For some students who may be undecided regarding the path that they would like to take at the conclusion of high school, gap years have become a popular alternative. A college education may sound good, but the student may feel that he or she wants to experience the world and its possibilities before settling down for more classes, tests, and papers. According to the American Gap Association, ninety per cent of students who take a gap year return to college within a year.
From an educational standpoint, the American Gap Association reports that universities note an increase in GPA, greater engagement in campus life, increased likelihood that students will graduate ‘on time’ or within four years, and of course greater clarity with career ambitions. Gap Year graduates reported that through the summary of their new experiences they were better able to identify universities that fit their personalities and career ambitions.
The key points in determining if a gap year program is best for a student are the following: a solid plan of action including educational and personal advantages and the necessary steps in order to ensure a satisfactory experience, location of the program, the reputation and reviews of the program, total cost, and the specific gap year benefits for the student and his or her future.
During the gap year, among other things, I also advise students to consider engaging in some career shadowing/internship experiences, traveling, and volunteering—all ways to be sure to explore career interests and aptitudes. There are several listings of notable Gap Year Programs available at www.americangap.org and www.teenlife.com and many others.
In addition, it is advisable for parents and students to work with a college consultant in order to explore the most suitable gap year program and to engage in career and college planning.
NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates – Excellence in Career and College Preparation – is available to help students find their ideal career and college major. Services include aiding in the college admissions process, arranging career shadow experiences, organizing gap year experiences, advising students on college admissions testing, college visits, resumes, essays, financial aid and scholarships.
Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock, who is an experienced private career and college counselor, at (570) 702-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this article and on career and college preparation services.
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