In what ways, if any, can taking a gap year be beneficial for an applicant?
A gap year can absolutely be beneficial to a student! It will enable the student to gain one more year of maturity before launching his/her university career and can be a valuable interlude between high school and college, during which the student can discover more about him/herself. This additional self-knowledge will faciltate the making of more informed choices with regard to college selection and major options.
In order to be a truly valuable experience, however, the gap year should be well planned. The time can be spent in many different ways, depending on the interests and resources (or lack of them) of the student. What will not be beneficial is for the student to discover, a year later, that he/she has completely wasted that year. That is the reason that it is important to be pro-active in planning the gap year ahead of time, rather than just letting it happen.
- Work to earn money for college
- Do volunteer work, either locally, somewhere else in the student's own country, or
- Study a foreign language, either locally or in conjunction with a program in another
- Serve an internship in a field of interest
- Take various courses of interest at a local community college
- Travel abroad - Some countries, like Australia, offer work/travel visas
- You can probably think of other worthwhile activities to plug into a gap year.
What not to do:
- Hang around the house watching TV