Why a Gap Year May be the Perfect Option for You

Peres Center for Peace, Israel, Big Idea students have the opportunity to check out tech, innovation and business in Israel!

Think about this. You graduate high school, start saying your goodbyes and pack for your next new journey. You step on a plane and travel to Israel. You check your Instagram stories and see your friends setting up their dorms, beginning Freshman orientations. You’re a bit nervous…anxious…but also excited about the unknown. You depart the plane and hop on a bus towards your new adventure. An adventure that will lead you further than you ever imagined. Bringing you confidence, new friendships, a clearer vision as to the career field you want to go into, a sense of pride and purpose as you volunteer and dive into a new culture and most of all confidence in yourself, something most students don’t have time to dive into before beginning college.

You’re on your Gap Year. And for the next 9-12 months you’ll be spending part of your time volunteering, or interning in a field you’re curious about choosing. You’re cooking for yourself, doing laundry, living in an apartment with new friends also on a Gap Year. You spend the weekend and your free time on treks throughout Israel, visiting historical sites, or trying surfing in the Mediterranean ocean in Tel Aviv. You’re going hiking, unveiling the ruins of the City of David, shopping in the Shuk (market) bargaining for the freshest vegetables you’ve had in a long time. It’s your Gap Year and for one moment you’re allowing yourself to pause for a moment and re-focus your goals, rejuvenate your mind and awakening your spirit.

A Gap Year is an increasingly attractive option for a lot of students. Taking a year off in between high school and college for something experiential can be quite scary and a few common fears include the following; losing knowledge and being behind when you go to college, not going back to college at all, “wasting” time, etc. The truth is, a Gap Year can be an incredible experience for students who have just been following academia without really pausing to dive intrinsically and think about your larger life goals. Think about this…

90 percent of students who take a Gap Year return to university within a year. Not only do they return, but their GPAs tend to be higher than those of their peers who have not taken a break

Students who defer their academic studies after high school for at least a year have greater academic momentum in college Source

60% of students said a Gap Year helped them decide what subject to study at university

66% of students took their academic work more seriously after having a gap year

80% of people thought that their gap year added to their employability Source

So why not try something different? And walk into college with a clearer picture of yourself and your future. Keep in mind it can be common to apply to colleges and defer a year so you’ve got a spot. Check with the universities your interested in applying to!

Traveling back to Israel, you’ll find Masa Israel Journey which houses hundreds of Gap Year and study abroad programs throughout Israel. Whatever experience you’re craving (internship, volunteer, college classes for credit, travel excursions, Jewish life, etc.) you’ll find a program for. Take a look at some of the pictures from my trip and head to their website to get started on finding your perfect program. You just might find yourself somewhere completely new and unexpected…and that’s kind of amazing.

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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