It’s the Gap Year Fair Season. Starting soon, these fairs travel throughout the US and are sponsored by Go Overseas. These fairs travel throughout the US from this Saturday through February and maybe into March.
A variety of programs will be present along with high profile speakers addressing the audience as to why a Gap Year, what does a Gap Year do for you?
Here are some programs (not all) that might be present and are of particular interest:
- Irish Gap Year (I have been here and it is an amazing program)
- Raleigh International- one of the first Gap Year programs in the world
- Art History Abroad- I had a chance to tag along with them while in London when they had an alumni event several years ago.
- High Mountain Institute (HMI)
Speakers you don’t want to miss:
- Holly Bull: A legend in Gap Year placement (virtual crash course January 22)
- Jason Sarouhan will be conducting a Gap Year 101 session on February 12 virtually, so many folks can attend)
Why take a Gap Year:
Sometimes school is so overwhelming and eats up an extraordinary amount of time that students are unable to pursue something that is truly meaningful, whether it is to become fluent in a language, learn a craft, or honestly, just have a year without academics. What it is not is a year to twiddle one’s thumbs and eat chocolates on the couch and watch soap operas all day. It is a constructive year. Gap Years in the past have been thought to be international only, but there are quite a few these days that are now domestic and wonderful.
Taking a year out/or off of university means a non return to university: not so fast. Many years ago, I conducted a ‘soft research’ project and contacted about 20 admissions officers at various universities – from large public universities, to small private universities. All were in agreement that students came back from a Gap Year more focused, more mature and ready to participate seriously in university. Students also launched their university life with a focus on what they wished to study and changed majors less often than those who started university without a Gap Year. In addition, the four year completion rate for these students was much higher than those who did not participate in a Gap Year.
Gap Years can be expensive- well, yes and no depending on how they are arranged. Yes, there are expensive options out there. However, students can find work exchange programs. And Gap Years also can be self – made as if a student wishes to work for a year, then that is great. A lot of people know about WWOOFING which is a work exchange program. There are some online opportunities as well (implemented during COVID).
Credit for a Gap Year
There are a lot of programs that offer university credit for Gap Year students. While this sounds amazing and it is, depending on the amount of credit given, students may become a transfer student, or the credit is not viable. Students need to check with their university before embarking on this path. In general terms, students apply to university before embarking on their Gap Year. Each university reserves the right to let the student know what they can and cannot do regarding credit. University of Washington in Seattle and the UCs in California do not defer for Gap Years, those universities (and no doubt, a few others unknown to us) will require an application to be submitted before you wish to attend.
Overall- time away- time for growth, time to regroup, time to learn. In Holly Bull’s words from the past and perhaps present, it’s ‘time on’, time on for oneself, time to renew.