10 Reasons to Take a Gap Year After High School

10 Reasons to Take a Gap Year

It’s no coincidence that more and more American students are taking a gap year before heading off to college. Every year, more high schools, colleges, counselors, parents and students are embracing this opportunity to take a break from the traditional classroom and explore the world in which we live. There are so many reasons to take a gap year too! Beyond the fact that this is a natural time to take a break and apply classroom learnings to real life situations, there are proven benefits both in the short and long term to students who take gap years. Here are a few of our favorite reasons to take a gap year.


Gap Year students show a clear pattern of having higher GPAs than would otherwise have been predicted, and the positive effect lasts over all four years.1

88 percent of Gap Year graduates report that their Gap Year has significantly added to their employability.1

The highest rated outcome of Gap Years is that of gaining “a better sense of who I am as a person and what is important to me.”1

Gap Year students are perceived to be ‘more mature, more self-reliant and independent’ than non-Gap Year students.1

Many teenagers in other countries wait a year after high school before heading to college. In Norway, Denmark and Turkey, for instance, more than 50 percent of students take a year off before college.1

Taking a Gap Year helps students discover what they are passionate about through real world situations and helps inform education and career choices down the road. This leads to higher satisfaction with school and employment over time.

In an increasingly competitive educational arena it has become difficult to set oneself apart from peers. An intentional and productive gap year can do just that by offering students the opportunity to gain practical life skills, take on leadership opportunities, and develop skills needed to stand out from those coming straight out of high school.

Gap Year students often make some of their closest friends during their Gap Year. Shared interests, the desire to experience the world outside of the classroom, and the willingness to stretch beyond one’s comfort zone foster a dynamic space for life-long friendships to form.

Gap Year students have proven to be more engaged in leadership opportunities and extracurricular activities on college campuses.

Ask five people older than you if they wish they’d taken a Gap Year before college… The answers will speak for themselves. We’ve never heard any one regret taking a Gap Year, in fact, almost unanimously people have stated that they wish they’d taken a Gap Year!

Armed with these reasons to take a gap year it shouldn’t be hard to see the long term benefit this formative break from the classroom can have. It’s no surprise that more colleges are not only supportive of students who want to take a gap year, but actually encourage it. Even Ivy League schools are saying it’s a great idea to take a gap year.


ARCC Programs has offered summer service programs and gap year programs for teens for over 30 years. With programs for teens on six continents, there is something for everyone. Find a Gap Year program on our website or request a catalog today.

1American Gap Association (n.d), Data & Gap Year Benefits, Retrieved from