Your college-bound teens are scared. Their worries about what the fall will bring adds to the unwanted tension in your household. Why not switch it up?
Instead of allowing teen anxiety about college to ramp up, replace fall matriculation with Gap Time. According to Jane and Jason Sarouhan of J2Guides, there’s never been a better time to consider a Gap Year or a Gap Semester.
Gap Time is what the college-bound do instead of attending to college or community college. It’s a fabulous opportunity for them to get some real world experience—plus an extra year of maturation—under their belts before attending school.
Normally, 1-2% of high school students take Gap Time. Now, 35% of them are seeking nontraditional paths in a nontraditional time.
The additional perk is that rather than sitting around mentally wringing their hands about a hazy future, your teen can take control of the situation by choosing not to wait and wonder. The mere act of sitting down to research Gap Time possibilities generates empowerment. Even if the idea feels foreign and out of step with your kids’ original plans, they can still research it, and then see how they feel.
And, why not?
“With all of the uncertainty on college campuses right now and the possibility that students may be starting the fall semester online,” says Betsy Jewell in a High School Hamster Wheel Podcast, “a Gap Year, or even a Gap Semester, might be a great option. While a Gap Year experience might seem unlikely right now due to travel restrictions and social distancing, there are actually quite a few Gap Year opportunities available right in our own back yards and virtually.”
A Gap Year consisting of 2-3 influential experiences can change their lives.
- Expand a portfolio
- Learn a foreign language
- Train in a new skill
- Reach peak competitive conditioning for their sport
- Learn sign language, Morse code, or Braille
- Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen, or Habitat for Humanity
- Shadow at a clinic, nursing home, hospital or veterinary hospital
- Create an online business
- Work on a farm or ranch
- Grow their own crops
Why do students choose Gap Time?
Every student has a different story. Perhaps its:
- Physical health or mental health recovery, or enhancement
- Taking a year of wellness
- Developing tools in their Life Toolkit
- Curiosity about the world
- The journey to finding out who I am out here in the world
- Studying to raise test scores to reapply
- Exploring interests and expanding hobbies
Some students lost momentum in high school and didn’t ever apply to schools. With a well-chosen Gap Year, they can re-energize and create fresh momentum. A semester’s worth of experience can go a long way in developing confidence and maturity, not to mention life skills.
Plus, now is the perfect time for your teen to reroute—prior to the career and mortgage, before marriage and kids, and preceding the mountain of student debt.
You can learn more at Betsy Jewell’s High School Hamster Wheel Podcast where her interview with Jane and Jason Sarouhan addresses:
- budgeting for a Gap Year
- how to chose the right experiences
- how to transition your student back into college after
- and much more
The possibilities are endless!
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