With the opening of college and university campuses up for debate, students are faced with decisions regarding their education they might not have expected. For starters, taking a gap year and deferring enrollment seems to be one of the best choices current or incoming college students can make right now.
But before you choose to go down this path, make sure to inform yourself about both the advantages and disadvantages of taking some time off school. After all, taking a gap year amidst a pandemic won’t be the same as before.
The good news is that your free year can give you time for other worthy activities and even improve your academic success once you return to college. Spending your gap year volunteering or traveling can give you a clearer look into your specific field of study.
Pursuing accredited programs, meanwhile, would give you firsthand work experience that can also be a chance for you to earn some extra cash. Unfortunately, these opportunities may be severely limited these days given the travel restrictions that the coronavirus pandemic caused.
Looking at films and Instagram, you may have a particular vision of what a gap year would look like. It’s usually portrayed as a picture-perfect time to explore new places and yourself as you get the chance to reflect on your future.
That might not be the case when you choose to take a gap year right now. In fact, it might not even be more of a necessity than a choice for many as tuition costs remain high despite classes being moved to an online platform.
For example, Harvard University recently announced that it would cost its students $54,000 and even more to attend the fall 2020 semester.
Keeping Things Meaningful
Despite all that’s going against you, there are still ways you can have a productive and meaningful gap year. The Gap Year Association has three helpful tips for all students who are planning to put a pause on their college experience.
First, you’d want to set boundaries and determine exactly when your break begins and ends. This would then help you create a plan and a budget for your gap year so you don’t overspend.
Of course, it’s also important that you set some goals for your break whether it’s taking free online classes or learning valuable skills.