Gap Years are growing in popularity as students discover the benefits of tackling life challenges outside of the school environment. Research confirms this has been documented in a diverse number of media outlets including The Guardian, US News, and The New York Times.
Many students coming out of high school are unsure of what direction they want to take in their college career. A well structured Gap Year can provide exactly the opportunity they need to discover new talents and interests. A recent study conducted at the University of Sydney, Australia, found that:
When used constructively, gap years helped students gain skills, better grades and did not slow down their academic momentum.
A well structured Gap Year allows students to learn and be creative which helps in coping with the pressures of adult academic and professional settings. As a report in The Guardian states:
New research shows the skills learnt on gap years are a key to success in later life.
In an effort to avoid student burnout and attract well-rounded learners, a growing number of schools (including elite institutions like Stanford, Harvard, and Yale) are accommodating and encouraging their incoming undergraduates to participate in a Gap Year prior to their freshman year. Research shows that students who take a Gap Year have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate than their peers. They also tend to perform better in their first semester at college and have higher job satisfaction after graduating.
Harvard has been encouraging students to take a Gap Year for nearly 40 years and says the “results have been uniformly positive,” while an admissions advisor at Stanford sees Gap Year students as bringing “a whole new set of experiences and viewpoints that further enrich our student body.”