Are you at a crossroads, wondering if a gap year could be the right chapter in your life’s adventure? If the idea of exploration, personal growth, and diverse cultural experiences excite you, then it just might be a great option to consider before you head to college. If you're a middle or high school student, or a parent or guardian of one, read on for some valuable tips for prospective gap year students from gap year experts Baret Scholars:
Making the Most of Your Gap Year: 8 Tips for Every Adventurer
1. Set Clear GoalsBefore you begin your gap year, take some time to reflect on what you hope to achieve during this period. Are you seeking personal growth, cultural immersion, or skill development? Setting clear goals will help you tailor your experience to your objectives.
2. Plan Your Finances
Budgeting is crucial for a successful gap year. Calculate your expenses, taking into account costs, such as travel, accommodation, food, and activities. Explore scholarship opportunities, grants, and part-time work options to help cover your expenses.
3. Learn a New Language
If you're visiting a foreign country or region, consider learning the local language. Language skills can greatly enhance your cultural immersion and help you connect with people on a deeper level.
4. Volunteer Abroad
One of the most rewarding aspects of a gap year is giving back. Pursue volunteer opportunities that align with your interests, whether it's environmental conservation, teaching, healthcare, or community development.
5. Fully Immerse in the Culture
Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures around the world. If you are seeking a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the world, a program like Baret Scholars – where you get to live in 7 different regions around the world for 7 months in a semi-structured and self-guided manner – might be of interest. For many programs like this one, need and merit based scholarship opportunities are available too!
6. Document Your Journey
Share your experiences with the world. Consider keeping a blog, vlog, or photo journal to document your journey. Not only will this provide a creative outlet, but it can also help you reflect on your adventures and inspire others.
7. Embrace Spontaneity
While planning is essential, leave room for spontaneity. Say 'yes' to unexpected opportunities that arise during your journey. Some of the most memorable experiences happen when you least expect them. Whether you decide to pursue a structured gap year program that offers the comfort of a curated experience or a self-guided gap year that provides the freedom to create a journey based on your interests (...or a hybrid model, like Baret Scholars, that combines elements of both), the key is to approach it with an open heart, a curious mind, and a thirst for discovery.
8. Seek Advice
If you're curious about the idea of a gap year, but still not sure whether a year off before college is the right journey for you, be sure to seek advice from others around you. Your school counselor could be a great option as they may have a good understanding of your academic and extra-curricular profile. Alternatively, if you're already working with a college admissions counselor like Collegewise, they will know you on a personal level and can help you decide whether or not a gap year before college aligns with your goals and values. They'll also help you line up a great school to jump right into upon your return. Not working with a college admissions consultant? No problem, there's a lot of great information out there to help you evaluate your options. You can read more gap year insight from Collegewise here:
About Baret Scholars:
Named after Jeanne Baret, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, Baret Scholars is a brand new global gap year experience. In September 2024, Baret is bringing together its inaugural cohort of 180 high school graduates from around the world to journey across 7 regions (US, France, Brazil, Middle East, Kenya, India, China), over 200 days, in a semi-structured and self-guided gap year experience. Before and beyond college, this will be their best year yet.
About Collegewise: With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the family. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for your student to be their best self - whether in the classroom, the applications, or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of counseling, test prep, academic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, lead to 4x higher than average admissions rates.