The Pros and Cons of Choosing to Take a Gap Year


Demaiia King

Gap Year: Pros and Cons Graphic

It is becoming more common for students to choose to wait a year before entering college. There are many pros, but it also has its own set of cons. 

A gap year is the time between graduating high school and going to college. Many students choose to use that time to work or travel. A gap year doesn’t have to be only 12 months, it could be longer or shorter. It depends on how much time the student wants to take off. 

There are many good reasons why more people have begun choosing to take a gap year instead of heading straight to college. 

  • Work Experience 
  • While in high school, there is not much time to do things outside of school. Gaining work experience before entering college can be helpful in many careers. This helps determine whether or not you want to pursue that path. 
  • A Break 
  • After spending so much time in school, it might be time for a break. Taking a little while off before jumping straight back into school could help prevent burnout. 
  • Traveling  
  • Some people might want to go see the world before going back to school. After college, it would be expected to find a job, and after getting your life set up, it might be harder to find time to travel. 
  • Make Money 
  • It can be helpful to make a little more money before going to college, and taking the time off will help you work more hours without having to worry about a school schedule to work around. 

This does not mean a gap gear is necessarily the best option for everyone. Before choosing whether or not to take a gap year, it is important to consider the disadvantages. 

  • Transitioning 
  • It could be harder to transition back into school after taking some time off. It could be hard to even find motivation to go back. 
  • Pricey 
  • If you choose to travel during your gap year, it can be expensive. Then, when going to college, it could be harder to pay for school. Taking a gap year can also affect your chances of getting certain scholarships. With the HOPE scholarship you can only take up to 16 months and not enroll at a post-secondary institution. For the Tennessee Promise, students must enroll the fall after graduating high school and are not allowed to take a gap year. 
  • Falling Behind 
  • Taking a gap year means that you would start college after most other people. It could be easy to feel left behind or left out. 
  • Planning 
  • Taking a gap can require a lot of planning. There are so many opportunities when taking one that it can be hard to choose what to do. Especially if you struggle with making your own decisions. 

   Gap years may work for some but not for others. It is important to consider all of the possible options and how taking one can affect you. Gap years offer you options for travel and learning new skills, but like with anything, it is important to think over the pros and cons, to make the best possible decision.