A gap year should increase participants’ self-awareness, allow them to learn about different cultural perspectives, and enable them to explore their passions and possible careers. These explorations may include internships, apprenticeships, jobs, volunteer work, or travelling.
Learning Coaches and parents can help students find such learning opportunities and use resources available to help students get the most benefit out of their gap years. For example,
the Gap Year Association offers accredited gap year programs to provide structure and plans for students’ gap years. Connections Academy also offers students resources to pursue Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and can help parents and Learning Coaches find options for students to explore their passions as well as prepare students for how to apply to college after a gap year.
Ideally, this exploration should lead to greater clarity and focus for a student regarding what they are interested in and what career they want to pursue. For example, if a student is thinking about a career in working with the elderly, then they can volunteer or get a job at a local retirement home to see if they enjoy the work and if they are passionate about it enough to pursue a college degree in gerontology, medicine, or community health science.