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How to Explore a Gap Year During College

Written by CB Community

Everyone’s idea of a gap year is different.

It is an entire year or semester of learning experiences that may include travel, volunteering, paid work, an internship, or a combination of these. It is typically taken following high school graduation before beginning college.

Whatever route you take, you’ll discover that a successful gap year can significantly impact you.

Many students leave with a better understanding of themselves. This is primarily because they can learn more about the world and step outside their comfort zones.

A gap year allows you to gain skills and experiences while allowing time to reflect and plan your succeeding steps for the future:

  • A productive gap year can benefit your CV; many employers value the experiences students gain if they actively manage their time, set goals for themselves, and stretch themselves.
  • A gap year can also benefit your higher education studies; if you apply to university, you can tailor your gap year to the subject area you intend to study.
  • Admissions tutors understand that it may take some time for some students to adjust to looking again. Still, a large number of former gap year students are usually more focused and responsible.

Advantages of Taking a Gap Year

  • A chance to take a break from studying and come back refreshed. You can travel the world while volunteering and gaining valuable work experience. You can stay abroad in places like IQ shoreditch or IQ tufnell house if you find work in the UK.
  • A productive gap year can be beneficial to your CV.
  • You could connect your experience and activities to the subject matter you intend to study.
  • You can earn and save money for higher education or other plans.
  • You will mature if you don’t feel ready for higher education or a career. For some professions, being slightly older and having some life experience can be advantageous.

Disadvantages of Taking a Gap Year

  • Some people find that taking a year off distracts their long-term goals.
  • An unstructured year away may not make much value to your future; careful consideration and planning are required.
  • Returning to study or work after a year off can be difficult.
  • It can be costly, and you may have a worse financial situation.
  • If you don’t plan ahead of time, you might spend your gap year just ‘thinking about it.’

Conduct Your Research

Whatever your gap year idea is, it’s critical to develop a plan for what you’ll do for the year, and you should begin planning well in advance.

Some volunteer work programs are popular and have strict deadlines, so recognize when you require the money to pay for airfare or visas.

There are numerous ideas to consider; some may take an entire year, while others may only take a few weeks or months. You could also combine several ideas.

There are numerous gap years and volunteer opportunities available.

If you use an agency or scheme, find out how long it has been in operation, if it is financially sound, and if it is a member of a reputable organization.

What Can You Do During Your Gap Year?

Charity Work

Volunteering allows you to help a worthy cause while gaining valuable experience.

You could participate in a wildlife conservation project, teach children, or assist in constructing a school in a third-world country.


Travel allows you to discover new cultures while developing independent living skills. You could backpack across Southeast Asia, take InterRail through Europe, or fly around the world!

Freelance/Paid Employment

Paid work enables you to earn money while learning new skills at home or abroad.

You could do freelance work on a farm in Australia’s outback, as a ski lift operator in Canada, or in a backpacker hostel in New Zealand.

Work Experience

Consider a work placement or internship if you want to gain relevant knowledge and skills for a specific career or subject you intend to study.

These can last anywhere between a few weeks and a year. You may or may not be paid depending on the type of contract offered.

These are extremely popular, and competition for spots is fierce, so apply early.

Part-Time Courses

Why not take advantage of part-time courses and try something new?

You could learn a new language or program, try a new sport or musical instrument, or learn a new practical skill like mechanics, carpentry, or cooking.

Consider Your Options Carefully

Consider your options carefully, and seek advice if you need to discuss them further. It may be possible to postpone your acceptance to a higher education course for a year.

Nevertheless, you will be required to make your case directly to the university or college in question as to why this would be advantageous. ​

If unsure, talk to your parents/caregivers, teachers, or a career adviser.

Check out forums and social media for advice and insight into other people’s experiences with gap years you’re interested in, especially if you plan on going abroad!

Think About Accommodations

Another thing to keep in mind while going abroad is the accommodation where you will stay.

You can use online platforms to find thousands of accommodation and student housing options in areas such as Australia and Dublin.

Go online to find your perfect home away from home!

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.