Make the Most of a Gap Year: How It Can Save You Money and More

Written by  //  2013/04/12  //  Academics  //  Comments Off on Make the Most of a Gap Year: How It Can Save You Money and More

There are many reasons to take a defer enrollment to college — wanting to have fun, see the world and make money are just some of them. Not only does a year off give you time to work or travel, but it prepares you for what is up ahead. After spending a year on your own, you’ll likely arrive at college ready to learn, and, depending on your experiences, you’ll probably bring a valuable perspective into the college classroom. Before you take the year off, there are some things to think about:

Apply First, Then Defer

Don’t postpone applying for college. Even if you plan to take a gap year, apply during your senior year of high school. It’s easier to get application materials together and meet deadlines this way. The assurance of admittance is one less thing you’ll have to worry about during your year off. After acceptance, contact your college’s admission’s office to defer. Usually future students must submit in writing their reasons for deferring admission to the dean of admission, along with a deposit. Not all schools approve deferred admission, and policies vary. When applying, knowing this information may help you choose which university is right for you.

Decisions Decisions

After you’re granted deferred enrollment, plan how you’ll spend your gap year. Do you want to travel, work or both? Now is the time to make decisions about where you’ll go, how long you’ll be there, who will go with you and how you’ll pay for it. If you plan to travel abroad, look into teaching English as a second language. Or apply for a paid internship or other money-making opportunities. If you plan to stay home and work, find jobs online at You don’t have to choose one or the other. Split your time half and half – six months traveling, six months working – or choose a job in a new city and plan to take several smaller trips on weekends and your days off.

photo by CollegeDegrees360

All the Perks

Besides giving your brain an academic break, taking a gap year has many perks. Depending on what you do, the year off can help build your confidence, allow you to see the world, help you decide on a major and add to your resume. Whether you are working or traveling, you can save money and apply it to your college fund. And you won’t just save money by hoarding away portions of your paycheck; after a year of traveling or working, you are more likely to enter college with a goal in mind, which can prevent you from jumping from major to major trying to find your path.

Enjoy It

Whatever you decide to do during your gap year, enjoy it. Traveling, working, volunteering or a little bit of all three can help you find yourself and gain some serious perspective on life. It will help make the transition into college and adulthood a little easier, and possibly lead to better opportunities for your future. So whether you’re backpacking through East Asia, volunteering in Cambodia with Peace Corps or molding your skills at an internship, take some time to have fun and learn about yourself. When you get home, you’ll not only have life experience under your belt, but you’ll be more likely to appreciate your college education and all that comes with it.

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