Gap Year

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A gap year is also known as a sabbatical year. This is the time interval that exists between the completion of high school and the acceptance of a place in a university or college. The aim of the gap year is to instill in the student a mature mentality that will play an important role in helping the students gain the advantages they are bound to earn when they begin higher education. A gap year is undeniably an important period that not only provides students with enough time to relax after finishing high school but also lets students mentally prepare for advanced higher education. According to a good number of educators, individuals who take a gap year and resolve to utilize the time to engage in various activities such as working, volunteering, traveling or exploring activities they find interesting tend to be more mature once they join college. In fact, most of them tend to get serious about their education since the students have learned the art of living a responsible life, they continue with the same trend when they join college.

“The gap year gives something one can’t replace, and that’s time. It gives time for one to figure out himself/herself to do or be in life. Not all students coming out of high school know what they want to do after high school and something they want to do something until they find out that the particular career path isn’t something they don’t want to pursue.” (Devarus 1)

Undeniably, time is a crucial element in life, and it is well known that once lost is unrecoverable. However, the gap year happens to defy the logic since it provides former high school students with ample time to engage in activities that will allow the individual to establish their main purpose in life. Most often, when a student completes their high school educations, they are not mature enough to know what exactly they would like to do with their lives (Devarus). As a result, it is not unusual to find individuals who join college life and opt to pursue certain courses, which they will eventually be forced to drop and change midway their college life. This could be attributed to students not using the time they had to establish their potential in dedicating themselves to the course they had picked (Devarus). As a result, students are always encouraged to use the gap year to decide on what they would like to do and engage in activities, which will help them focus towards achieving their goals the moment they start higher education.

Contrary to what most believe about gap year, the period does not imply that gap year strictly focuses on giving young individuals time to decide on their academic life alone but rather, what they want to do with their lives in general. While most would focus on deciding on the course they will pursue; others can divert their focus from academics and venture into activities they tend to believe they are more likely to succeed in life such as sports (Devarus). This is important since not every person who has succeeded in life can attribute their success to education and it is, therefore, wrong to push young individuals towards education.

“Rosenbaum (2001) showed how detrimental this philosophy could be when students who were unprepared for college were continually pushed or encouraged to attend. In a survey administered to 2,091 high school seniors from 12 schools in the Chicago metropolitan area, it was discovered that most students did not view their high school education as relevant to their future work, and this was true for both work and college-bound students. Perhaps they did not see high school achievement as relevant; they tended to exert less effort to achieve in high school, thus handicapping themselves for success in college. In fact, 46 percent agreed with the statement that “Even if I do not work hard in high school, I can still make my plans come true.” (Sophia 86)

The basis of having non-curriculum activities within any institution is to mold a student to be we versed in different aspects of life. It is when students are in high school that they get to establish, mold and grow their talents. For instance, most of the students who are international sportsmen were well-known players back in high school (Sophia). The moment they cleared with high school, the young individuals had to use the gap year to decide on whether to continue with their academics or focus entirely on perfecting their sportsman skills.

Apart from using the gap year period to prepare young individuals for making a rational decision when they start higher education, the period can also be used to attain some economic stability.

“One of the reasons identified for young people taking a gap year is economic- to undertake paid work to raise funds for supporting themselves during the later study. Stehlik (2008) notes that the gap year is a choice between personal enrichment and becoming richer. Similar, gap-taking has been linked to obtaining the Youth Allowance while in the tertiary study is associated with an increased probability of taking a gap year. His analysis is based on the Y95, and Y98 cohorts of LSAY-before changes were made to the Youth Allowance scheme.” (Marilyn & Stanwick 8)

Financial independence at an early age is everybody’s dream. However, due to law and regulation governing nations, it is critical to avoid hiring of children. When a young individual clear high school education, most laws, and regulation governing most states permit the former high school individually to get employed for various purpose ranging from attaining experience, earning money to be used for self-management to learning financial discipline (Marilyn & Stanwick). To achieve a certain level of financial freedom, various programs have been implemented.

Another key aspect brought about by the issue of gap year focuses on the academic capabilities of the student in question. According to most universities, even though gap year is encouraging, if a student is academically weak, but intend to pursue higher education, it is vital for the student not to defer their academic (Marilyn & Stanwick). This is because students who tend to apply for college during a gap year and then defer do not get to be accepted by the college admission board (Marilyn & Stanwick). Most individuals prefer to use this method if they are unable to decide on whether they are willing to pursue high education learning or not but would not like to miss the deadline for the college application.

