1. Determine the purpose and length of your gap yearThe first thing you should figure out as you plan your gap year is how you want to spend it. You can research options on the internet, as well as ask your high school guidance counselor and parents for their input. Keep your budget in mind, and be realistic with your gap year goals. After you determine the purpose of your gap year, you will need to consider its length. While most gap years span a standard college year (i.e. late August through late May), some students prefer their gap year to be shorter or longer. No matter the length of your gap year, you can still apply to college at any time. If you are accepted to a school mid-gap year, most colleges will allow you to defer your admission for a period of time. This can add some flexibility to the length of your gap year, and it can allow you to pursue opportunities that may arise mid-experience.
2. Plan out details in advanceOnce you decide on your gap year’s purpose, you will need to begin building a concrete plan. Most gap year activities – including interning, traveling, and working – require some form of preparation. This might mean filling out an application for employment or booking plane tickets for an international trip. Completing these tasks sooner, rather than later, increases the likelihood that your gap year will move forward smoothly. You will not be scrambling to request letters of recommendation for an internship or to secure a passport, both of which may jeopardize your gap year plan.
3. Double-check your planOnce you complete your gap year plan, check it again – and after that, check it often. If you are planning to work or to intern, confirm with your potential employer or internship supervisor that you have submitted all of your application materials. If you are traveling, ensure that your itinerary is up-to-date. International travel regulations often change, so monitor your destination country or countries for important information. Creating a gap year plan in advance will help you ensure that this experience is as successful as possible. Enjoy your gap year!
Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a technology platform for private academic tutoring and test prep designed to help students at all levels of education achieve academic excellence.