It is becoming a trend for some students to elect to take a “gap year” between high school and their college career. Students use this year to explore their interests and, often, the world. A gap year can also help students with identifying a career path that will align with their interests, increase their cultural awareness, and encourage personal growth, decision making, and developing various skill-sets. Here is a guide to help you explore gap year options and make a decision whether a gap year is right for you:
Below are some resources that can provide information about how a gap year works, such as: length of time it can take, various locations and opportunities available, cost, and how an individual can make the most of their gap year experience.
A gap year can be expensive, but there is a less expensive alternative. A student can develop their own gap year plan rather than signing up for a curated/structured gap year program. For example, a student can chooses to live at home with family and create a customized agenda that can include one or more of the following components, in no particular order:
- Career assessments to learn more about your interests (Strong Interest Inventory), personality type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and strengths linked with careers/majors (StrengthsFinder)
- Entrepreneurial venture: invent a product or service, or participate in a venture with others
- Participate in networking events that attract entrepreneurs and creatives doing interesting things
- Language study
- Handpicked classes of interest at a community college, specialty school, university, etc.
- Apprenticeship or training program in a skilled trade
- Certification program in a technical discipline, i.e., software, hardware, networking
- Outdoor or wilderness activities
- Volunteering or interning with organizations or industries of interest
- Job shadowing people in targeted careers or industries
- Working part-time or full-time job(s)
Enjoy your search! We look forward to seeing you here at NDSU once your gap year is complete. And please feel free to stop by the Career and Advising Center and tell us all about your learning adventures.