The majority of students in America go straight from High School into College, and while this is a good option there are many students that should seriously think about taking a Gap Year before beginning their next set of studies, and there is proof that this can be helpful in the long run.
There are many countries where it is common for High School graduates to take a Gap Year such as Australia and England. In countries such as Turkey, Singapore, and Israel national service is mandatory and young men, and many young women are expected to serve in the armed services for a short period of time. For this and other reasons, there are many countries where it has become customary for students to take on a gap year before starting university. In nearly all cases, taking some time out will help the student with their college career.
One of the largest benefits that can be gained by having a Gap Year is that you will be far more mature than most of the other students, and you will have some insight into life. While it may seem strange for you to comprehend but a year is a long time and one in which you can pack in many things. In Australia, it is commonplace for school leavers to take a year and travel the world. During this time, they learn a lot about who they are and usually come back more mature and far more focused when compared to those who have not taken the Gap Year. Those who travel will have learned more about the skills of negotiation and communication than any college could ever teach them. Students may also find out that while they may not like their current situation tomorrow is another day with new challenges and opportunities, and it could just be the best day of their life.
There are many other options if you are not keen on travel, such as volunteering to help those less fortunate. For those in America, a particularly good program is the Ameri-Corps. Usually, the majority of your expenses will be covered, and you will also be able to choose what you decide to do. For those that like a challenge both physical and mental and are not afraid of being screamed at a good option may be to join the armed forces. Gap Year students can join the reserves, and they will also be trained on a specific set of skills. The best thing about military service is that you will be pushed to your absolute limits, much further that you ever thought you could go. This entire experience is a great way to build your confidence and the majority of students that take this route go on to be hugely successful in their college studies.
Apart from the obvious volunteering and or challenging yourself, there is a benefit of taking a Gap Year that is very rarely said: you will have the time to experience something other than the school environment. There is no doubt that the senior year stresses everyone and sometimes it is best to enjoy some time before throwing yourself straight back into your studies, as this will be of a benefit to you.
If you find though that you are stuck as far as finances go, this should not be something that you let get in the way. There are multitudes of grants available that will help you to be able to fund the Gap Year of your choice. It will take a lot of hard work on your behalf however provided you are determined enough there should be nothing that gets in the way of your taking a Gap Year that will be most memorable and fulfilling.
Finally, although a Gap Year may not be the best option for all High School leavers, it is something that every student to look at really closely as there are some benefits to taking, this time, to understand yourself better and equip yourself with what is to come later in life.