The possibilities are endless when it comes to taking your very own gap year, so far the research shows the best kind of gap year to take is a pre-structured one. Here’s why:
- Studies show students who attend universities who have taken a structured gap year prior to their first year of study have higher average grades and a much higher graduation rate.
- Individuals who enter the workplace after a structured gap year have higher job satisfaction and work harder than individuals who have not.
- There are multiple different gap year programs available based on your interests and what you want to achieve, these programs team you up with like-minded individuals giving you the best possible experience.
- A structured gap year will put you in new and challenging situations that will enable you to leave your comfort zone and test yourself, this results in maximum experiential learning.
- You will have a mentor/guide/instructor with you throughout your gap year as well as peers that will push you to your limits and be with you every step of the way.
- The tasks put forward will challenge you physically and mentally unleashing your inner full potential and giving you the strength to grow.
- A structured gap year will encourage you to set specific goals then help you to achieve them, it’s all about knowing why you are doing what you are doing.
- A structured gap year has plenty of opportunities, do you want to work? Volunteer? Explore? A combination of several? It’s all up to you.
- Taking a structured gap year takes a mountain of pressure off of you, the company has pretty much everything set up. This gives you time to focus on preparing, saving and getting yourself to your starting destination.
(Thinking beyond borders, 2014).
Contrary to popular belief, taking a structured gap year will not affect your ability to go back into study – with over 90% of structured gap year participants choosing to do so. It is of the general opinion of these participants that taking a gap year set them up and prepared them for the challenges they faced when starting their first year of university.
A gap year is NOT a vacation, that’s why it is best to choose a structured gap year. When attempting to do a gap year of your own planning rather than the structured type, there are too many factors that can inhibit your chances of success. The two biggest risks are:
- You losing your way – forgetting why you embarked on the journey, what your goals where and who you wanted to grow into – thus achieving nothing. Remember it is important to know why you are doing what you are doing.
- You risk getting stuck – seriously stuck – you could run out of money, make a mistake with a visa, literally get lost, miss a train, bus or plane, the risks of unstructured travel far outweigh the benefits.
Posted by Shannon Stevens