When students take a year off between high school and college, it is known as a gap year. Despite the commonly recognized title, the period taken in between high school and college may be shorter or longer. Some students just take a semester before beginning college, while others delay their further education for a couple of years. A gap year can be planned and intentional—students may choose to travel or perform internships—or it can be unplanned—for example, if a student has an unanticipated health condition or family situation that prevents them from attending college immediately. Some gap years will be spent on religious, voluntary, or military duty, while others will be spent working or interning. All things considered, these periods are rarely spent exclusively on leisure; rather, young people are attempting to catch a break between two long-term educational commitments to learn more about themselves and the world.
As such, considering the practice of gap year to be only the prerogative of the rich and better socially established is not entirely true. The modern gap years are no longer reminiscent of the famous European Holidays of the past. An additional year of work, for example, might provide students with a better idea of what they want to do in the future, which is likely to impact their major choice. Meanwhile, from the more immediately practical standpoint, the saved-up money will allow the students to not worry about part-time jobs quite as much, delegating more of their time and energy to study. It is often especially hard for freshers to balance out the academic challenges with the shift in a social environment and the necessity to support themselves financially. Thus, having one of these pressures eased by the savings acquired during the gap year can be a significant improvement.
Similarly, volunteer records or religious pursuits might benefit those who have undertaken them during college applications. It is a widely known fact that modern universities look beyond grades alone. They are interested in attracting active and multidimensional people with a wide scope of interests. A gap year provides students with an opportunity to focus on their personal projects and passions, particularly if these are not, for one reason or another, put in the focus of their upcoming major. Later on, as mentioned above, these projects add an attractive feature to any college application, improving its ability to present the personality of an applicant in question.
Furthermore, a gap year would partially solve the ongoing problem of higher education being removed from the factual reality and insufficiently grounded. After encountering the world outside of educational commitments, young people can enter their universities with a better understanding of the system they are engaging with. This improved understanding is likely to contribute to their academic and general success. Most importantly, it is difficult to acquire through any other channels due to the structure of modern education. By the time students mostly form as individuals with their personal and somewhat informed opinions on the world around them, the academic pressure is often nearly at its peak. The gap year practice would allow students to receive the context of the world before continuing with their studies. As such, it would benefit society to predominantly normalize it and avoid the stigma and confusion associated with the term.