Burnout from school and overwhelming tuition fees are causing more and more students to take gap years. If you are one of those students who are considering taking a year off to just rest or figure out your life goals but worry that it may affect your chances of employment, admissions coach Gerald Bradshaw says that gap years pose no problem for returning students and can actually work to their advantage.
Since 2006, the number of students going on sabbatical year has gone up around 40 percent. These days, it has become more popular to take some time off before you start your educational journey. What some of them do is spend this time traveling, working, or just testing out their career options.
Taking a gap year is a consideration made by local and international students alike – so here are some advantages to consider when it comes to taking a sabbatical in school.
Students Taking Longer to Graduate
Statistics show that only four out of 10 students actually get their degree within four years, and this will cause more financial burden in the long run. Starting later than your peers does not necessarily mean you will be behind, but instead can give you more time to consider your options without accumulating debt.
When carefully planned out, a sabbatical year can even improve your chances of getting your degree on time. Studies reveal that those who take time off become more academically focused and increased their readiness. Making proper use of this time is key, and spending that time working, doing volunteer work, or simply visiting a country with a different language are all worthy investments that can enhance your overall education.
Work Experience As an Advantage
Bradshaw notes that some graduate schools actually prefer applicants who have prior work experience because it shows their “real life” exposure. According to him, many top law and MBA programs prefer students with internships and work experience on their resume.
Students learn new skills that could benefit them in their studies and employment after graduation. It teaches you organizational and decision-making skills that you can’t normally learn in a classroom setting. For those who travel, it develops an appreciation and understanding of other cultures as well as better communication skills. This is especially important if you plan on studying abroad.
Highlighting Your Story
When applying into college, he notes the importance of sharing your story and starting off with a powerful opener. Writing essays about your gap year can be a way to showcase your ambition and drive. Through your experience, you can show your admissions officer that you are mature and responsible enough to face a career in whatever industry you are applying for.
Universities and colleges are always looking for students with diverse and unique backgrounds that they can share to their student community. Your experience can become a learning tool for other students, and it can also be a reliable indicator of future performance.