Taking a gap year before heading off to college is hardly a new concept, but it is far less common for American students to participate in a gap year program than students from other places like Great Britain and Australia. Lately, American students taking gap years is on an upswing. We’re realizing this time can be so useful to explore interests and life outside of the classroom—to gain maturity and perspective before heading off to college.
The recent announcement of Malia Obama’s plans to take a gap year before heading off to Harvard demonstrates that this option to defer and prepare for college is gaining support on the home front and growing in popularity.
Many students are motivated to take a gap year to take a break from studying. After working so hard to gain acceptance to college, sometimes you just need a break. A gap year can be spent working, traveling, volunteering and studying abroad—to explore interests outside of standard curricula and academic pressure.
Some students aren’t ready to start college fresh out of high school for a number of reasons: they may lack maturity or focus, they may have wild oats to sow, they may have many things they want to try, people they want to meet and places they want to visit. AIFS gap year programs for high school graduates provide some really great options to get out and see the world, volunteer abroad and earn college credits in a way that is fun and engaging.
Learn a language, study the environment exploring the Galápagos Islands, travel across England in the footsteps of great authors of British fantasy fiction, live and study in Costa Rica or explore Italian cuisine with a pass to snowboard the Italian Alps. You have so many options to volunteer, study and explore on programs that range from 3 weeks to the entire year. AIFS programs can be just the thing to add to a gap year to gain valuable life experience and see some of what the world has to offer, without becoming too far removed from student life and losing focus.
The really good news is that many colleges and universities are open to granting deferred admission to incoming students. If a gap year is something you are considering, your college admissions department will have information about your options to gain acceptance and defer your start date.