Gap Years can be a touchy subject, especially for recent grads and their parents. The idea of taking a year off before entering college sounds appealing to many students, but concerns of losing momentum in their studies or the possibility of never going to college can weigh heavily on parents’ minds.

There are actually a lot of positive things about taking a gap year. It can open up new opportunities that you otherwise never would’ve found and it can even help you refocus your energies on schooling once you decide to go back. Here are some possibilities that you can take advantage of if you’re thinking about foregoing college for a year to spend time away from the books and out in the real world.

Find an Internship

While many high school grads entering college may already know what they want to major in, sometimes it’s a good idea to get some experience in the field that you will be in once you earn your degree. Who knows? Maybe the career you thought you wanted may not really be for you.

Finding an internship in the field of your studies can show you what you can expect your life to be like after college. Maybe the career isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be, or, on the other hand, maybe the internship strengthens your resolve that you’ve chosen the career. Internships give you a “real world” view of your possible profession that you may otherwise not have understood before you slogged through all of the credits for your major.

Travel

Another possibility that presents itself in a Gap Year is that of travel. Although traveling the world can be expensive, one of the easiest ways to do so is to volunteer abroad.

If you choose to volunteer, you can go to nearly any place in the world you can think of. Not only will you be helping people, you will be having an unforgettable experience that opens you to new cultures and lifestyles. When you volunteer, you won’t get paid, but all of your expenses will be paid for, so you won’t have to worry about room and board, giving you time to help those less fortunate. Plus it looks great on a college application!

Learn how to volunteer abroad here.

Find a Job

If you’d like to make a little money for yourself before you head off to college, you can always take a job for the year.

There are plenty of jobs that are looking for young, ambitious people. One of the most common ways you can earn money and see the world is to work on a cruise line or yacht. Or, if you want to stay near your family, you can find a job in your area that doesn’t require a long-term commitment.

Gap Years are becoming more common, so look at the positives and negatives and see if it’s right for you.

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