Who Makes a Good Gap Year Candidate?

by | Dec 3, 2020

Thank you Gap Year Association for your insights!

In most cases, a gap year candidate fits into a few specific categories: some are tired of running the same academic tracks, thus feeling ‘burnt out.’ In this typical case, students might be fairly high achieving academically, but perhaps want some time to revitalize and seek passions that lay off-the-track rather than within its four walls. In other cases, an ideal candidate is one who simply doesn’t know for sure what they want to be doing with their life and fear that the average $39,800 per year in tuition costs won’t be well spent until they do. Thus, taking a gap year is about clarifying their own goals before university, and potentially learning that a university degree is not necessary to pursue their chosen career. In other cases, students will simply consider a gap year because they either didn’t get into the university they were hoping to, or because they were granted a spring acceptance and now have a semester of time they want to do something productive with.

In every case though, a student taking a gap year is one who will require some support as they’ll necessarily be breaking barriers set by peers, their parents to some degree, and hopefully their own comfort zones.

Considerations for parents:

  • Let the student lead the way. This is their experience, and the “natural consequences” of their choices are fundamental to real-world learning
  • Start with a list of exciting ideas – browse the Accredited Programs List and just write down 15-20 exciting themes. Those themes turn into a great outline for a fantastic gap year
  • Students should keep a journal while on their gap year!
  • Most students are acceptable gap year candidates. A gap year stands to benefit anyone who takes one … although they might not be right for everyone
  • The majority of Gap Year students require some level of support, but it varies from student to student what levels of support they need
  • Work with your family to identify core priorities, career explorations, learning outcomes, hobbies – making this “intentional” is key
  • Start with more structure and work your way into less, this puts heavier costs upfront and can save money
  • Volunteering is COMPLICATED. The Gap Year Association uses the Fair Trade Learning Standards as their test for ethical volunteering
  • Find the RIGHT expert. You might not need a Professional Gap Year Consultant, but make sure you know the essentials, especially if you’re traveling to the developing world
  • Make sure you consider any medications and allow for contingencies – if something goes wrong at school there it is a lot different than by yourself in the Sahara

Gap year during Covid-19? See which programs are available HERE

Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Weil College Advising, LLC

Weil College Advising

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