There are many reasons why it makes sense for this year’s graduating high school seniors to take a year off – a gap year – before starting college.
Students who opt for gap years could . . .
- Avoid starting college in a year of online classes, canceled classes, and possibly even the necessity of waiting for weeks or even months before arriving on campus.
- Skip or delay paying high tuition and college fees for programs of online, not classroom, study.
- Remain safely at home until the coronavirus crisis subsides.
- Wait for a world crisis to subside and start college at a calmer and more stable time.
Those are only a few reasons why opting to take a gap 2020-21 year could make a lot of sense for many students and their families. However, there are a number of issues to think about before deciding to delay starting college for a year – and some of those issues are unique to this year.
Some Reasons Why Taking a Gap Year Might Not Work for this Year’s Graduating Seniors
- Colleges where you have already been accepted might not allow it. In a year when many colleges are scrambling to enroll full classes of incoming students, you might expect them to freely give permission to a student who requests a gap year. In many cases, they will, but do not make assumptions. Call the admissions office at the college you are planning to attend and ask about policies and rules.
- You need to ask about fees and payment schedules. If you would like to delay paying student fees and tuition, be sure to ask. When do you have to pay fees in order to hold a place in the 2021-22 incoming class?
- What will you do during your gap year? In the past, many students who took gap years used them to take jobs to earn money, study abroad, or take courses to help them decide on their college majors. Unless our country recovers quickly from the current pandemic, many of those activities could become unavailable. If they do, what will your gap year activities be? Sitting around the house?
- Can you think up some worthwhile projects or earn money during your gap year? This question is similar to the one we asked immediately above. But to flip that question on its ear, can you devise something really productive and positive to occupy yourself during a year when you are not in school?
- Are you certain the college will still be in business when you are ready to start? This is a troubling question to ask. But the fact is that a number of smaller American colleges are on a shaky financial footing now. Are you certain that yours will still be open when you are ready to start? And if it isn’t, can you obtain refunds for any costs you have already paid?
To Learn More about Career Planning and Jobs of the Future
We invite teachers and high school students to participate in our career and college research studies. Students who complete the free career test for high school students will receive information on college and career opportunities matched to their interests.