opt to take a gap year before starting college. This was a trend before the pandemic, but COVID-19 seems to have accelerated the number of students choosing not to go straight to university. There are pros and cons to taking a gap year, and all graduating students should carefully consider them before making their decision.

What is a Gap Year?

A gap year is when a high school graduate takes a break from school before starting college. Graduates use this time in a variety of ways.

  • Working full-time to save more money for college.
  • Volunteering to help others, gain experience, and learn more about potential career options.
  • Traveling for fun, to learn, grow insight, and to get new experiences.

Taking a gap year is often a great decision for students, but the key here is you need to have a firm plan on how to utilize your time.

Pros of Taking a Gap Year

Taking a gap year can offer you the perfect opportunity to experience tremendous growth. Not all students are ready to jump in from the grind of high school to handle the stress of more rigorous academic work. Some aren’t sure about what they want to pursue in school and a gap year offers the time to figure things out (avoiding wasting money on non-transferable credits if pursuits change).

A gap year can also empower you to recharge, gain work experience, earn money, explore opportunities, and obtain life skills. These are the primary advantages to taking time off. At the end of the year, you can achieve your goals and be in the right frame of mind for college.

Cons of Taking a Gap Year

While many students successfully take a gap year and go on to a successful college experience, it’s not the right decision for everyone. To succeed in this plan, it takes drive, commitment, and the willingness to start college behind your peers and be on a different educational timeline.

For some students, taking a gap year can completely derail plans for college – you might never end up going, especially if your momentum for studying is lost. Another drawback relates to your specific plans – for instance, if you plan to travel, this can cost a pretty penny and put you behind in your ability to pay for college. It also delays your career start, losing future earning potential.

How Accolade Financial Can Help

Bottom line, to successfully complete a gap year, students should design a plan to be productive – a gap year shouldn’t be spent binge-watching the latest hot shows on streaming services – the goal is to gain personal growth or build finances to pave the way towards a successful future.

At Accolade Financial, it’s our mission to help students and their families achieve their college dreams. To learn more about our services, schedule an appointment today.