Should I take a gap year??? You ask your mom, dad, grandma, friends, professors, advisors, honestly anybody that will listen. I hate to sound cliche but the answer to that question is based solely on… yea, you guessed it, YOURSELF!
If you do decide that you want to take a gap year, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT! It's completely normal and there are so many reasons why taking a gap year might be a good option for you. Your family and friends might not understand why you would want to take time off, and some people interpret taking a gap year as giving up on going back to school. However, there are so many ways a gap year can be beneficial in helping you go back to school, and we want to share 10 with you.
Make Some Money
Money makes the world go round, right? Okay, but seriously, money is something that might have a big influence on whether you want to take a gap year or not. A gap year can be a good time to save up some money before school, because school can get pretty expensive.
Learn a New Skill
Did you have time to learn skills that you wanted to learn? Maybe you never had time to learn some skills and you probably won’t have time to learn them when you go back to school. A gap year is a good time to learn some new skills and improve on the old ones.
Travel the World
During undergrad you probably didn’t have enough time (and money) to travel as much as you would like; and I hate to break it to you but, it will probably be the same situation when you begin your graduate program. A gap year can be a good time to cross off some trips from your bucket list and see the world.
Get Some Me Time
Sometimes you might just need time to breathe. Undergrad can really wear you out, so if you just need a break to reset, it is definitely okay to take one!
Pursue Other Ventures
Do you want to start a business, launch a product or pursue a passion project? It is definitely possible to do all these things while simultaneously going to school, but maybe you just want to only focus on developing something and getting it up and running before you go back to school.
Live Your Best Care-free Life
This is far from a textbook reason for a gap year, but sis we get it. You might just want time to not think about school and live your best carefree life. If thats what you want to do, we are here for it!
Did you have enough time in undergrad to study for grad school exams? Undergrad is hectic af and we get it, you might not have had enough time to apply yourself and give your all into studying for admission exams. You can also take classes to improve your GPA or take immersive prep classes to help you pass exams such as the MCAT, PCAT, GRE, DAT etc
Participate in a Postbac Program
Postbac programs are really great programs to do during a gap year. There are so many different types of postbac programs such as programs designed to give you research experience, help increase your GPA, give test prep etc. Click here to check out our article on postbac programs, where we will go in depth about the different types of postbac programs out there.
Going on to graduate programs requires a high level of maturity and it is perfectly fine and normal if deep down you feel that you haven’t reached the maturity level that is required to dedicate another couple of years of your life to pursuing a post bachelor's degree.
Explore other career options and fields/ Get Hands on Experience
A gap year is a great time to really get exposure to different career options in the field you want to go to grad school for. For example, do you want to work in industry or academia, in a hospital or private practice, work for the government or the private sector. There are so many options out there and a gap year can give you the time you need to explore them. It's also a good time to get experience in your chosen field. This can really help you decide what you want to dedicate the next 4+ years of your life to.
*Disclaimer* When you decide to take a gap year, be prepared to discuss it during interviews for grad programs in case interviewers ask you about it.
Always remember that it’s a marathon not a race and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Whether you take a whole gap year, half a gap year or a couple gap years, you can still get that grad degree. You got this girl! What reasons do you have for taking a gap year? Let us know in the comments!