The Gap Year Alternative
This is a guest blog post from Graduation Source
For many graduates, completing high school and walking away with a diploma represents a move from childhood to adulthood. Some of those high school graduates will exchange their high school courses for a college program. Packing their possessions into the trunks of their cars, these students will move into communities of other students from a variety of backgrounds.
The track to college isn’t the only option for graduates, however. Considering a path that is less traditional, such as putting time and energy into a gap year experience, can be a great experience for a homeschool student. Pursuing life goals allows students a chance to explore their options and learn more about the world. Those who hope to attend college eventually may be able to defer their acceptances for a year or two, so choosing a less-traditional path won’t mean the end of further schooling opportunities.
Travel the World
Many people experience the call to visit new lands and meet new people. Those years of freedom right after high school graduation can be perfect for travel. Parents who are concerned about allowing a gap between high school and college are often enthusiastic about the educational aspects of traveling. After all, what better way is there to experience other cultures, learn more about family ancestors and traditions, discover the source of those texts from school books and maybe even put some foreign language study to good use.
Give Back to Local and Global Communities
Another option to consider is the opportunity to volunteer. Whether graduates choose to work with a well-known organization, such as the Peace Corps or the American Red Cross, or to work in collaboration with a trusted individual, there are plenty of great reasons to give back. According to psychology research, volunteers have longer, healthier lives. Many volunteers return to find that their work has improved their career opportunities. Volunteering gives individuals a sense of purpose and is good for society as a whole. A year spent in volunteer work can be a valuable asset for young adults who are plotting the course for their future.
Personalize Your Study or Work Opportunities
Of course, continued education is another option. Some students may choose to pursue an apprenticeship where they are able to focus their learning on a particular trade without spending the time and money on the broad generals expected at colleges. Other career paths may run through certification programs, on-the-job training or courses that can be completed online. Some high school graduates move directly into a job where they hope to have a career. For example, a graduate might initially accept a low-paying job with a company, recognizing an “in”, and then work their way up to more meaningful positions.
Benefits of a Gap Year Experience
The chance to participate in gap year experiences can prepare new high school graduates for adulthood in several beneficial ways. As you know, opportunities to explore the world, develop interests and identify a driving purpose can lead to a richer, more fulfilling life. After a year spent traveling, volunteering, or working, some students find that they are more motivated to attend college or university. In general, students who experience a gap year fully tend to be more mature and focused when they do enroll in a college degree program. Those who don’t return to school also tend to have these positive attributes due to their life experiences.
Are you considering pursuing a less-traditional route after college? If so, what plans or ideas do you have?
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