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The Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year

Taking a gap year can be an extremely difficult and scary decision. It comes with a lot of unknown charted area, which is something a lot of people are afraid to face. Personally, taking a gap year between high school and college was one of the hardest and best things I ever did! Here are some of the major pros and cons I considered when making my decision.



Make The Right Decision

Deciding to take a gap year can help you ultimately make the best decision for you in the long run. This decision could be staying in state for school, choosing a small or big school, or even deciding not to go to college at all if you can't decide right out of high school. For me this decision was to stay instate close to my family, friends, and support system. Whatever you decide, taking a gap year gives you plenty of time to weigh your personal options and be confident in your decision.

Cool Off and Unwind

High school was extremely draining and took a major toll on me emotionally, socially, and physically. Jumping right back into school after only a few short months was a daunting idea. Taking a gap year allowed me to take some time and unwind from high school. I was able to leave all the high school drama behind and take time to do a lot of self reflection and realization. This time allowed me to recharge and make sure I was ready to give my all through my college experience.

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Explore Your Interests

If you’re like me, maybe you have no idea what you want to do with your life or where your future is going to take you. I never had one concrete interest in high school that I knew I wanted to pursue in college, or potentially for the rest of my life. Taking a gap year allowed me to explore different interests, hobbies, and figure out what I did and didn’t like. I was able to experience the real world and get some work experience. This time showed me the jobs I definitely did not want to be stuck for the rest of my adult life and gave me some direction as to what I could get involved in during college to proactively pursue my interests.

Image via IMDB 

While taking a gap year ended up being the best decision for myself, there were certainly some cons I had to consider before making my decision.



Socially Isolating

Taking a gap year can get extremely lonely. While most of your high school friends are off embarking on a new journey, you might be sticking around home falling into a different type of routine. I found it extremely hard to meet people and put myself out there during my gap year because I was apart of the professional world rather than the college world. I felt left out from my friends who had lots of fun stories to share over break. I heard all about the exciting new parts of college that my friends were experiencing while I was not.

Image via US News 

You Might Get Rusty

Getting back into the swing of things academically can be challenging after summer break. Imagine after a full year! Putting yourself back into school and the academic mindset can take a little adjustment. Personally, I was extremely worried about getting too rusty on my study skills and felt as if I might fall behind in my classes. To avoid this, I took a summer course the summer before I went back to school in order to get the wheels in my mind turning again.

Image via Spoonflower

The Dreaded College Apps

If you were like me, taking a gap year was a last minute decision. I had done the whole college application process. I picked a school, and fully intended to go. As summer neared the end I began to realize that it wasn’t the right time for me to head off to college. The thing that bummed me out the most was the idea of having to redo all my college applications. I had to go through the whole process again of picking schools to apply to, filling out the common application, writing new essays, and going through the excruciating and long months, just waiting to hear back all over again. While yes, this sucked at the time, it also helped me narrow down schools I really truly felt it was worth applying to and made sure I was making the right choices the second time around.


Whether or not you have taken a gap year, you're thinking about taking a gap year, or do you wish you had, it can be a difficult decision for everyone. There are lots of factors to consider and only you can make the right decision for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be judged for not following the path society has implemented into our minds of attending college right after high school. Do what will make you the happiest and what you feel will give you the tools to be successful in wherever life takes you!

Hanna is a first year student at UCSB planning to major in Communications. She is interested in everything fashion and pop culture related. When she isn't writing for Her Campus she enjoys hanging out with her friends, being active in her sorority, and showing everyone pictures of her bulldog.
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