FINDING THE BEST GAP YEAR PROGRAMS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL FOR YOU
Finding the Best Gap Year Programs after High School for You
A quick online search will turn up dozens of different gap year programs, but what exactly makes one gap year program different than any other? Each program has its own pros and cons, offering new experiences and different areas of emphasis. If you’re going to be spending several months of your life exploring a new culture and place, it’s important to find a program that emphasizes what you need, and what you want to get out of your gap year. So what makes a gap year program the best one for you? __Consider these 6 key factors for finding the best gap year programs: __
The cost of high school gap year opportunities can vary greatly, with some costing upwards of $10,000 for a three month program. Likewise, scholarships and financial aid offerings vary quite a bit. But don't let initial sticker shock deter you from applying, and don’t let the cost scare you into not pursuing the best gap year programs. Gap year opportunities should be available to everyone, so certain programs and scholarships offer significant financial aid to students — and they may even cover your full program costs!
Perhaps the biggest draw for a gap year is the potential to live in a country which you have always dreamed of visiting. Are you passionate about spending a year in a specific place? If so, look for the gap year programs after high school that offer that destination, keeping in mind of course, that you're avoiding tourist spots in favor of real life experiences. A gap year is an opportunity to experience life abroad, in a place you’ve never been before and take part in the global community. That’s why you should choose a program that offers a location you want to visit and, especially, be a part of.
What you'll be doing
You may already have a good idea of what you'd like to do during your gap year between high school and college. The best program for you will give you the opportunity to pursue new experiences in an area you're passionate about or curious about. Opportunities to learn, to explore, and to be a part of a completely different culture and the global community is what elevates gap year programs to something far more rewarding than just a glorified vacation or “time off of school.” If you're unsure, read what other gap year participants are doing to get a taste of what is available. These kinds of “a day in the life” readings and blog posts can give you a sample of what your life would be like. You can even look at reviews and alumni experience so you can evaluate their experience and hear all the good and challenging parts of the program.
How deeply would you like to be immersed into the culture? Living situations in gap year programs can vary from hotels full of tourists to living with local host families. To make the most of your experience, look for gap year programs offering a fully immersive situation where you can truly maximize your time and learn the culture, language and customs around you. This is dependent on your preference, but you’ll have to consider what is most important to you to make it a gap year you won’t forget.
How long would you like your experience to be? The term “gap year” can sometimes be misleading, because some programs last only a semester or take place over the summer; not all gap year opportunities after high school last a full year or need to be if you don’t want to be away that long!
Fortunately, that means that there is a variety of gap year traveling programs to fit your schedule. Look for one that fits with your intended timeline, but also keep in mind that shorter programs might not provide you with as many experiences or give you the ability to master a language if that’s what your goal is.
A gap year doesn't mean you're falling behind a semester or two; it means you'll be better positioned for success when you get to college, with more experience and a new sense of maturity. As such, it’s always worth taking part, even if you cannot get college credit for it. However, many gap year programs and colleges do allow you to earn college credits during your experience. Even if college credit isn't an option, you'll maximize your college experience by developing independence, leadership, focus and grit, giving a leg up on the other students before you even step foot on campus.
These categories are the big items you should consider when finding the best high school gap year program for you. But, this is just the beginning of your cultural journey. When deciding on the best gap year programs, the key is to ask yourself what is the most important to you, and then find the program that best fits those requirements. Start by considering a gap year with Global Citizen Year and discover the most beneficial high school gap year program that may just become one of the best years of your life and an experience that you will never forget!