“Universities advise that while deferred entry will be considered, successful applications for deferred entry will generally be among the strongest of the cohort” (, and also state that of the applicants requesting deferred entry during the 2014 medical school application process “none received an offer of a place” ( for this particular university.” (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro 10)

Even though gap year is view as adequate time for young individuals to decide whether to join college or seek a different path other than academics, there is an instance where some young individuals end up not having an elaborate plan on what to do with life. Such instance can be complicated especially when the young individual opinion does not conform to those of their guardians.

However, even though most parents will be inclined to convince their children to focus on joining higher education, it is important not to force the youngsters to join college because there exists a chance that the situation will be complicated if it backfires (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro). The most appropriate option is to talk to the young individuals towards enlightening them on the importance of focusing on academics. According to most experts, there exist three major guidelines that can be utilized by an individual in the event where a parent desire for their children to join higher education while the child contradicts that opinion (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro).

First, it is recommended to encourage to make an application to the college of their choice and then defer. The condition will make the student know that regardless of the choice they have in mind, there exists something solid that awaits them at the end of their hiatus, which is higher education (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro). Second, it is the role of the parent to ensure that the young individual has created an elaborate plan rather than just let him sit on the cough engaging in non-constructive activities such as playing video games or watching films (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro). In fact, the young individuals should be made to think about what they intend to do with their future. The last process is to get the child to play a role in the necessary amenities required when joining higher education.

According to research, a formal gap year can cost as high as $30,000 (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro). However, there exist other options that are affordable as well as voluntary programs like City Year, WWOOF-USA or AmeriCorps which cater for board and room (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro). On the other hand, some young individuals go out of their comfort zone and secure employment to be able to travel abroad or cater for half a year of their gap year (Parker, Thoemmes, Duineveld & Salmela-Aro).

Even though engaging in gap year is encouraged to help the former high school students in making a mature decision that will aid their ability in avoiding mistakes that can interfere with the objective of the students. Assessing the challenges associated with the process is important. First, it is vital to establish, when does a person become fully mature biologically? “Evidence suggests that, in the prefrontal cortex, this does not occur until the early 20s or later” (Blumentha et al 17). Previously, it was believed that the human brain developed fully at a very tender age. However, current researchers have proved that the human brain only attains maturity when a person is in their mid-twenties. Meanwhile, when most students are completing their high school education to experience the gap year, they are usually not close to the 25 years age bracket.

As a result of the infantilized culture, there has been an intensification of the sense of passive dependence. That has resulted in challenges when it comes to handling relationships maturely. In consideration of the above discussion, there has been the issue of whether the gap year has played the crucial role in a young individual’s life, which it is supposed to play (Blumentha et al). Furthermore, if it does not play the role, what would be the best way to assist the young individuals in making reasonable solutions on a matter pertaining their future lives? Even though the reason is understandable, it is important to establish that most of the young individuals tend to decide their lives during the gap year period with the assistance of their parents (Blumentha et al). Therefore, it is reasonable not to alter the system but rather educate parents on the role they need to play during a gap year.

In conclusion, a gap year happens to be an important period when a student who has just cleared high school education is given before the student joins higher education. The logic behind the gap year is to provide the young individuals with ample time to mature and make a personal decision depending on the goals they desire to establish in their lives. While some will decide to focus on their academics and settle for joining higher education, others will resolve to settle for non-academic paths such as sports or family business. In my opinion, it is critical for young individuals to engage in serious activities during the gap year period and establish the correct path where they feel will lead to their success and prevent any instance that will make them regret on the choice they made once they are past the gap year period.

Works Cited

Giedd J, Blumenthal J, Jeffriers NO, et al. Brain development during childhood and adolescence: Alongitudinal MRI study. Nature Neurosci.web.

Jordan, Devarus. “Taking Break after High School.” Prof Jacobs: page 1. Web

Lumsden, Marilyn, and John Stanwick. “Who takes a gap year and why?” Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, Briefing paper, no. 28, 2012. Web.

Parker, P.D., Thoemmes, F., Duineveld, J.J., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2015). I wish I had (not) taken a gap-year? The psychological and attainment outcomes of different post-school pathways. Development Psychology.

Wellons, Sophia, “Give Me a Break: A study of the Gap Year” (2013). Honors Senior Theses/Projects. Paper 86.

October 19, 2022

Education Business

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High School Gap Student

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