What to Do with a COVID-19 College Gap Year

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A Year Off Between High School and College

Hello to all of you students and parents. Did you know in 2020 that, according to a recent poll, roughly one in five high school seniors decided to opt for a college gap year or college bridge year due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak? This year in 2021, it looks like many high school seniors will be faced with that same decision.

However, is this a wise decision, and if a student does take a college gap year, how should the time be filled to make it a productive year?

Read on to learn some helpful ideas related to this subject.

Pros and Cons

On the positive side, a gap year allows students to de-stress after four years of high school. During the COVID-19 outbreak, it also allows students to forgo a lot of online learning, which many students feel is not very productive. Furthermore, students can gain some valuable work experience and learn how the real world operates from day to day.

On the negative side, a gap year can be an expensive proposition, especially if the student is not working during the time period. Of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel options and other opportunities are limited as compared to other years. In addition, many students find taking a gap year could place them behind their fellow students, and then they have to catch up on their studies.

Should I Work or Should I Travel?

Well, if you want to travel during a COVID-19 gap year, there exists a catch, and it's a big catch. You will find it tough to travel overseas, which is what most students tend to desire, especially to the European countries. On the other hand, America is a large country and offers plenty of breathtaking views along with interesting history.

Now, if you decide you want to work instead of travel, you will need to decide whether you are going to find temporary employment or an internship.

Volunteering

College students have a long and proud record of giving of their time as well as efforts to volunteer to improve the life situations of fellow citizens and persons in other countries. Some options include:

  • AmeriCorps
  • City Year
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
  • National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)
  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)

Global Citizen Year

Global Citizen Year is a fascinating nonprofit program that actually recruits high school seniors for two different gap year opportunities. Fortunate students who are chosen can participate in either:

  • Global Citizen Year Academy
  • Global Citizen Year Fellowship

Gap Year Association

The Gap Year Association (GYA) is a nonprofit, which was founded in the year 2012, and supports the burgeoning Gap Year Movement. It focuses on:

  • Equity & Access
  • Research
  • Resources
  • Standards & Accreditation

Cracking the Code

Many students have decided to learn to code during their college gap year. Why not? It's a trendy subject, and it's possible to learn the basics in three to six months, although, of course, becoming really proficient will probably take several more years. Computer languages for beginners to consider include:

  • C++
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Ruby

The Right Time to Write

A college gap year might not be a bad time to do some writing, either in the form of a novel, poetry, a biography, or a journal of your experiences during the year. Companies are always on the lookout for students with excellent writing skills, and the ability to write should impress the human resources manager.

Shakespeare

One option to consider is to cultivate your creative side, and an attractive way to do this would be in the theater. Try out for a play, or if you prefer the behind-the-scenes aspects, find a way to be a set designer. This could actually increase a student's skills which may later be applied to various work projects.

Dancing Star

One sport which a person can participate in well past age 65 is dancing, and a college gap year might be the ideal time to learn some dance moves. This could bolster a student's self-confidence and allow them to be more capable in social situations when they are meeting prospective new business clients.

A Fluent Gap Year

Why not learn a second language during a college gap year? More and more Americans are speaking Spanish, and a lot of companies are quick to hire bilingual candidates.

In Conclusion

The 365 days in a COVID-19 college gap year will fly by quicker than you think, so it might not be a bad idea to decide in advance how you plan to spend your time during the year. Taking a college gap year might just improve a student's self-confidence, leadership skills, and abilities to communicate with fellow students as well as community members.

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