Taking a Gap Year after High School

The issue of taking a gap year after high school before enrolling into universities or colleges is an issue that has been widely discussed both by students and experts alike. In the United States, students will usually join their preferred universities and colleges immediately after graduating from high school. However, there are numerous countries around the world that have made it a tradition to take a gap year before taking university classes. Individuals will usually take this time to explore the world as an adult and volunteer to various charity programs before committing themselves to a future that they desire. This practice has slowly been embraced by students in the US. Nonetheless, the question remains whether or not taking a gap year is beneficial to the students and their learning progress.


There have been contrasting opinions that have been laid out in regards to the issue of taking a gap year after high school graduation. Parents in particular are the ones who have demonstrated their disapproval for deferring from university education. Many of them believe that allowing their children to take time off from the learning track will result in them falling off the education wagon and continually not finding their way back. Experts, on the other hand, believe that this time is essential and enables the young adults to make up their minds and come back to learning with a stronger desire and determination that previously was the case. The following paper will support the view of the various experts as it outlines the reasons why taking a gap year from school could essentially be of benefit to the US high school graduate.

Reasons and Support

There are various reasons given for young adults taking a gap year from their education as they seek to engage in alternative programs and activities usually in line with their interests. However, the most common reason is taking a break from school. Sarouhan and Sarouhan (23) identify that individuals taking time off from school are usually those between the ages of 18-25 years. These young adults will usually have just graduated from high school or taken a semester or more of university classes. Nevertheless, the similarity between these students despite their academic or professional standings is that they are all experiencing boredom from the continuous involvement in their education.

Therefore, through taking a gap year, the students are able to relax from the strict schedule of classes and exams coming up at the end of a semester. Through following this routine for roughly twelve years of their lives, students are identified to be bored and would like to seek a schedule that is away from the same. Sarouhan and Sarouhan both indicate that these students could be the straight, as students who have demonstrated exemplary performance in their academics (Sarouhan, Jane and Sarouhan, 23). As a result, denying such a student from taking a gap year could result in dire consequences such as a significant drop in performance as they begin to feel constricted by the harsh demands of life. The students could also begin to waste away their time in school through a life of engaging in destructive behavior like abuse of drugs as they seek to relax from the demanding program.

Exploring ones personal interests is another reason often given by students taking a gap year off university classes. The American system of education is highly structured and demanding from a student to explore their various interests and desires. Beginning from middle school students are advised to achieve excellence in their education as a means of setting their futures in the right path with the right education and a bunch of reasons to go to college. In high school, the same students are then asked to begin their preparation to a desired college or university where they will pursue a career of their choice. However, not many of the students are aware of the world beyond their learning progress. They are not sure whether they would want to be doctors, lawyers, teachers or even engineers. They make research and do some reading about things like why go to college essay but when it does not help many of them will seek a gap year to “find themselves”.

American Gap Association, City Year, AmeriCorps among other organizations have come up as a means of enabling students through their year off from education (Gergerich). These programs may include a life of travel and engaging in volunteer programs that will usually be providing service to the less fortunate in the community. Through the gap year, the youth are able to understand the world better as adults and the role they play in making it a better place for the entire community. A student who has deferred from his studies will take this time to identify how his education will assist in solving problems related to his interests. Once the student returns to college classes, he will experience a greater motivation to achieve professional qualification to pursue their desired interests (Gergerich).


Alternatively, there are those who believe that a gap year is not necessary for the student, especially when one has just graduated from high school. According to a report by James (11), postsecondary education has been identified to have significant effect on the outcomes of the labor market. This is where individuals who complete their bachelor’s degree are seen to experience higher wages with a significantly higher job satisfaction. However, the research indicates that this is only possible that only the students who pursue their higher education immediately after high school have the possibility of enjoying this outcome. Studies identify that those who seek to delay their post secondary education have less likelihood to attain a bachelor’s degree within six years of completing high school (Bozick and Deluca, 530). This research ascertains the fears of numerous parents who demonstrate high resistance towards taking a gap year immediately after high school graduation. Gergerich points out that taking a gap year before college could cause a dent in the finances of the parent as the child in question may want to travel from one continent to the other. Therefore, it is necessary for the individual to plan for the gap year using the help of organizations such as AmeriCorps and City Year to ensure minimal waste of finances.


It is evident that that deferring from university classes could prove to be a huge benefit to the student in question. The student is able to relax from the pressure experienced during the process of learning throughout their life. Consequently, the young adult is able to explore the interests they may have that cannot be experienced within the structure of the classroom. It is however, important to note that students may also be at risk of falling from the education track. Therefore, as aforementioned it is necessary to carefully plan how the gap year will be spent to avoid idling and wasting of finances.