Gap year challenges & cons you need to know

11 January 2018 - 07:00 By EvenMe
123RF/ rawpixel.
123RF/ rawpixel.
Image: 123RF

While there are many great reasons to hit the pause button before stepping foot on campus, there are a few considerations for students contemplating a gap year.

You can easily lose momentum. Skills you had, such as essay writing, and knowledge you learned through your courses may be forgotten, making the transition back to school difficult.

If you choose to travel, taking a gap year can take a huge financial toll. If you are unsure of the risk, ask yourself, “Is this a wise investment for myself or just a really expensive vacation?”

It may be important to start early in your career. If you choose to go into a field that requires years of experience in order to succeed, being a year behind may not be the best option.

You’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Wanting to attend countless parties is not a valid reason to take a gap year. Taking a gap year because you were rejected from your top school choice is not a good reason either – it will only make you feel worse. Above all, it can set you careening off of your career path. It’s best to look into the schools you were accepted to. You never know; you may end up loving your new school. If you don’t, you can always put in transfer applications.

To truly make your experience worthwhile, a lot of planning is involved. This means looking at travel plans, accommodations and work/volunteer opportunities. You should also be weighing your options; looking at the costs and benefits of taking a year off as opposed to going to school. 

If you’ve decided on what you want to do, there may still be one more obstacle in your way: your parents. If unaware of the benefits of a gap year, they may disapprove and discourage you from taking a year off. They may also believe that taking a gap year will lead you to discontinuing your studies altogether. If this is the case, educate your parents on the benefits of taking a gap year and show them your plans to use it wisely and productively.