You have decided that taking a gap year from college is your best option. In my last posting I said that colleges will let you take a gap year if you are doing something productive. What do colleges consider productive?
Colleges don’t want to see you sitting around during the gap year. Want to work to raise money for college or broaden your horizons? That is fine. Want to volunteer for your favorite charity? That’s fine too. But is there a “best” activity?
There is no one “best” activity for a gap year. But some activities are better than others depending on why you are taking the gap year. If you are taking the gap year to take a break from academics, then working, volunteering or traveling are all activities that might make sense. For these students I generally advise that they find something they are passionate about and focus their year on that passion. Whether this involves work, volunteering or travel really doesn’t matter.
However, taking a course at the local community college would not make much sense. If you wanted to continue your academic pursuits, why didn’t you just go to your original college?
On the other hand, if you are taking a gap year because you slacked off in high school and did not do well, taking a class at the local community college may be the best option to prove you can do college level work. Working a steady job for these students is also a great way to spend a gap year because you can show some maturity by holding a steady job. Many students also find that after working a low end job for a year that they are more serious about getting an education. That sort of experience often makes a student more motivated than if they had gone directly to college.
The “best” activity for a gap year is one that results in growth for you. Whether that is academic growth or just growth as a person, only you can determine the “best” activity for your gap year.
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