OPINION: Is a gap year right for you?

More students should consider taking a gap year before going to college

Eva Springer, Staff Writer

Research from Foundry10 found that 20% of students took a gap year during 2020-2021, compared to just 3% during 2018. This increasing popularity was most likely due to stress caused by COVID-19 and students needing time to decompress. Since St. Pius X is a college preparatory school, the focus on more on where you’re going to college, rather than if. But taking a gap year for St. Pius students to relax could be more beneficial than you would imagine.

Taking a gap year refers to when a student takes a year-long break after graduating high school and before attending college. There are many different reasons for taking a gap year, but the most common is to give the student a greater understanding of what they want to do in their life.

The reason for taking one “depends on the student,” said Counselor Jennifer Gibbs. “Maybe they just want to take a break from school, get some work experience, establish residency somewhere, or they just feel like there are uncertain times and want to wait a little longer. We don’t have a lot of students that do that here, but it is definitely something that students do consider”

Students can do this in a variety of ways, simply by starting an internship at a workplace or by traveling across the country to explore life a little more. After college, most students plan to go straight into the workforce, so for many, a year before college is their best opportunity to explore the world free from stress. This extended freedom is also proven to be beneficial for students’ academic performance once they begin college, leading to increased motivation and ability to focus. 

“[Another] plus side would be that they have another year of maturity and another year of experience,” Ms. Gibbs said.

Additionally, a gap year offers clearer sense of purpose with what a student may want to do in their lives, leading to a higher level of career satisfaction post-college. 

Spending a year working, volunteering, or traveling can be a great way to earn experience and expand your worldview in ways that could boost your resume, or set you apart from other students who go straight to college. So next time you see someone who is unsure of what they want to do next in life, maybe recommend looking into gap years!