What am I supposed to do during a gap year?

I know I want to take a gap year but what do I do to make the year worth it’s while?

Make it count! The whole point is that we no longer exist in a time in which we have to rush straight into college - it’s totally fine to make some decisions about college from a place where you have had time for more personal reflection.

Many people take a gap year after having been accepted to their favorite school, but it’s important to remember you can also take a gap year with the intention of applying to schools during your gap year. Maybe you haven’t had time to research schools yet, or maybe because of the way the application cycle falls in relation to your academic schedule, it’s just been impossible to prioritize certain elements that U.S. schools in particular really value. If that is the case, have a little faith in yourself, and with the right planning, you can make a much better situation for your collegiate future.

If you decide to go the route of waiting to apply to college in the midst of your gap year, have a solid plan (and Crimson can help!). Work with your family and your consultant to figure our how you’re going to spend the year in a way that will be productive and serve your greater purpose. This is a great time to travel abroad if you can, either on your own or via service project organizations that can help facilitate a meaningful year or semester. Go with your heart and do what you know you may never have the chance to pursue again. The point is that the year should challenge you, and give you a sense of self that you didn’t have before the gap year. Confidence and agency are qualities that many gap year students take away from having waited to go to college, so consider the options that will help you attain those sensibilities.

If you are second-guessing yourself, consider where you are at in your college search at this very moment. If things feel all over the place and your gut is telling you that you haven’t found the situation that will feel right for the next four years of your life, take the gap year into serious consideration as you make your future plans. If you wait, you may end up in a much better uni than you thought you’d be able to attain. Colleges love kids who are going to enter their community as mature, considerate, and conscientious young adults. Sometimes you just need to take one more year in order to get there.

I have worked with kids who took gap years to farm, gap years to pursue marine biology service projects, and gap years to try to make it as musicians - they all got into their top schools in the midst of those efforts. It’s hard to ignore a personal statement and resume that demonstrate you are a serious individual and committed to your own growth, as well as your contributions to the world around you.

Consider the options, have a plan, talk to your family, and hit us up at Crimson, where we support unconventional excellence as a pathway to traditional achievements! There is no singular way to be awesome, and sometimes a gap year is just what you may need.