Written by Gap Year Solutions
As we look back on the past year, we see several clear gap year trends.
Trend #1: Growing acceptance of pausing and taking a break before college. This is our eighth year working with gap year students. We are seeing any stigma of “not going straight to college” disappear.
Trend #2: Full focus on mental health challenges. From our standpoint, teen mental health was already suffering before the pandemic, and COVID made it worse. While every student experiences it differently, their goal is to heal themselves after the challenges of COVID, and the general stresses of today’s teenage life and social media.
Trend #3: Parents accepting the possibility that their student will not attend college. For the first time, we noticed parents talking openly about the possibility that their student might not attend college. More high schools are talking about post-secondary options other than just college.
Trend #4: Students applying to college during a gap year. Students using the fall semester of their gap year to reapply to colleges was publicized in the spring, as high school seniors were rejected from many more of their targeted colleges than in the past. More of our students apply but don’t enroll anywhere and take a fresh start the next fall during a gap year. We also have more students applying to college for the first time during their gap year.
Trend #5: More college students taking a gap year. We are working with a larger number of students who went through the college application process but really don’t know what they want to do after high school and end up in a school that is not a right fit.
Trend #6: Growing demand for gap year internships. While we used to have to prompt students to uncover whether an internship would be a good fit for their gap year plan, more of our students on their own are indicating interest in obtaining an internship.
Trend #7: Interest in having a part-time job during the gap year. Students used to say they didn’t want to work just minimum wage jobs, but increasingly they express interest in having a part-time role that brings structure to their time and puts some money in their pocket.