Have you ever considered taking a gap year? Due to COVID-19, more students than ever before are deciding to take a gap year for a variety of reasons. How do you determine whether or not you should take a gap year, especially given the current circumstances?
As colleges switch to distance learning, many students feel inclined to take a gap year instead of paying full tuition just to take online classes at home. Have you heard that some colleges are allowing freshmen to reside on campus this fall? Even though colleges have made plans to let students on campus, state policies may override these decisions and force colleges to resort to distance learning.
On the other hand, some students with plans to take a gap year have actually decided not to; students often take gap years in order to travel the world and discover more about themselves. With travel being highly restricted, students have decided to forgo their gap year and continue on with their education this coming fall.
Even if you do decide to take a gap year, some schools are changing their policies due to the high number of requests to take a leave of absence. Princeton has made it clear that students who take a leave of absence may have to come back later than expected in order to account for future incoming students.
If your family’s financial situation has changed due to COVID-19, consider contacting your college. They are typically going to be willing to give you more financial aid instead of encouraging students to take a leave of absence. Additionally, make sure to consider student loans before taking a leave of absence; loan grace periods don’t factor in gap years, so you may need to pay off your loans sooner than expected. Double check on scholarships too; these may only apply for this upcoming school year.
Many students are disappointed at the fact that they won’t be receiving the full college experience this year. However, students must make a tough decision: whether to put their entire education on hold, or to continue on, even in nonideal circumstances. For some students, fears of the virus are enough for them to decide to take a gap year, if their school decides to allow freshmen on campus. For others, social distancing may actually be beneficial to studying; without parties, clubs, and activities to worry about, students can devote most of their time to studying and adapting to the college workload. This mindset might not work for students who require in-person learning, such as film or music school, or those who are planning on playing college sports.
These are just some of the factors students must consider when deciding whether or not to take a gap year this year. With careful consideration, we know that you will make the best decision for your personal education!