How To Convince Your Parents To Let You Take A Gap Year

1. Do your research (make an educated decision) 

It is hard to convince someone to let you do something when you don’t even know exactly what there is for you to do. When a decision seems like it could be risky, parents (or anyone) will tend to shy away from that decision. There are a lot of constructive options out there and resources that can help, including:

The American Gap Association

USA Gap Year Fairs

Thinking Beyond Borders

2. Gather your argument (channel your inner Elle Woods)

One of the biggest things parents worry about is what you are going to do on your year off or if you are going to go back to school. Know exactly what you plan to do so you can have a solid base to support your argument.

3.​ Decide who is going to be paying for what

Do you expect your parents to support you while you take time off from school? Are you going to get a job and pay for all or most things by yourself? These are important factors to decide on before you present your argument. Creating a budget plan for your next year will not only show your maturity, but also your dedication to this idea. 

4. Make a pros and cons list

Just like Elle, your gap year can be incredibly valuable. To showcase it to your parent, create a simple list of the pros and cons associated with your gap year plan. Make sure this is really the right step for you; if you feel passionate about it, your parents will surely notice that.

5. Pick a time to talk with no distractions

I know your brave soul can probably handle just about anything that life throws at you, but it is best to talk about big decisions when your parent or guardian is not distracted. If you really want to suck up to them, offer to take them to lunch or coffee (your treat) and dedicate the conversation to talking about your now well put together argument. Hopefully you win them over!

Testimony of a gap year veteran (aka me)

By the time it was my senior year of high school, I was so ready to be out of school and explore the so called “real world.” I did not have much interest in attending college yet, not because I didn’t know what I would study, but because I am an actress, a career that does not require a college degree. So, for my time I moved to New York City as an attempt to dip my toes into the industry. About halfway through I decided that I wanted to go back to school, so I applied to colleges. During my time off I realized I have a hunger for knowledge, but without my time spent in New York on my own, I believe I would lack the desire to focus in school and the passion I have about what I am learning. I was lucky that my parent is incredibly supportive and encourages me to take risks and make brave decisions. With my mom’s support I was able to gain a new world perspective and I am so thankful for my gap year.

Isabelle Fisher ‘20, is a B.F.A Theater and Performance major at Emerson College.

Don't forget, anything is possible!