Taking A Gap Year: Reasons You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do It

High school – this awesome but stressful experience has come to an end. You feel proud and happy to have made it but stressful for the upcoming era of adult life. It’s okay to have overwhelming feelings during this time and it’s also okay to not be ready to go to college just yet. Thankfully, there’s something you can do that will benefit you greatly, and refreshen you for college life. You can take a gap year!

A gap year (or bridge year) is defined by the Gap Year Association as a “structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, learn from different cultures, and experiment with possible careers. Typically these are achieved by a combination of traveling, volunteering, interning, or working.”

If you’re thinking it through, there are some things you need to keep in mind before making your decision. Here’s why you should and shouldn’t take a gap year:

You should take a gap year because

You will find personal, growth

Taking a gap year before college will significantly enhance your personal growth. You will have time for self-reflection, time to mature, and time to become a more confident adult.

It will improve your academic performance

Research from gap year programs at leading American universities suggests that gap years can improve students’ academic performance while in college. Some Ivy League universities even endorse gap years for interested students. A study found that Undergraduate students who had taken a gap year before enrolling in college earned 0.1 to 0.4 higher GPAs than students who didn’t.

It will help your career

The experiences and soft skills you gain from taking a gap year will surely make you more desirable in the job market. 88 percent of gap year graduates report that their Gap Year has significantly added to their employability.

You will become a more knowledgeable about other cultures

If you decide to go abroad on your gap year, what you’ll gain will be immense. More than 90% of gap year alumni say that it helped them gain respect and understanding for cultures and customs other than their own. It also makes sure students learn how to interact with people from other backgrounds.

You will find your passion

Taking a gap year can help you discover what you are passionate about through real-world situations. One doesn’t only learn through school, after all. Rather than rush into choosing a major you’re not sure about, your gap year can serve as time to learn what you really want to do in life.

You shouldn’t take a gap year if

You’re not self-motivated

Just because you won’t have to go to school every day, doesn’t mean you should just sit around every day. You should be motivated to manage to learn through experience.

You don’t have a plan

If you lack planning and organization skills better not take a gap year. Apart from self-motivated, you need to be self-disciplined to take a year off. You will have a lot of free time that you haven’t been used to, and it’s easy to waste it. If you don’t have a plan on what you’ll do, that is.

You rely on formal schooling to learn

A gap year might be wrong for you also if you’re a student who needs the intellectual structure and consistency of formal schooling to keep your academic career on track.

You’re not aware it might cost

If you decide to enroll in a program, then you should know that some programs can add costs to your overall educational path. However, a gap year can also help you make better educational plans and even shorten your time in college. You can also work in your gap year, though, thus earn a little extra cash.

If you’re thinking of taking a year off after high school, have in mind all the pros and cons before making a decision. If you decide to do it, start making a plan on what you want to do and go for it. Know you’ll have an amazing experience and you’ll learn a lot even without being in a classroom!


Dafina Zymeri is passionate about writing, research, and personal development. She has studied abroad herself and now wants to help others in that direction. She aims to make a difference with her writing by intertwining her passions and experience into providing advice and guidance for students in her new blog Studying in Switzerland.



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