Contrary to popular belief, the teen years are not always a lockstep march through four years of high school. In fact, some of the most interesting people I have met have taken a very different path through the high school years. Some have put high school on pause for a year to build a business, to immerse themselves in research, or to act in a movie. They suspend classes to pursue a unique opportunity. Some kids have medical emergencies that interrupt high school. Other kids are mentally done with high school and elect to graduate early so they can hasten on with life. Others take longer to finish classes or mature and so reclassify and graduate late. Then there are those that graduate high school at the regular time and decide to take a Gap Year before moving on to college. What are the options for a Gap Year?
Sometimes Gap Year kids are disappointed with their college acceptances, so opt to spend a year doing something unique and then try again with college applications. Often this extra year of maturity and experience makes for a stronger application and they are more successful the second time around.
Other students who decide on a Gap Year have already been accepted by their dream college, but elect to take a year off for a change of pace before plowing into classes again. Most colleges are very encouraging of this practice and will hold their spot for a year. Sometimes scholarships will stay in effect for the student, sometimes they will not.
Some students are just sick of everything academic and will chase a Gap Year to figure out what they want in life. This gives them added insight about themselves and their dreams before they decide which colleges to apply to or what major they might want to pursue. They will wait to apply to college until after the experience (or right in the middle in November and December of the Gap Year itself).
An unusual progression through high school is often invaluable to your student. It can allow them time to heal, time to discover what they want in life, time to serve, or time for adventure. As such, it makes them more interesting to colleges and can increase their chances of admission. However, an unfamiliar route needs to be explained carefully to schools so they understand the value of the experience. We want colleges to see the beautiful story, not the irregular route. Aiming Higher Consultants would love to help you tell that unique story!