This post is entirely my opinion on the gap year for high school graduates. Praxis is one option for post high school. They are the sponsors of today’s post.
I’ll be honest. I hate the gap year. When I hear that a teen is choosing a gap year I think, “Oh is that what the kids are calling it now?” Back in the day we just called that going to work or not going to college. Gap year makes it sound like the graduate has a plan, but do they?
Why I Hate The Gap Year
There are a lot of reasons I dislike the idea of a gap.
- I’ve met too many people who take the break and don’t pursue their future only to regret that decision later– mostly because it is harder to do when you have a family. Many wish they’d have put the time in when it was easier.
- Living in a town with two prestigious colleges/universities gives me a unique perspective on the gap year. Local high school graduates who don’t have a plan struggle because we are surrounded by people who do have a plan- and they are living it out. Others who take the gap elsewhere and return are older and return home only to find their peer group is in graduate school- a place for the very focused. It is really hard to be the one without a plan in this town.
- Often times, students enter their gap year without a real plan or at the most only a partial plan in place. If the purpose of the gap year is to explore and focus, then they must be intentional about it. An aimless gap year will not help students to reach their goals.
If a student wants to explore and get experience before going to college, then they must take active steps in figuring out how to do it. If the student has no strategy in learning and experiencing things related to their interests during the year then they will be no closer to finding a goal than they were at high school graduation.
Every Successful Gap Year Must Include a Solid Plan
For the student who needs the “gap”, there needs to be a concrete plan to reach concrete goals. Here are a few to consider, but there are many resources and ideas out there for a student to use in building their gap strategy.
- Explore different careers based on interest
- Set a reading goal and get started– by the end of the year plan to complete the goal. It can be related to interests and include the classics.
- Find work related to your potential area of study
- Volunteer with organizations which embody your values– learn all about the organization
- Enroll in programming designed to teach you in a field of study
Praxis Provides a Plan for a Gap Year
Praxis is a part of the plan and places people where they will gain experience which will help them in concrete ways in the pursuit of their future.
- Experience based entrepreneurial program
- Applications are being accepted for next fall and winter sessions
- Creates options for post high school education
- Demonstrates choices for real life applications
- Gives student real world practice with businesses
- Builds experience for students
While I do hate the gap year, I know some of my children may choose to enter their post high school world differently. My husband was asked to take a gap year during his time at university so that he could sort out his priorities. I’ve spoken openly about my bright & occasionally motivated high schooler. My daughter has an entrepreneurial spirit and loves her fashion design. Any of these situations could easily give me pause to consider an alternate path to the future.
As we have turned a final corner into this school year, we are looking ahead at two high school students next year. We are actively helping them to seek their future even now and for a long time. We are preparing them for several options. All of them involve a plan- especially if they propose a gap year!