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Why should I not take a gap year?

Last updated March 1, 2021

Taking a gap year can be fulfilling in many ways. It can also be challenging in different aspects. With any new endeavor, it is good to identify potential challenges and proactively take them head on. Here are some of the downsides of taking a gap year.

You might lose momentum

You might enjoy your gap year a little too much or if you have started working, you might see going back to school as a step back. When considering taking a gap year, set a timeline and stick to it as much as you can (we know there can be unforeseen circumstances). Setting an end date will help you plan for your next steps. Also, just because it’s called a “gap year”, that doesn’t mean you need to take a full year. Instead, look at your options and align them with the timeline you have set, maybe that means starting college in January.

Quick note: If you are officially deferring from a 4-year college, make sure you are keeping in touch with the college’s administration office throughout the year.

You may forget things you’ve learned

You may have heard the saying, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. Your brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised. If you aren’t using math skills on a daily basis or even writing, you will get rusty and it might be harder to catch up when you return to school. Keep your skills in practice by utilizing online learning resources (insert link here).

You will lose the help of a school counselor

When you transition from high school to college there will be a time when you don’t have a counselor to help you. During a gap year, it will be up to you to stay proactive about your education and going back to school. This can include: keeping track of application deadlines (if you are not deferring, you will want to apply to college during the fall of your gap year) and gathering materials. If this isn’t your strength, you will want to work extra hard to not miss anything.

There will be uncertainty

Gap years can be glorified, but they can also be hard. Even with the best laid out plans, there will be bumps in the road. In these instances your persistence to succeed will lead to greater growth. You may have seen and heard about the awesome gap year that someone has taken, but remember, most people, especially on social media share only the good and very rarely share the bad. For stories of students sharing their challenges in applying to and persisting through college, check out, WeBelongInCollege.

You will need to stay focused on your goals

A gap year is not right for everyone, but if you decide it is for you - stay focused on your educational goal. There will be people who will disagree with you taking a gap year, but that is true for any choice you make for yourself! Stick to your reasons and share your plans. Let your critics know that you have thought about your choice from all aspects and that it is a growing moment for you. You may find your biggest critics turning into your support system.

Learn more:

4 Reasons to Take a Gap Year

5 Effective Things You Can Do During a Gap Year

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